In (video) conversation with: Hotelier of the Year, Robin Hutson

Robin Hutson, known as an innovative and passionate hotelier with more than 45 years’ experience in some of the world’s most famous hotels, was crowned Hotelier of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2021. Editor Hamish Kilburn travelled to the New Forest in the UK, where it all started for The PIG Hotels, to interview the hotelier…

Robin Hutson Hotel Designs The PIG Hotels

As hoteliers go, there was arguably nobody more qualified to comment on hospitality’s struggle during the pandemic than Robin Hutson. He trained with The Savoy Group, London, starting as an 18-year-old commis waiter at Claridge’s in 1975, then Stones Chop House, Hotel de Crillon, Paris and  became Front Office Manager at The Berkeley.

Next came two years as Operations Manager at Elbow Beach Hotel in Bermuda. Tempted back to the UK in 1986, he was offered his first General Management role at the young age of 29 at Chewton Glen Hotel. Over an eight-year stint, Hutson eventually becoming Managing Director.

Click here to watch the full seven-minute interview between Robin Hutson and Hotel Designs’ Hamish Kilburn on the GROHE X platform.

In 1994, the hotelier with an eye for detail co-founded Hotel du Vin with the late Gerard Basset. Hotel du Vin is recognised as having been at the vanguard of the UK boutique hotel scene. Hutson built the brand into a cluster of seven hotels, which he successfully sold in 2004.

Between 1995 and 2008, Hutson was additionally a Director and eventually Chairman of Soho House Group assisting Nick Jones shape the ambitious expansion into Europe and the US. During this period, he was also a Non-Executive director of Hotel Crillon le Brave in Provence, France.

Channeling his unmatched experience, Huton launched Lime Wood Group, and is today the Chairman and CEO of another groundbreaking one of Britain’s best loved collection of country hotels, The PIG Hotels. Since it opened to now, the group has helped to put quaint English destinations outside the city of London on the hospitality map. I have firsthand the opportunities that The PIG Hotels brand has given to local communities, with each hotel consciously amplifying the true spirit of its sacred countryside location.

Hutson, together with his wife Judy still to this day, project manage, design, commission and source every last piece of furniture and fitting for their hotels.

Most recently, Hutson was crowned Hotelier of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2021. “No one has done as much as Robin in highlighting the plight of the hospitality industry in the UK during Covid-19, through his Seat at the Table campaign,” said one of the judges. “He has tirelessly championed for more help for hoteliers, railed against government ineptitude, and brought together those in the hospitality industry to try and create a voice for a formally unrepresented industry – which delivers so much to the coffers of the Treasury, and so many jobs to the people of the UK. While doing that, he kept on all of his 1,000 or so staff – without making anyone redundant – and then opened a new hotel in Cornwall in summer 2020, and another in summer 2021. He is an example of a hotelier who delivers for his industry, his brand, his staff – and the hundreds of regulars who are fans of THE PIG.”

And with that, Hotel Designs’ campaign to interview a handful of our winners from The Brit List Awards 2021 comes to a close. We have met inspiring designers who are taking over a legacy, architects entering new territories and visionaries who even at the start of their journeys are leading with unconventional yet human-centric approaches to design and hotel development. Aptly, our final interview in the series, with our very deserving Hotelier of the Year, teaches me that our industry is in good hands, developing with meaning, to ensure that Britain will always be a thriving hotel design and hospitality scene.

Applications and nominations for The Brit List Awards 2022 (free to apply) will open in the summer.

Main image credit: The PIG Hotels