Pride of Britain
Staycationers can gorge themselves on Pride of Britain Hotels exquisite independent properties
How do you improve on a selection of some of the finest hotels in the country? That’s the intriguing challenge facing Kalindi Juneja – the new CEO of Pride of Britain Hotels who enjoys a wealth of experience in the hospitality sector. Kalindi took over the role in October, overseeing a collective of more than 50 unique, privately-owned hotels worthy of the Pride of Britain plaque at the front door– a promise of quality and hospitality since its formation in 1982.
The collection stretches the length and breadth of Britain, including award-winning, exceptional hotels as far apart as The Fife Arms and The Torridon in Scotland, Thurlestone Hotel in Devon and
The Goring in London.
Each has been carefully selected for the best hospitality, rooms and food, ensuring Pride of Britain hotels can maintain its not-for-profit status as purveyors of extraordinary and unique places to stay.
Kalindi explains the pandemic has created huge demand for Pride of Britain hotels in 2021, as domestic travellers looked to enjoy their holidays closer to home. “Demand was strong but it didn’t come without challenges for our members”.
“Despite facing staff shortages our members continued to deliver the highest levels of service to our guests demonstrating just how brilliant and resilient they are. It has been a time when everyone at the hotel has pitched in – I’ve even been served breakfast by the managing director during one stay.”
Pride of Britain hotels are always adapting and reacting to the market. Many are investing in new facilities, being more creative in their offering and adjusting services to suit the changing hospitality landscape caused by Covid-19.
“We’ve noticed an increased interest in wellness– not just using spas but guests looking after themselves and wanting a holistic stay. This could be as simple as a nature walk, forest bathing, enjoying the beauty of the environment so many of our hotels are set in. Our hotel owners are adapting to this demand.”
Another trend is in dining – guests are staying longer in hotels and want more options than one formal restaurant. “Guests are looking for more choices than ever and we are going the extra mile to deliver that,” said Kalindi.
In 2022, the collection hopes to continue on an upward trajectory, with more selected hotels joining Pride of Britain. “We are well catered for the leisure guests, with hotels across the British Isles. The hospitality sector has been deeply affected over the pandemic, but we have also proven to the domestic market, how fabulous a British vacation can be.
Kalindi says Pride of Britain Hotels has exciting plans based around the changing market and consumer needs over the last two years. “We are now welcoming new domestic guests to our hotels, many who have not had a British holiday before. Our existing guests also have, while accepting our existing clientele have changing needs and we take a lot of time to carefully understand this”.
“Our guests are at the centre of what we do and in the new year we will be revisiting our brand identity and how we communicate with our audience.”
So what makes a good hotel?
Kalindi says: “For me, it’s the soul of the hotel, the people and the passion you feel from the team. When I think back to any memorable hotel experience it seldom has anything to do with the design or how beautiful the bedroom was”.
“It always comes down to the team- the people who run it. That’s the beauty of Pride of Britain Hotels, each one is independent and has its
own special spirit.”
However far you want to travel there’s a Pride of Britain hotel
Luxury, beauty, peace and quiet. This fabulous, late Victorian country house overlooks Rutland Water and is a haven of serenity. The Harts have been running Hambleton since the 1980s and that continuity shows in a hotel that feels like a genuine home from home. The 18 bedrooms are classically styled, with homemade biscuits and plump pillows waiting for weary travellers. Downstairs, open fires crackle during the winter months and the restaurant enjoys a stellar reputation for fine cuisine and wine.
Stapleford near Melton Mowbray is Grade I in every respect – a grand country mansion, surrounded by
500-acres of Capability Brown-designed grounds on an epic scale. A delightful stately home steeped in history, Stapleford’s huge reception rooms and halls display both quirky artefacts and original features. Guests can eat in an opulent dining room, unwind in the unique stable block spa, or just relax in front
of a roaring log fire.
Searching for a romantic getaway? They say Gravetye was built for love, an Elizabethan mansion gloriously situated in 1,000-acres of grounds once tended by William Robinson – an early exponent of wild, English cottage style gardens. Devour amazing views from the Michelin-starred, glass-fronted restaurant, wander back to a sumptuous bedroom via wood-panelled rooms and ornate decoration. Gravetye in West Sussex is a 16th century masterpiece just waiting to be discovered.