BP executive snaps up Cheltenham hotel to kickstart new boutique brand

A former BP executive has swapped life in the oil industry for a career in the hospitality sector after snapping up a hotel in Cheltenham.

Fiona Burke, who has spent the last 20 years working with BP, has acquired Beaumont House off a guide price of £2.1m, and now plans to start a new hotel brand called Willow Boutique Hotels.

The Dublin-born businesswoman was inspired to branch out on a new career by co-director Arron Howle, who left the oil industry four years ago to buy the Peartree Serviced Apartments Hotel in Salisbury.

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She said: “Though the oil industry is an exciting place for a career and I thoroughly enjoyed my time at BP, following the birth of my daughter I started to look for a new challenge.

“I knew Arron was making a great success of his new business in Salisbury – and achieving a much better work-life balance.”

She now plans to build up the business at Beaumont House, with the addition of new rooms and small suites targeted towards the business traveller.

“They often stay over for two or more nights and love the idea of their own kitchen space,” she adds. “I also want to cater more for families and hope to add spa treatment facilities along with daytime coffee and cakes.”

Peter Brunt, a director in the Hotels team at Colliers International, said Beaumont House was arguably the pick of Cheltenham’s privately owned guest houses.

He said: “This handsome property is believed to date back to the mid-nineteenth century and retains the elegant proportions of the period.

“Recent months have seen a flurry of competitive bidding for hotel, guest house and pub opportunities in the Cotswolds and reflect the attraction the hospitality sector in the region holds for buyers.”

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