Heckfield Place, the country house hotel that has been plagued with delays since its initial launch date of 2012, has announced the appointment of a new general manager.
The 46-bedroom hotel has welcomed Olivia Richli to the role, which has previously been filled twice by hoteliers who have left the project just a short while after starting.
She has joined after opening Soneva Jani in the Maldives, having spent the last 18 years at Aman properties around the world.
She will officially start at Heckfield Place in January 2018.
Richli says: “I have been privileged to work in many beautiful corners of the world, and am so excited to be finally returning home to join the exceptional Heckfield Place. A team of uniquely talented people have created a place of intrinsic beauty where extraordinary things can happen, and I am very happy to become a part of this inspiring collaboration.”
The original plan was to open Heckfield Place – having been described as ‘world-beating’ – in time for the London Olympics in 2012, transforming the former 18th training centre and wedding venue into a new hotel.
It has been plagued with setbacks, with numerous staff joining and subsequently leaving the project before it gets properly off the ground.
Charles Oak first joined as general manager from the May Fair hotel London, before husband and wife team Henry and Char Gray were brought on board in 2014 and left two years later. Chris Staines joined as executive chef, having left his position at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in London before departing shortly after.
When open, Heckfield Place will be home to 46 bedrooms, suites and cottages, plus a farm practising biodynamic principles.