Jonathan Slater, former managing director of five red-star The Chester Grosvenor, has completely reinvented his career at the age of 61 and it doesn’t look like retirement is on the horizon just yet.
He came from a strong background and credits a lot of his success to the mentality that his father instilled in him – “My father never not wanted to go to work and it’s been the same for me”.
In his previous role at MD at The Chester Grosvenor where he worked for 30 years, he set consistently high standards to create one of the finest hotels in the North of England with a restaurant that has held a Michelin star for 26 years, before stepping down in March 2015.
He now heads up the Oddfellows Hotels group, with the brand’s second boutique hotel, Oddfellows On The Park opening in Greater Manchester later this year. He took on the debut Oddfellows property in Chester in 2011, when he saw an opportunity for a group of hotels that would not be led by a corporate voice but instead by the building, history and community surrounding the hotel. Jonathan has worked on evolving Oddfellows dramatically ever since, creating a quirky, fun hotel concept that has proved exceptionally popular.
Despite the evolution of Oddfellows now ramping up a gear, Jonathan has been adamant from the start that this expansion will not become a branding exercise, where a cookie cutter approach is rolled out across the group; he says this would be against everything Oddfellows stands for.
Jonathan’s awards and accolades have been plentiful throughout his career, but some of the most noteworthy and relevant to him personally are the Catey Award for Manager of the Year in 2002, becoming a Master Innholder in 2003, Freedom of the City of London and the Special Achievement Award at the Northern Restaurant and Bar in 2014.
He has also had a major involvement with Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH), since the very beginning, where he sat on the board for 21 years, nine of which were as chairman.
He champions the region both as a hotelier and as a director of Marketing Cheshire and is inexhaustible in travelling abroad to promote it as a destination.
In 2016, he sailed across the Atlantic, raising over £5,000 for The Innholders Charitable Foundation, a charity that ultimately gives back to the industry he is so passionate about.