Power List 2016: Industry Titans, sponsored by Frima UK, Robin Sheppard

Industry Titans - Robin Sheppard, chairman Bespoke Hotels

Robin Sheppard is a classically trained hotelier with an eye for innovation who by the age of 27 was general manager of Bodysgallen Hall, one of the top hotels in Wales, moving on to be the general manager of several outstanding hotels, including The Lygon Arms, The Royal Berkshire and the Bath Spa among others.

After six years with Bath Spa, he knew he was ready for a new challenge. He joined forces with Haydn Fentum to launch Bespoke Hotels in January 2000, when they noticed a gap in the market to offer individual properties of character a complete management service, which steered away from homogenisation. Despite being struck down with Guillain-Barré syndrome that resulted in a five-week stay in intense care and an 18-month period out of the business, he was determined to battle his way back to health and the hotel industry.

His persistence and entrepreneurial flair has taken the Bespoke Hotels’ brand to new heights. Robin’s innovative approach to marketing has broadened the customer base of all Bespoke Hotels and led to international expansion in India and the UAE, taking a soft British brand worldwide, whilst still maintaining a quintessential British approach and sense of humour.

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He looks after the design of the hotels under the Bespoke umbrella, as well as all sales and marketing, and the portfolio now includes a real mix of hotels, from older style properties in the Cotswolds, to cool, trendy and hip hotels in city centres.

Now under Robin’s helm, Bespoke Hotels is now recognised as the UK’s largest independent hotel group. If that wasn’t enough, Robin was the creative and business brain behind the launch of the Hotel Gotham, which was one of the UK’s hottest boutique hotel openings of 2015 and has proved a phenomenal success story by daring to be different.

Robin is a highly respected hotelier among his peers and industry colleagues too, with both his personal and professional journeys inspiring many sector greats.


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