Failing his O-levels was the unlikely catalyst for Robin Hutson’s hospitality career which has resulted in the creation of some of Britain’s best hotels. His first job was as a commis waiter at Claridge’s, before he moved to Hotel du Crillon in Paris and then back to London to The Berkeley all before his 24th birthday.
In 1986, he got his big break, when he was offered the general manager role at the reputed 60-bed Chewton Glen, and what followed was a successful eight-year journey with the luxury New Forest boutique hotel. During that time, Robin was promoted to MD and Chewton Glen was awarded five Red Turrets, lost and regained a Michelin Star and gained five AA red stars.
In 1994, Robin left Chewton Glen, and along with his colleague Gerard Basset, founded Hotel du Vin through the conversion of a Georgian building in Winchester into a 24-room hotel. Along with his wife Judy, he designed and project managed all of the ambitious development and regeneration projects that ultimately became the HdV group; a group widely recognised as having been at the vanguard of the UK boutique hotel movement over the past two decades.
The seven-hotel strong Hotel du Vin portfolio was sold after 10 years in 2004, for the record sum of £66.4m.
After the sale of Hotel du Vin, Robin became executive chairman of Soho House Group alongside founder Nick Jones. During his three-year spell as chairman, the group doubled in size to a turnover of £50m and in January 2008 was successfully sold to Richard Caring for £105m.
Now Robin is founder, CEO and chairman of Home Grown Hotels, the holding name for the massively successful collection of The Pig hotels in the South of England. Now consisting of four boutique properties with a fifth scheduled to open in just a few months’ time, The Pig name is undoubtedly a front runner for the title of the UK’s most-loved hotel group, both with consumers and people in the industry.
“I’ve always been a food and beverage-led hotelier. There are too many hotel managers who worry about average rate all day and don’t push the boundaries on the F&B side,” says Robin.
Robin is also chairman of the Lime Wood Group which includes hotels in the UK and France, plus a shareholder and non executive director of Hotel Crillon le Brave in Provence.