You could say Nick Jones has been the name on everybody’s lips this past year. The launch of the hotly-anticipated Soho Farmhouse – Oxfordshire’s answer to a posh Center Parcs – generated a huge amount of interest nationwide and with its mix of rustic cabins, eateries and leisure facilities, it become the most ambitious hotel opening in the UK last year.
Soho Farmhouse wasn’t Jones’ first foray into the country house hotel market; it came 17 years after he bought and opened Babington House in Somerset, his debut amalgamation of a country hotel with private members club, the latter being the bread and butter of Jones’ empire.
Founded in London in 1995 as a private members’ club for people in the creative industries, Soho House & Co has since opened clubs across Europe and North America, as well as restaurants, cinemas, workspaces, spas and bedrooms. Constantly pushing the boundaries of traditional hospitality, Nick has assembled the ingredients of a pleasant life and then marketed them to a community of followers, resulting in the swift build-up of his global network.
Not only has Soho House struck a chord with major A-listers around the world – a quick glimpse at an array of film stars’ Instagrams will back this up – but the name has become completely synonymous with cool, and everybody wants a piece of it. Not bad for a boy who left school at 17 and had no creative links when he set up shop more than 20 years’ ago.
In an interview with the London Evening Standard in 2015, he stated his rules for creating clubs are ‘glamour and grit’. He said they have to work efficiently but without being intimidating and beds need to be large and comfortable, while fittings and technology need to be ‘simple and robust’.
Nick Jones is one of the most influential hospitality entrepreneurs of the past two decades and the industry will be watching with baited breath to see where he sprinkles the magic of Soho House next.