The past 14 years have seen Scott Harper rise up the ranks within boutique brand Malmaison to become chief operating officer, overseeing a portfolio of 15 properties dotted around the UK. The brand was first established in 1994 and it was exactly 10 years later that Harper got his first taste of life with Malmaison, joining as a general manager to head up hotels in Liverpool and Manchester.
Harper, who always wanted to be a general manager before the age of 30, has weathered a few storms during his leadership, most notably with the demise of the brand’s owners MWB Group in 2012 when the company went into administration, before being picked up by American investors KSL in May 2013. In 2015 ownership shifted once again and Frasers Hospitality took the reins.
The last four years has seen a refurbishment programme rolled out across all 15 hotels in the portfolio, starting off with the bars and brasserie under the previous ownership KSL and continuing under Frasers Hospitality.
In January last year, planning permission was granted for the conversion of Yorkshire House in York to allow the creation of what will be Malmaison’s 16th hotel. This, combined with the ongoing soft refurbishments of the brand’s bars, restaurants and bedrooms, means it’s been all hands on deck to keep the brand at pole position in the marketplace.
“For us, it’s been about going back to basics,” Harper says. Prior to York, Malmaison acquired a property in Brighton and with momentum going strong, Harper says demand there has been high.