EXCLUSIVE: New family-owned Guesthouse brand targets five hotels in five years


Guesthouse, a new family-owned hotel brand from three brothers, is setting its sights on growing its footprint to five properties within five years, Boutique Hotelier can reveal.

In an exclusive interview with BH, brothers Tristan, Tom and James Guest revealed how they plan to embark on a rapid expansion strategy following the acquisition of three hotels and the launch of the Guesthouse brand to the public.

This week saw the official opening of their first site in Bath, after the brothers acquired No.15 Great Pulteney Street in 2019 from Ian and Christa Taylor, and new hotels in York and Brighton are set to launch over the course of the next two years.

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Speaking to BH, Tom Guest said: “From the off we wanted three to five hotels in five years.” Tristan added: “It’s sort of a grand objective, five hotels in five years. It probably won’t happen but we are moving quicker than we thought. We want to be in amazing locations and fantastic towns and great buildings and there are not many of those, so it’s a niche thing we are looking for, so when they do come up we do want to jump at the opportunity.”

Ahead of its relaunch, aspects of the former No.15 Great Pulteney have been redesigned, in a project overseen by Martin Hulbert who was previously involved with the Taylors, while other iconic parts of the hotel have remained, such as the bar, reception space and meeting rooms.

The third floor bedrooms have been transformed to evoke a sanctuary vibe, with soft neutral colours and pops of curiosity such as mini bars stored in dolls houses and vinyl record players.

The number of bedrooms has also been reduced from 40 to 37 to allow for the spa to be expanded. The spa space has been changed as a result and now boasts six treatment rooms, including a show-stopping couples’ suite complete with huge circular copper bath.

The restaurant has been pared back and updated with a simplistic design that can carry through from day to night.

1 Clifton in York will launch in the autumn of this year after the Guest brothers acquired The Grange Hotel from Jeremy and Vivien Cassel late last year, taking the business in a new direction after being under the same ownership for the past 30 years.

Then in 2022, a new GuestHouse property will open in Brighton. The former Granville Hotel and Cecil House along the promenade close to Hove are being transformed into a new site for the group.

“It’s also about giving each property enough focus,” Tom says. “York will be embedded in in the next 6 – 12 months and then Brighton from next year, so we’ll be moving forward in phases.”

Tristan adds: “I don’t think we will do more than one opening a year. It’s just how things have panned out initially. It’s interesting because all three are very different projects. This (Bath) was a fantastic business and a lot of the DNA from this we are taking forward.

“York is a slightly different project as that property has been in the same family for 30 years. It’s very traditional looking building. It’s slightly bigger than Bath with 40 bedrooms and is a pretty big job but will be done by the end of the year.

“Then you’ve got Brighton and that is a massive project; it’s a complete strip out and redevelopment. It’s exciting but we are looking to open that in the next 18 months.”

The trio also have the added bonus of having industry stalwart Diego Masciaga on board consulting the business as it expands.

The Guest brothers come from a strong foundation of business acumen. Their grandfather was John Guest, the founder of the namesake plumbing systems manufacturer, probably most famous for the development of the Speedfit device, used in almost every pub in the country.

The company was sold in 2018 for £687m to Reliance Worldwide Corporation after almost six decades in the Guest family. Tom, Tristan and James had each racked up over 15 years of service when the sale took place and were ready to embrace a new challenge.

Read the full interview in the June issue of Boutique Hotelier, out next week.

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Zoe Monk

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