Former Lucky Onion co-founders Sam and Georgie Pearman have reached record occupancy levels at The Talbot as momentum builds around their new Country Creatures brand.
The duo have spent the last year working on the relaunch of the 26-bedroom, 17th century, The Talbot in Yorkshire, with a rolling four-week refurbishment carried out at the hotel owned by Tom Naylor-Leyland and family, before the business was unveiled was as the first property in the new Country Creatures collection earlier in 2019.
Despite by her own admission the development project being a ‘tricky one’, Georgie told Boutique Hotelier that for one week in August occupancy reached 98%, proving difficult for the renovation plans, but good for profits.
“For one week we hit 98% occupancy (which I have never seen before – we never achieved that at the Lucky Onion) so it’s difficult finishing the bedrooms when the occupancy is so high,” she explains.
“The aim was to try and turn the Talbot around because whilst it had undergone a refurbishment only a few years before, it wasn’t working. We felt that the hotel wasn’t what people wanted. The refurbishment wasn’t quite right and it all felt a bit formal. The food offering wasn’t of the right quality and we felt we had a chance of turning it around. It’s still early days so we’ll see how it all goes but so far, the results are looking really positive and we are really excited about the place.”
The Swan at Ascott-under-Wychwood came into the fold shortly after the acquisition of The Talbot, and The Chequers in Churchill – formerly part of Lucky Onion – was a property the Pearmans retained following their breakaway from the Lucky Onion Group.
Now with three sites in the collection, the Pearmans are looking to nurture the new brand with a series of refurbishments and expansions to invigorate the hospitality market.
After uprooting from their London lives almost ten years ago to launch a string of boutique hotels and pubs in the Cotswolds, Sam and Georgie Pearman are at it again with their newest venture.
In 2010, the husband and wife duo founded the Lucky Onion Group, backed by retail entrepreneur Julian Dunkerton, and built up a portfolio of chic hotels such as the likes of Cheltenham’s No 131 and No 38 The Park, over a five-year period.
In late 2017, they departed Lucky Onion – “it was like our third child and a very demanding one too,” they tell BH – and the following year it was revealed that the wheels were already in motion for their next project.
Teaming up with Tom Naylor-Leyland, who approached the duo almost immediately after their departure from Lucky Onion, they embarked on the refurbishment and relaunch of The Talbot in Malton, Yorkshire in 2019.