Heckfield Place appoints new general manager as opening date finally gets set for close of 2018


Heckfield Place, the country house hotel that has been plagued with delays since its initial launch date of 2012, has announced the appointment of a new general manager.

The 46-bedroom hotel has welcomed Olivia Richli to the role, which has previously been filled twice by hoteliers who have left the project just a short while after starting.

She has joined after opening Soneva Jani in the Maldives, having spent the last 18 years at Aman properties around the world.

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She will officially start at Heckfield Place in January 2018.

Richli says: “I have been privileged to work in many beautiful corners of the world, and am so excited to be finally returning home to join the exceptional Heckfield Place. A team of uniquely talented people have created a place of intrinsic beauty where extraordinary things can happen, and I am very happy to become a part of this inspiring collaboration.”

The original plan was to open Heckfield Place – having been described as ‘world-beating’ – in time for the London Olympics in 2012, transforming the former 18th training centre and wedding venue into a new hotel.

It has been plagued with setbacks, with numerous staff joining and subsequently leaving the project before it gets properly off the ground.

Charles Oak first joined as general manager from the May Fair hotel London, before husband and wife team Henry and Char Gray were brought on board in 2014 and left two years later. Chris Staines joined as executive chef, having left his position at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in London before departing shortly after.

When open, Heckfield Place will be home to 46 bedrooms, suites and cottages, plus a farm practising biodynamic principles.

Tags : APPOINTMENTSgeneral managerHeckfield Placehotels
Zoe Monk

The author Zoe Monk

1 Comment

  1. I did some advisory work for Heckfield last year on their farm. They were very impressed with my knowledge and offered me a job as livestock manager which I accepted, I was due to start this spring. I went down several times (voluntarily) to ‘get things going’ only to find the goal posts being moved all the time. In the end I wrote a report of how I wanted to run the farm livestock – which after all, that was what I was going to be paid for – only for the job offer to be with drawn. I did not receive a single penny for my advice, travelling expenses or overnight accommodation. I was told it was opening last autumn, then this spring now its this autumn. Should have read the history before going.

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