For Judi Blakeburn, her love of the seaside and water has been central to her career path over the last decade. She got her big break at The Seafood Restaurant, run by Rick Stein, where she spent three years managing all marketing activities for the popular Cornwall eatery.
In 2003, Watergate Bay Hotel caught her eye, the family-owned hotel business run under the watchful eye of Will Ashworth, and she came on board as director of marketing and operations.
The hotel, which is now in its 50th year of private ownership, boasts average occupancy levels of 92% and turns over £11m with a work force of 250 employees. She works to drive Watergate Bay to achieve its strategic vision, maintain its brand integrity and ensure that the hotel stays at the cutting edge of hospitality.
The hotel has been described as a ‘ski resort on the beach’ with a combination of sports, après surf, accommodation and restaurants. Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall is also on site, for which Blakeburn was a director for six years from 2006 until 2012.
In august 2017, the team behind Watergate Bay opened Another Place, The Lake, following a two-year, £3.5m redevelopment of the former Rampsbeck hotel. With this change came another promotion for Blakeburn as she was appointed brand director for the Another Place brand, which very firmly has expansion on its radar. The aim is to create a collection of hotels based on its relaxed, active and social ethos: Another Place, with six hotels anticipated in 10 years.