Mention the likes of Barnsley House or Calcot Manor to anyone with an interest in luxury hotels and you’ll be met with a sea of coos and nods of affirmation. These two boutique hotels have slowly emerged as real front runners of the market in the Cotswolds, and with a third property on the cusp of launch, the Calcot Collection shows no signs of abating. Richard Ball is executive chairman of the group and his first taste of Calcot Manor was when he came on board more than 30 years ago in a bid to change the fortunes of the then-struggling country house hotel. Since then he has worked tirelessly to transform the image of the hotel, as well as physically building up the hotel’s footprint to include 35 bedrooms and a luxury spa, and he has succeeded in repositioning Calcot Manor as one of the leading family-focused boutique hotels in the Cotswolds.
Second property, Barnsley House was acquired in 2009 as a sister hotel to Calcot, but with just 18-bedrooms housed in a more intimate building, Richard soon realised the property was winning favour with a different market who preferred a more exclusive, personal experience.
The Village Pub – just a short walk from Barnsley House – almost fell into the lap of Calcot Collection soon after and Lord Creme Arms was acquired on a leasehold in early 2014.
The group’s fifth hotel will be the 16-bedroom The Painswick, and will offer something completely different to its older siblings when it opens its doors at the end of March. Richard says: “It will be a touch unconventional, more like the ‘naughty child’ of the group, and it’ll target a younger market and hit a lower price point.”
Richard’s mindset for differentiating each property is visionary, and is just as passionate about the industry as he was when he first started out over three decades ago. He has injected a new flavour into the country house hotel market, demonstrating that informality, flexibility and family, can all go hand in hand with luxury.
Richard contributes to the wider industry as well, through membership with Pride of Britain Hotels and as a chairman of the Master Innholders.