From its humble beginnings more than three decades ago, Hambleton Hall in Rutland has gone on to become one of the UK’s finest country house boutique hotels. Still under the ownership of Tim Hart and his wife Stefa 35 years on, the hotel has achieved a fair few accolades to back up this legacy, including recognition in the Good Hotel Guide, four AA stars and a Michelin-star for the past 33 years. While the business has expanded and developed, adding a bakery enterprise, another hotel and restaurant Hart’s in Nottingham’s town centre, and a summer house on the grounds at Hambleton Hall, Tim’s commitment to the establishment has never wavered.
This dedication from Tim has filtered through to members of Hambleton’s senior management team, who all share the same passion for the business, with the head chef, restaurant manager, sommelier and general manager having notched up more than 80 years of service between them.
Crucial to Hambleton Hall’s mammoth success has been Tim and Stefa’s defiance against complacency. By their own admission, they know they have to ‘recreate the magic’ for each and every guest, and this means staying true to Hambleton’s ethos since the start. Tim and Stefa haven’t given in to fads or been spontaneous in following trends – they’ve maintained their stance in the market by keeping close to the cores of hospitality. They don’t indulge in gimmicks or special additions, but instead rely on good food, a comfortable bed for the night and the guarantee of total relaxation to speak volumes.
General manager Christopher Hurst says: “It’s a real Tim Hart speciality – he hasn’t pushed the house beyond what its capabilities of it and kept the character of it, which is really important.”
Hambleton Bakery, which opened in 2008 when the hotel’s then-sous chef Julian Carter accepted Tim’s offer of a new challenge, is an interesting part of the Hambleton empire and one that is inspiring other hoteliers nationwide.
While Hambleton Hall celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2015, Tim is certainly in no way ready to retire and remains a passionate ambassador for the hospitality sector as a whole.