How did you get into the hospitality industry?
It’s in the genes, My Grandfather on my father’s side was a Military Man and upon his retirement he owned a large House which he and my gran Turned into B&B and from there on it continued, My Dad saw the light though and entered the Oil Industry .
Tell us about Llangoed Hall. What inspired the idea and what is your vision for the hotel?
Llangoed Hall, is a Beautiful Clough Williams- Ellis Architecturally designed 23 bedroomed Hotel satin 25 acres of grounds , in the Beautiful Wye Valley / Brecon Beacons National Park on the Welsh / English Border now run by myself a Proud Scot . There has always been a building on the site since 564AD and the name Llangoed means Holy Meeting Place and it was the site of a Welsh Parliament , On the Library Door the original Front Door , there is carved into it the date of 1634.
I am fortunate to have worked for Several Great Entrepreneurs in the form of Former Owner of Llangoed Hall & Laura Ashley Plc. Sir Bernard Ashley & J. Stewart Spence of the Marcliffe At Pitfodels in Aberdeen . Both taught me a huge amount Stewart is Mr Hospitality in Scotland and Sir Bernard Mr Textile, Both Serious Businessmen who never lost their focus on their Staff.
So the Vision is Nurture and be the Best. It will be a long and winding Road with many Ups and a Few Downs, I want the team to be the best they can be. I owe my Drive to Stewart & The Late Sir Bernard as well as my Parents who said whatever you do Calum we just want you to be happy and the best you can be.
What strategic partnerships/marketing strategies have you implemented that have attributed to Llangoed Hall's success?
I’m at this Crossroads right Now – I decided early on we should leave our mark and we have with Affiliations to The AA , Conde Nast Johansens , The Good Hotel Guide, & an American Travel Firm which is Family Run called Celebrated Experiences run by Jonathan & Preston Epstein . I’m now open to discussions with either of the following:
Pride of Britain, Relais & Chateaux, Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Virtuoso - so maybe they will be in touch.
What industry trends are you noticing and how do you capitalize on them?
Trends are in Vogue one minute then out the next so in my country House its Classic Style, Classic never dates and someone always wants / yearns for a bygone era. We have no Reception Desk here at Llangoed, liveried Butlers on Standby, Vintage Rolls Royce and Bentley to whisk you around the simply Beautiful Welsh Countryside.
“Another Day Another Dollar” although it’s not about the money , it’s about having a purpose in life a reason to get up and prove to your Existence !
Llangoed Hall's Motto?
Sic Viresco - It’s a Coat of Arms above the Great Hall FirePlace - it means “So Grow with Nature”
Your greatest success as MD of Llangoed Hall? Most difficult moment-how did you overcome and what did you learn?
Toughest Time – Seeing the Hotel upon my return and what nearly two years of Administration can do to the property, gardens and importantly the staff.
Greatest Success - Taking 10 of the team to London to Pick up the Hotel of the Year Award less than 2 years after my return.
Your advice to an aspiring hotelier?
Find your Comfort Level and be the best don’t settle for mediocrity, Life is too short.
How important are architecture/design to the success of your hotel?
Very Important as Clough Williams Ellis has given us a building of Great Character that we can build upon and enhance.
How do you motivate your employees?
Firstly I talk to them and encourage, I always leave them notes saying Well done . Other ways financially – when we won Hotel of the Year – Every Team member got a Bonus. Every time I go to London for an awards ceremony I take different members of the team as a little thank you.
One food and drink left on earth, what would you choose?
My Weakness is Cheese. A Vintage Scottish Cheddar – From Claymore Dairies away in the Highlands of Scotland called Dornoch, many childhood memories of Golfing Holidays and Great Cheese Sandwiches with Mum Dad my Brother Kenny & my Granny. Drinks Wise – My dad has me on this One – Glenmorangie 18yo Malt Whisky.
What literature is on your bed stand?
The Village of Secrets – By Caroline Moorehead – A book on a village defying the Odds in Vichy France from Nazi Germany, Also Coming up trumps – a book by Jean Baroness Trumpington from her days as a code breaker at Bletchley Park.
Role model - business and personal?
J. Stewart Spence & The Late Sir Bernard Ashley.
My Puppy who is just over a year old
Favorite travel destination?
Soller in Mallorca a summer Home Escape , Shorts, T Shirt , Flip Flops Gin & Tonic at noon and a Partagas Cigar. Heaven for me, so Relaxing.
What's next for Llangoed Hall?
We will continue to Strive to be the Best we can be ….. I am Currently Rolling out our Eco Credentials and continue to develop the Estate and the Hall.