Overall ranking: 69
Hotelier ranking: 15
Robin Hutson - Snapshot
Robin Hutson co-founded Hotel du Vin with Gerard Basset. At the time of its creation in 1994 it was at the vanguard of the UK’s boutique sector. Hutson was responsible for growing the brand from a concept in 1994 to a group of seven quirky, ground-breaking hotels, and the successful sale to Marylebone Warwick Balfour for £66m exactly 10 years later.
He is currently chairman and chief executive of Lime Wood Group, which recently launched a new country house hotel in the New Forest, where Hutson is once again attempting to redefine "laid-back luxury".
Robin Hutson - Career guide
At the age of 16 it all looked rather bleak for Robin Hutson, as even he admits his O level years were spent "chasing girls and having fun". However, picking up on an early fascination for culinary matters, he studied for an OND in hotel and catering operations at Brooklands College, which he found he enjoyed and excelled at.
The Savoy Group accepted Hutson on a management training course and things started to gather pace. Stints in all departments at Claridge's, Stones Chop House and the Berkeley hotel preceded a year in Paris at Hôtel du Crillon. He then returned to the Berkeley, where, at the age of 23, he became the Savoy Group’s youngest-ever reception manager.
While at the Berkeley, Hutson met his wife, Judy, to whom he has been married for 26 years - they have two sons. He then moved to the Elbow Beach hotel in Bermuda for two years before returning to the UK to work with Martin Skan for eight years as general manager and, ultimately, managing director of Chewton Glen. Hotel du Vin opened its first site in Winchester in October 1994.
During his time heading Hotel du Vin he received many accolades, including two Cateys, and was named Hotelier of the Year in 2003. Additionally, he is a shareholder and director of the Relais & Château property Hôtel Crillon le Brave in Provence and the Hampshire wine merchants Caviste. He sits on the board of governors of the Academy of Culinary Arts and developed the idea of Action Against Hunger, of which he is still a committee member, with food writer Bill Knott "over a pint".
Robin Hutson - What we think
Hutson’s career has been about redefining relaxed luxury. His time at Chewton Glen inspired him to want luxury "without having to put a tie on" and spurred him on to challenge the orthodox views of top-level food and service. This philosophy has driven everything Hutson has been involved in, from the original Hotel du Vin concept, which "reinvented the wheel" at the time, to Lime Wood, where despite it being a luxury country house hotel it is still possible to order baked beans on toast.
He is a passionate team builder and believes strongly in the use of creative training for his young teams and that, fundamentally, "Nice people give nice service – so we try hard to recruit and develop nice people."
His latest position with Lime Wood threw Hutson back into the limelight after a few years of relative obscurity, though not inactivity – his mark on the Soho House Group’s new property in Miami will no doubt be felt.
However, it is the Lime Wood project that now has his attention and, while the Hampshire property may be up and running, there are others in the group that he is now involved in developing - its nearby "baby sister" Whitley Ridge, for one, as well as the group’s hotel and mountain lodges in Courchevel.
With so many new luxury country house hotels opening in the UK, it remains to be seen whether the Hutson touch will provide Lime Wood with the success that he has previously experienced with Hotel du Vin and Soho House Group.
Robin Hutson - Further information