Overall ranking: 80
Hotelier ranking: 18
Danny Pecorelli - Snapshot
Danny Pecorelli is the managing director of Exclusive Hotels, which owns and operates four country house hotels in the South of England. The business was founded in 1981 by his father, Giuseppe Pecorelli, with the purchase of the jewel in the crown, Pennyhill Park in Bagshot, Surrey. Over the next 10 years the Pecorellis added three more country house hotels and two golf clubs. The four hotels are all AA Top 200 properties that hold five or four red stars and three or four red restaurant rosettes.
Danny Pecorelli - Career guide
Danny Pecorelli, who was born in 1966, embarked on a four-year training programme from 1988 that saw him work in the kitchens and restaurants of London’s Savoy hotel and the Four Seasons Inn on the Park. After graduating from Cornell University Summer School, Pecorelli spent a year working for Sheraton in the USA in sales and marketing.
In 1991 he became general manager of Exclusive’s Mannings Heath Golf Club in Sussex, which had on acquisition been a private members’ club with a £600,000 turnover. Over the next three years he doubled its turnover and developed a new clubhouse and a second 18-hole championship course.
In 1994 he turned his attention to the four-star, £2.5m-turnover South Lodge hotel in Sussex, where he achieved year-on-year growth, record profits and an AA red star rating. Pecorelli took over as managing director of Exclusive in 1997 when his father assumed the role of chairman.
Danny Pecorelli - What we think
Country house hotels are not always a byword for innovation but, under Danny Pecorelli’s stewardship, Exclusive Hotels is always evolving.
It may have been easy for Pecorelli to rest on his laurels, revelling in the success of the five-star, 123-bedroom Pennyhill Park hotel in Surrey, which sits in a 120-acre estate and, for four years, was a training ground for the England rugby union squad. The property was the AA Hotel of the Year in 2002.
But Pecorelli is always investigating new markets, highlighted by his successful Breakfast at Tiffany campaign aimed at female corporate events bookers, which won the Best Group Marketing Campaign in the 2006 Cateys.
In October 2007 Pecorelli pulled off a coup by recruiting Michael Wignall, executive head chef at the Michelin-starred Devonshire Arms in Yorkshire, to join Latymers at Pennyhill Park. The move proved a success, with the restaurant picking up a Michelin star in 2009, which was retained in 2010.
Also in 2007, Pecorelli turned his attention to overhauling South Lodge, with a £7.5m investment. He employed 35 new members of staff and a new wing was added, doubling the accommodation from 41 to 89 bedrooms, some of which feature individually carved four-poster beds and lavish bathrooms. The property's Camellia restaurant was joined by a second restaurant, the Pass, complete with a new £500,000 kitchen. The 22-seat fine-dining restaurant contained within the kitchen is possibly the last word in chef voyeurism.
The investment and hard work paid off, and the hotel was awarded its fifth star and three AA rosettes in January 2009. Its turnover in 2008-09 was £6.3m, with a gross operating profit of £1.17m. It was also given the ultimate seal of approval when it was chosen to host the G20 finance ministers' summit in March 2009, receiving a personal commendation from Alastair Campbell. And as if it couldn’t get any better, South Lodge picked up the Best Group Hotel Catey in 2009.
At a Caterer/Lloyds TSB round table last year, Pecorelli revealed that Exclusive Hotels, which is an owner-operator, was moving into management "because there is more money in it and it is easier to leverage". "We have been approached a lot recently to do management contracts by banks, because they are looking for good operators," he said. "It is a good way for us to expand at a time when funding is hard to come by."
Danny Pecorelli - Further information