Nestled in the picturesque Yorkshire Dales, a stone’s throw away from Fountains Abbey, sits the enchanting 17th century Grantley Hall.
The magnificent Grade II star listed Hall will soon be brought back to its luxurious former glory, filled with laughter and joy, with a proposed opening date of Spring 2019.
Purchased in 2015, Grantley Hall is currently undergoing extensive redevelopment to create one of the United Kingdom’s foremost 5 star luxury country house retreats, bringing a touch of vibrant city centre style to the Yorkshire countryside.
With 47 opulent rooms and suites, four exquisite restaurants – ranging from fine dining to Pan-Asian and three sophisticated bars, this relaxing retreat will surely become a strong favourite for many.
Extensive development has also included the construction of a tranquil spa, state of the art gym and ELITE performance centre, alongside a stand-alone function suite that seats 180 guests and a unique and glamorous champagne and cocktail bar.
As part of the redevelopment, Grantley Hall will be creating around 180 career opportunities within the Ripon area, investing in each member of staff with extensive hospitality training at the Grantley Academy, the onsite training facility being created.
Andrew McPherson, General Manager at Grantley Hall has already begun appointing key team members and the core team is set to move over to the site to begin their Grantley Hall experience this summer.
After working in the hospitality industry his whole adult life and managing some of the most luxurious and exclusive hotels in Europe, including Skibo Castle (when Madonna and Guy Richie got married there), Andrew was the obvious choice to head the redevelopment and creation of this luxury retreat.
To learn a little more about the face of Grantley Hall, we sat with Andrew and delved deep, really deep, into his hospitality past.
We heard stories from long ago, uncovered a secret biscuit fiend, laughed (a lot!) and relived some of his finest moments:
Where was the first place you worked?
“I began my working life at a quaint little local pub on the Isle of Wight – where I was born, it was called The Countryman. Working there taught me the importance of good communication prior to starting – I turned up in a suit with my little black bow tie, only to be cast as the kitchen porter! It’s safe to say I was THE best-dressed kitchen porter on the south coast!
I absolutely loved that job, it paved my career and helped me to develop my passion for the hospitality industry. I remember the owner once saying to me “You will be a fantastic hotelier and run the finest hotels” and to her credit I have done that, and I’m very glad I did.”
Where have you worked throughout your career?
“After graduating from my Hospitality degree, specialising in Engineering and Facilities Management, I pursued a job for Forte Hotels as a Management Trainee – it took a lot of persuading, due to my lack of five star experience, however, I was finally offered the job. I then proceeded to Grosvenor House, Park Lane, that excitingly took me to the sunny shores of the Algarve and Monaco and the architectural haven that is Warsaw.
I then moved to the Bath Spa hotel where, I have to say, I met my beautiful wife, so that hotel is remembered as my favourite place of work so far.
Following on from the Bath Spa I made the move to the Big Smoke where I progressed in my career and opened up The Heights bar and restaurant at the Saint Georges Hotel. This allowed me to move on to the Waldorf where again I progressed to Purchasing and Back of House Manager. This job role will stick with me for life, never have I learnt a lesson like running out of toilet roll and having to scour the city of London for supplies!
I then returned to the Bath Spa hotel to be Deputy Manager where I met my very good friend Charles Oak. We then moved together to Skibo Castle, where I was appointed my first General Manager position. Here we worked to host an array of celebrity functions such as Robbie Williams’ 30th, Madonna and Guy Richie’s Wedding – which I’m proud to say had NO publicity, as well as events for Ant and Dec, Hollywood movie star Ashley Judd and Tesler’s Elon Musk.
I spent 9 happy years at Skibo Castle until I moved to Swinton Park, followed by Holbeck Ghyll, Lucknam Park and now Grantley Hall.”
What is it like being back in Yorkshire?
“I absolutely LOVE being back in Yorkshire, it has such a familiar, homely and welcoming feel!”
What would you say is the most memorable/ proudest moment of your career?
“I would have to say the proudest moment of my career, and not to sound too clichéd, is to be given the opportunity to head the Grantley Hall development and the team.”
What would you say are your most important values?
“Effective delegation and leading by example. I need to be able to have trust in my team to ensure the job gets done, properly, even if I’m sunning myself on annual leave.”
What do you look for in your staff?
“I want my staff to be smiley, happy, friendly and fun. They need to be respectful of their environment but also enjoy life to the fullest. I always say, never settle for a job you’re not happy in! “
What are your aspirations for Grantley Hall?
“To be the leaders in our field of luxury experiences.”
And finally, a little about how you spend your downtime. What do you do to relax? Do you have a favourite holiday destination and what is your go-to signature cocktail?
“I LOVE to sail and take my golden retriever Daisy for long walks (these almost always include pub pit stops!). Quite a lot of my time is spent indulging in my Achilles’ heel, Jammy Dodgers, Bourbons and Fig Rolls. The team at Grantley Hall often joke about my biscuit consumption and have taken to buying me confectionery related presents! My wife and I love Split in Croatia, we have so many happy memories there eating, drinking and watching the world go by. As for my signature cocktail, it would HAVE to be a Caipirinha, or anything with rum in, LOVE rum.”