FMG UK Ltd: Urban & Country Leisure Announce First Hotel Venture In £15m Expansion Plans
Urban & Country Leisure Continue Aggressive Expansion Plan & Unveil Boutique Hotel Chain Blueprint
The Lazy Cow is the first hotel project from Sander’s UCL blueprint which aims to bring unique, quality and bespoke boutique style hotel accommodation to the market with an attached high end pub/restaurant offering. The Lazy Cow is to become the first, of what UCL founder Ross Sanders hopes to establish as a chain of quality small boutique hotels to add to the group’s highly successful and winning formula in the quality pub/restaurant sector. It is aiming to attract customers from the tourist markets, business sectors and destination weekend break market.
The Lazy Cow, which is situated in Theatre Street, in the heart of Warwick, is also adjacent to Warwick racecourse and one of the UK’s biggest tourist attractions, Warwick Castle. The hotel will comprise of sixteen individually designed and bespoke bedrooms set to different themes. It will also have its own high end pub/restaurant offering aiming to provide the same levels of exceptional food, service and stylish surroundings that have become synonymous with the UCL blueprint and its estate.
Sanders has created a unique vision for the Lazy Cow, both in terms of design, style, accommodation and food offering. He has spared no expense in ensuring the food offering is second to none having recruited a highly talented head chef David Philpot who was previously senior chef at the renowned London eateries Le Caprice, The Ivy and head chef at Soho House in New York.
Each of the sixteen rooms will be luxuriously designed and themed, all with unique interior design schemes, implemented by award winning designers Tibbatts Kirk Abel. Each room will have the latest in high technology gadgets with Apple I Pads, 32-inch flat screen plasma HD TV’s, WIFI and IPods. Each room will also be kitted out with its own “Lazy Cow Swag Bag” where customers will be encouraged to take home the hotel’s bathrobes, towels and unique range of its own branded toiletries. The hotel will also provide customers with access to the hotels fleet of quirky bicycles in which to enjoy many of the local areas outstanding cycle routes and local tourist attractions.
UCL chose to site and launch their first hotel in Warwick due to its location and its unique positioning serving the tourist, business travel and weekend break destination markets. The Lazy Cow is in close proximity to several of the biggest tourist attractions in the Midlands with Warwick Castle on its doorstep, the birthplace of William Shakespeare at nearby Stratford Upon Avon and the revered Royal Shakespeare Theatre. All of which attract tourists from across the world and from the domestic UK market. Its unique location, situated minutes from the M40 motorway and mainline train station, provides an important stop over for the business commuter corridor between the Midlands and London
Commenting on the announcement Sanders said; “The Lazy Cow is the first of what we hope to establish as a chain of small, intimate, stylish boutique hotels that have a strong accent on quality accommodation, stylish interiors with exceptional food and drink offerings. Our aim is to provide the best possible accommodation offering to the tourist, business and destination weekend break markets. It’s a natural progression and extension of our existing UCL blueprint and plans, which we have successfully rolled out over the last two years across our estate with our quality pub restaurants. It is an extension of the high quality hospitality offering and experience that our customers enjoy whether that is in a UCL pub restaurant or small hotel.”
Sanders is no stranger to the hotel and hospitality trade having become the youngest ever General Manager of a West End nightclub at the age of twenty, before progressing into the hotel industry rising through the ranks with various posts as operations manager and general manager of several privately run small hotels and country pubs where he developed his skills in financial budgeting, sales, human resources and training.
Operations Director Harwood Warrington, who is also operations director for UCL’s pub/restaurant estate will also be charged with the launch of the Lazy Cow and the operational development of the UCL hotel chain working alongside Sanders. Warrington started off as an apprentice at the famous Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland, before working for a number of private hoteliers and going on to become a founder/operations director of pub/food/rooms operator Merchant Inns taking them from twelve to one hundred and fifty rooms from a single site to six locations in under three years.
Warrington’s viewpoint on the Lazy Cow is to offer affordable luxury. “We have an exceptional product and offering with The Lazy Cow. Warwick is an un-tapped market for this style of accommodation with personal touches offered at every turn, we aim to position our price point and room rate at between £90 to £130 per room per night. Our overall aim and core objectives with our hotels will be to over deliver in terms of exceptional standards of accommodation, food and drink while maintaining a natural hospitality, in our words tender loving care”
UCL’s phenomenal growth over the last two years has seen its estate expand to fourteen pub restaurants and a nightclub in London’s media district of Soho. UCL’s estate has seen a dramatic surge in consumer confidence across each of its pub restaurants with food sales up 65% and drink sales up 45% despite the worst trading conditions on record for the sector in over fifty years and with a backdrop of thirty nine pub closures every week.
Sanders attributes the success of his UCL blueprint down to identifying customer trends and needs, careful choice of location, quality interior design schemes along with exceptional food and drink offerings, a realistic pricing policy that aims for repeat quality and volume business with a high emphasis on customer service.
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