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Wed 17th Dec 2014 - New generation coaching inn wins Les Routiers Hotel of the Year
New generation coaching inn wins Les Routiers Hotel of the Year: Coaching inn operator Bulldog Hotel Group has been awarded the prestigious Les Routiers Hotel of the Year 2015 Award for its Talbot Hotel, Eatery and Coffee House. Based in Oundle, Northamptonshire, the 35-bedroom Grade One listed hotel is a designed as an evolution of the traditional coaching inn with modern design and a patisserie based coffee offer. It has received the Les Routiers award following a major refurbishment programme in 2012 - the award is based on customer feedback, reviews and recommendations. “Our aim is to be the best independent operator of regional hotels in the country and this award is testimony to the success of our continued investment programme and dedication to the highest standards of customer service,” said Bulldog managing director Kevin Charity. “The Talbot was given an extensive facelift and the feedback from our customers and staff has been tremendous.” A former coaching inn owned by Greene King, the Talbot has welcomed guests since 1626 and also holds TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence and a top rated venue accreditation from wedding planning website Les Routiers’ Tina Griffiths added: “Hotel of the Year is awarded to members who consistently demonstrate exceptional levels of service and quality. Based on performance, customer feedback, reviews and recommendations, it is a mark of excellent cuisine, warm hospitality and value for money.” Bulldog Hotel Group has seven individually styled hotels in the UK, with a total of 230 bedrooms and run-rate turnover of over £10 million. The group plans continued acquisition and investment to expand its portfolio of quality coaching inns. Charity added: “2014 has been a fantastic year for the business, and follows a period of consistent and profitable growth. Our plans for 2015 are to continue this development, and as such we are currently exploring numerous opportunities to expand our estate.” The Talbot was re-opened in 2012 as a “new generation” coaching inn with a £1.3m investment. The Talbot was acquired by Bulldog from Greene King in 2009. Two years were spent getting the necessary planning consents to completely re-model the Grade one listed venue. It re-opened, after an eight-month refurbishment, as a radical re-invention of the coaching inn with an offer that combines quality bedrooms and a mix of elements of pub, restaurant and coffee shop – the venue has a Patisserie Valerie-style serving counter that offers made-on-the-premises cakes, muffins, Danishes and other pastries. In September, Propel reported Bulldog turnover rose to £8,283,773 in the year to 31 March 2014 from £5,999,120 the year before. Pre-tax profit climbed to £271,248 from £54,799 the year before. The current financial year will see a full-year contribution from the 62-bedroom Three Swans in Market Harborough and The Old Bridge Inn and Coffee House in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, which saw a “transformational” investment in March this year. Ebitda across its seven sites is forecast to hit £1,860,000 in the current financial year with pre-tax profit of circa £750,000.

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