A new man at the top of a leading Cheshire hotel has been announced.
After more than 20 years of growth and development under the leadership of Hamish Ferguson, he will be handing over the reins of Carden Park Hotel to Paul Bayliss this autumn.
Mr Ferguson will be leaving the hospitality industry altogether for a role as executive director (commercial) with The PGA.
This has been a difficult decision for Mr Ferguson and his family who live on-site among the 1,000 acres of Carden Park. He was part of the original team planning the opening of the hotel in 1996 and has seen the venue evolve into one of the area’s largest venues for leisure and business guests, most recently awarded Cheshire’s best Large Hotel of the Year in 2015.
As a member of the original team in 1996, the achievements, accolades and reputation for excellence have always been central to Mr Ferguson’s way of doing things.
Mr Ferguson said: “This has been an incredibly hard decision for me to make along with my wife and family. My children have only ever really known Carden Park and the team here but at this stage of my life it is a case of now or never, and so I feel it is the right time to place this much-loved venue into the very safe hands of Paul Bayliss.
“Paul and I have worked closely together previously and I am confident that the next phase for Carden Park will be a hugely successful one.
“I look forward to my completely new and exciting challenge at the PGA but will obviously be sad to leave the team and many friends I have made in my time here at Carden.”
Paul Bayliss’ most recent post was as regional general manager for two of the most outstanding Owners Only Holiday Home Parks in the UK where he was working in North Wales looking after Plas Coch and Brynteg.
Prior to that he spent seven years in Manchester, first of all as resident manager of The Midland Hotel and then taking stewardship of Cottonopolis’ largest hotel, The Macdonald Manchester Hotel and Spa as well as its sister boutique residence, The Townhouse.
For two years during his time in Manchester he was also chair of the city regions Hoteliers and Venues Association leading an organisation boasting Europe’s largest hotel and venue membership of more than 5,000 - a high profile position within the industry that on occasion took him to parliament to work on behalf of the north and the hospitality profession as a whole.
He won a scholarship through The Master Inn holders and attended what is considered to be the best general managers programme in the world at Cornell University.
Most importantly his introduction to luxury hotels was as deputy to Hamish in 2007 at Carden Park for a highly successful two years. Prior to that he worked for AstraZeneca joining them as their food service general manager straight from the British Army, rising through the ranks from apprentice chef and departing some 24 years later on a commission in 2006 to see if, as he describes it, he ‘could cut it in civi-street’.
Mr Bayliss said: “It was probably the easiest decision I have had to make in my career. I said when I left Carden for my adventure into Manchester that if Hamish ever decided to leave then I’d love to be the one to take it on after him.
“I was very, very lucky and got a head start in hotels as DGM at Carden in 2007 as it’s a fabulous resort with amazingly loyal and passionate staff and most vitally I got myself a master class in the art of hotel management from someone who is quite rightly acknowledged as one of the best GMs in our industry.
“The timing was perfect back then but I feel even more fortunate now because of the amazing opportunity I’ve been afforded. I’m so pleased to be back and ready to take this superb resort forward.”
Following the announcement in 2014 that the resort would go independent, a £5m refurbishment was planned to enhance Carden’s already established reputation for service delivery and fantastic amenities. Significant improvements have been made to the 196 bedrooms, public areas, golf courses and spa as well as conference facilities and hotel suites.
This programme of work will come to fruition over the next few months.