Service Please, by The Conduit: Robin Sheppard, Founder of Bespoke Hotels

Season 14, Episode 2,  Oct 11, 2022, 12:06 PM

Welcome to The Conduit’s podcast series, Service Please. This series will be focusing on ethical and sustainable hospitality, engaging with a diverse range of industry experts and a variety of individuals across different sectors, disciplines, roles and levels. From supply chains to sourcing, waste management to wellbeing and welfare – what problems need tackling and what does the future of hospitality look like?

In this episode, we are joined by Robin Sheppard. Robin has been an hotelier for over 40 years, winning multiple awards and significant recognition for his work in the industry.  In 2000 Robin co-founded Bespoke Hotels which has grown into the UK’s largest independent hotel group with over 200 properties. He has already won the Hotel Catey and then the Oxford Brookes award for Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry and most recently he won the AA Lifetime Achievement Award to the Industry. He is also the Government’s Hospitality Sector Champion for Disabled People.

Despite all of these accolades, Robin’s greatest achievement has been to fight back from Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a completely paralysing illness. His slow recovery inspired him to launch the Blue Badge Access Awards to encourage better design and empathy from architects, interior designers and hospitality professionals alike.

Quick Fire Round:

What does hospitality mean to you?
It means anticipation and preparing for any guest’s arrival to be made to feel special, recognised, valued and cherished. 

Desert Island Dish
My death row dish would be a picnic in the hope that we might be able to have it outside and I could run away… But probably a delicious spaghetti Bolognese, I love Italian cooking. I’m told by Heston Blumenthal that by putting a little star anise into your Bolognese makes all of the difference. 

Favourite season
Spring, I love spring, flowers come into bloom, there’s a sense of hope.

Newsagent confectionary of choice
I’m very fond of Picnics… I did go through a terrible period of Jaffa Cake addiction, but I did get that under control.

Favourite restaurant
Bibendum, for the beauty of the light and the stained glass. 
The Hilton, Park Lane, for the views across London.
Dins by Santi Toura, Majorca, for his incredible food. 

Three words to describe the future of hospitality
Expanding, levelling, joyful.