THIS month sees multi-award winning Costley & Costley Hoteliers notch up a quarter century in the pursuit of excellence in Ayrshire.
The company was established in 1987 when Bill Costley, an entrepreneur from humble beginnings, and his wife Cath realised their ambition to buy a hotel of their own.
Situated high on a hill, with panoramic views over Troon and the Ayrshire coastline, Highgrove House was the first property acquired by the company and remains in its portfolio to this day.
Today, Costley & Costley Hoteliers is Ayrshire’s largest privately-owned hotel company with a turnover of £14 million and employing some 350 staff.
Family influence lies at the heart of its board of directors, which, in addition to Bill, includes Cath as director and company secretary and their son, Andrew Costley, as director and executive chef.
Company chair, Bill Costley, attributes much of the group’s success over the last quarter of a century to his management team, with key personnel having been with the organisation for most of the past 25 years.
“Cath and I have been very fortunate to have been able to secure the services of an exceptional management team, comprising a nucleus of half a dozen talented and committed personnel who have been with us for many years,” he said.
“We have also been fortunate in that, from the outset, I was able to benchmark our operation against the exceptional standards set by the Russell’s at Chapelton House, who pioneered the market for country house hotels in this country and for whom I worked at the start of my career.
“It was from the Russell’s that I learned the importance of exceptional house-keeping, attention to detail and with whom I shared a mindset for commercial awareness.”
Whilst pausing to mark quarter of a century in business, Bill’s focus for the business remains fixed firmly on the future.
“Already, it looks like 2012 is set to be our busiest ever year for weddings at Lochgreen and Brig o’Doon, Scotland’s premier wedding venue.
“The turnover of our banqueting operations has also increased significantly over the last year so that, whilst I expect the present challenging economic environment to remain for a few years yet, we have a tremendous asset portfolio at our disposal and, as such, find ourselves well positioned as a group to meet these challenges head on.”
In addition to Highgrove House and Lochgreen House, that portfolio includes: The Cochrane Inn; Brig o’Doon House; Doonbrae House; Ellisland House; The Beresford wine bar and gallery; House of Burns; Soutar Johnnie’s Inn and Costley’s Artisan Patisserie.
Whilst there are no immediate plans for any major additions to be made to that portfolio, Costley has definite plans in place to expand the group’s artisan patisserie retail operation, offering a range of hand-made cakes, pastries, foods and ice-creams.
“The difference between us and other food retailers is that we produce 100 per cent of our own produce. That might be an expensive business option, but customers can really taste the difference,” he said.
“In a way, the development of our patisserie operation brings my career full circle in that I started out in my career as a patisserie chef, having been attracted by the opportunity it gave me to be creative. Our new patisserie outlets mark the latest manifestation of fulfilling that interest in the importance of how food appeals to the eye as well as the tongue.”
Costley & Costley’s company motto, as depicted on the entrance gates to Lochgreen House, reads ‘Ad Virtutem Nitens’, which translates as ‘the pursuit of excellence’.
The numerous awards showered on the group since its inception suggests that it is succeeding in this pursuit.
Whilst Bill has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Scottish Licensed Trade Association in recognition of his work in the industry, Lochgreen House Hotel was recently awarded five stars and holds three Red Rosettes for its outstanding cuisine while Costley & Costley Hotels was named winner of Hotel Group of the Year at the 2011 Scottish Hotel Awards.
For further information please contact Susan Christie on tel 0141 561 4018
Issued on behalf of Costley & Costley Hoteliers by Liquorice Media tel 0141 561 4018 www.liquorice-media.com
Date 13th March 12
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Contact: Susan Christie
Phone: 0141 561 4018