Checking in with Robin Sheppard, chairman of Bespoke Hotels

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In the first of a regular series, we check in with leading hoteliers and general managers to get an exclusive glimpse into their careers, their lives and their ambitions. This time, we speak to Robin Sheppard, chairman of Bespoke Hotels.

I enjoy my job because…

It is varied, exciting and involves a diverse set of skills and I feel very well suited to the art of hotel keeping.

I find my job challenging because…

Of the geography, the range of properties that we are involved in and the personalities of all the stakeholders and because I really like a challenge.

My best achievement in business was…

Getting back to work after a catastrophic illness which paralysed me from the neck downwards in December 2004. My recovery took two years. My second best achievement was joining forces with my business partner of the last 20 years, Haydn Fentum.

My worst mistake in business…

Will occur the next time I ignore my gut instinct because all my past mistakes have been when I failed to listen to that instinct. 

What I am yet to accomplish is…

Retirement, but then I am not sure I like the idea of it enough.

If I could change one thing about myself, it would be…

To have my full health back again. I never realised how blessed I was to have full mobility in my life until I lost it.

If I could change one thing about the industry, it would be…

Respect for those who work in it. Society historically has always underestimated the skills needed to work in the hotel environment, unlike many other civilised countries.

My top three bucket list items are…

To see my youngest son married, finish my model railway (only 20 years to go) and open Hotel Brooklyn in Manchester successfully in 2020.

My life philosophy is…

To have fun whilst doing all of the above.

My favourite song, book or film is…

My favourite song is Age of Consent by New Order, my favourite book is Unreliable Memoirs by Clive James who has just died, and my favourite film is Trainspotting.

My ideal weekend would be…

Watching England beating New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup semi-final as if it were the first time, with family and friends enjoying a Sunday roast.

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