Garvagh-born hotelier 'considers potential north coast opportunities'
A CO Derry-born hospitality entrepreneur who owns two luxury boutique hotels in Britain says he isn't ruling out returning to his roots and looking at potential opportunities to open properties in Northern Ireland.
Ian Taylor (59) and his wife Christa own the Kaleidoscope Collection, an independent privately-owned chain of high-end hotels in Bath.
Born in Garvagh and educated at Coleraine Inst, he left home for England as a 20-year-old and carved out a career in the hotels and tourism sector before buying his first property nearly 25 years ago.
Addressing the annual Hospitality Exchange lunch in Belfast's Crowne Plaza Hotel, where he was a guest of the NI Hotels Federation, Mr Taylor admitted: "One day I will probably come back.
"I was here for the Open in the summer, and it was such a delight and pleasure to see how that whole event was executed."
He also revealed: "In 1997 I almost bought the Bushmills Inn. Then I looked at Galgorm Castle at the time when the golf course was being created.
"I do see huge potential for growth in the boutique hotels sector in Northern Ireland, and creating personalised experiences for guests, and I envisage future opportunities, especially on the north coast."
Mr Taylor, whose mother, brother and sister still live in Garvagh, told guests that the properties he runs in the Kaleidoscope Collection each have their own unique personality, exude a love for life, an all-important sense of humour and a little bit of mischief.
But he confirmed that just last week he and Christa had sold off No.15 Great Pulteney in Bath, which he created after buying three Georgian town houses in 2016 and moulding them into a boutique hotel with 40 individually-designed bedrooms, and which included a spa.
"We still have two hotels in the group - The Bird on Pulteney Road in Bath and Homewood in nearby Freshford," he said.
"It was ultimately an easy decision to sell No. 15 last week. A bit like Belfast, Bath is seeing something of a renaissance in the hotels sector, with 600 bedrooms coming in next year. In business you've got to know when is the best time to sell."