The Hotel Folk, a group of luxury hotels located in Suffolk, won the Large Business of the Year award, sponsored by Larking Gowen, at the East Anglian Daily Times Business Awards 2023.

The group’s hotels – The Brudenell and The White Lion in Aldeburgh, Thorpeness Golf Club & Hotel, The Crown and Castle in Orford, The Crown in Woodbridge and the Swan Hotel and Spa in Lavenham – offer accommodation and dining in stunning locations.   

Four years ago, CEO David Scott led the business through a full rebrand and relaunch.   

“In 2019, we became The Hotel Folk; we were previously the TA Hotel Collection,” explained David. “From a people point of view, it was about unifying everybody.”  

The TA in TA Hotel Collection stood for Thorpeness and Aldeburgh, which, in 2019, didn’t encapsulate all the other sites in the group.  

“That was the first part of the journey, giving it an identity,” he said.  

The relaunch included a large investment in IT and dynamic marketing systems and a new focus on people, which led to the creation of a bespoke training facility.  

Today, one of the main focuses of the business is still its ‘Folk’.  

Every new starter at The Hotel Folk has a four-hour induction session at the unique training centre.  

The session involves finding out more about the business and learning some basic skills to give everyone a good grounding before they start in their role.  

East Anglian Daily Times: The training centre bedroomThe training centre bedroom (Image: The Hotel Folk)

“Everyone learns how to carry a tray, wait a table and make a bed,” said David.  

They also learn how the laundry processes operate and which chemicals are used to clean the kitchens.  

Each new starter then comes out with a training plan which transfers to the hotel they will be working at.  

It’s thanks to this bespoke training, as well as the upgraded IT system which has unified the way the hotels work, that anyone can work at any of the six locations.  

Looking ahead, the business will be focusing on its ‘Folk’ in the future too, specifically its chefs.  

“We’ll focus on culinary training over the next 12 months,” explained David.   

He said The Hotel Folk’s Chef Development Programme, which helps young chefs to gain more skills, is vital following the Covid pandemic and Brexit, which have made it difficult to recruit new chefs.  

The Hotel Folk extended its training programme to include chef development earlier this year.  

As well as investing in people, the firm will continue to invest in its hotels too. Half of all of its hotel bedrooms will have been refurbished by the end of this financial year.  

East Anglian Daily Times: A deluxe superior seaview room at the Brudenell in AldeburghA deluxe superior seaview room at the Brudenell in Aldeburgh (Image: The Hotel Folk)

Considering the world events which have happened over the last few years, The Hotel Folk is in a positive position.  

“I think we are a better business because of Covid,” said David. “It was hard at the time, but we came out the other side.”  

The business is being noticed for its achievements, winning awards and accolades, including the Large Business of the Year award at the East Anglian Daily Times Business Award 2023.  

“To win a prestigious award like the Business Award recognises our hard work and dedication and what we are trying to achieve,” said David. “It gives us focus on what we need to aim for.”  

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