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The story of our owners

This week, we’ve been speaking to our owners, Alison and Chris Wilson, about their background in the hospitality industry, and their journey with Balmer Lawn.


Where did your careers begin, before entering the hospitality industry?
Before entering hospitality, we both worked in third party transport and distribution – now, of course, known as logistics! Employed by National Carriers Contact Services, a part of Exel Logistics, Alison was based in the BMW head office in Bracknell, responsible for ensuring the distribution of BMW parts throughout the UK, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands. Meanwhile, Chris managed distribution for the ICL contract, and was responsible for the parts distribution and storage to ICL point-of-sale tills throughout the UK.

Can you tell us a little about your family?
We have three children, Polly, 22 years old, Henry, 21 and Amy, 19. Polly has followed in her parents’ footsteps, having just joined the Doyle Hotel Collection as part of a two year graduate Management programme. Henry, on the other hand, has just graduated from York University after studying Environmental Sciences, and Amy is about to embark on a ski season.

After working in logistics, you began your ownership of Balmer Lawn. Can you tell us the secret to your success?
Our wonderful staff members have most definitely been the secret to our success. We are only as good as our weakest member of staff, and we are so proud of the levels of service that our team achieve, always delivering in a friendly, welcoming manner. After the staff, we would say our success has resulted from the constant and consistent reinvestment into the building herself. Like with painting the Forth Bridge, the reinvestment never ends!

What did you find so unique about Balmer Lawn?
For Chris, it was the huge potential of the standalone conference and banqueting facility at the rear of the hotel. For Alison, it was location, location, location! The New Forest is quite literally a magical and unique place to be.

What are your plans for the near future?
We want to ensure that Balmer Lawn continues to be a great place to stay in the New Forest, and is welcoming to all. We have some amazing plans to grow the business with additional rooms, extra function space and a unique wedding offering, whilst continuing to expand our spa facilities. It’s very exciting times for the hotel!

At Balmer Lawn, we like to ensure that all of our guests have an unforgettable experience during their stay with us. To find out more, please click here.