Geoff Lofthouse is celebrating 40 years as The Imperial’s general manager making him one of the few, if not the, longest serving hotel manager in North Wales.
A chemical engineer by trade, Geoff got bitten by the hospitality bug when working for a number of hotels during his college holidays, and went on to hone his skills at the Dolphin Hotel in Poole, the Montagu Arms in Beaulieu and Forest Park Hotel in Brockenhurst where he was Hotel Manager from Nov 79 – Feb 81. Geoff was then asked to interview for The Imperial Hotel Llandudno after the hotel was acquired by Greenclose Hotels Ltd in January 1980. Initially the position was a temporary posting for 12- 18 months but after driving over the brow of the Little Orme as a 26 year old in 1981, Geoff was immediately captivated by Llandudno “The Queen Of Welsh Resorts”.
Geoff has always been a hands-on manager and was the driving force behind the hotel’s development adding a health and fitness centre in 1989, refining the dining experience leading to an AA Rosette award for Chantrey’s Restaurant, and a major refurbishment programme which elevated the hotel to four star status in 2007, as well as numerous high profile tourism Awards wins including the AA’s Hotel Of The Year (Wales) in 2010.
Geoff’s drive to innovate also gave rise to a new bar concept within the Hotel, called The Speakeasy which later evolved into a nightclub. The Speakeasy would become a hot spot for music fans with Radio one hosting part of their annual roadshow there and the likes of Shalamar and Kelly Marie stopping at The Speakeasy as part of their record promotional tours.
Today the hotel offers guests whether for leisure or business the amenities and hospitality befitting a grand Four Star hotel. As well as 98 bedrooms including four suites with lounges and four family suites, the hotel has eight conference and banqueting suites catering for up to 150 guests, a fine dining restaurant and Terrace for light refreshments. It is also the resort’s largest quality hotel to boast a swimming pool alongside two gyms, a spa bath, steam room and sauna at its health and fitness centre, Mint Condition.
Not content with just running a large hotel, Geoff has also undertaken many fundraising initiatives which have seen him competing in various charity events including cycling from London to Paris and from Land’s End to John O’Groats to raise money for Diabetes UK, Dementia UK, Springboard, British Lung Foundation and Wales Air Ambulance to name just a few.
In 2014, Geoff was made a director of Greenclose Hotels and is a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality, a Gold Conwy Tourism Ambassador and Gold Eryri Ambassador. Over his years of service within the hospitality industry, Geoff has also been a Welcome Host International Pilot Scheme Advisor, a member of the Llandrillo College Council, North Wales Tourism Association, Llandudno Hospitality Association and the Llandudno Big Hospitality Conversation Steering Group, as well as contributing to the Lead Wales and ION Advanced Leadership Programme at Bangor University.
Geoff is also a staunch advocate of the hotel using local food, producers, suppliers and supporting local charities including St David’s Hospice, Blind Veterans, Ty Gobaith Children’s Hospice and Arthritis Research. As a keen golfer, Geoff is also passionate about promoting North Wales as a golfing destination and is currently a board member at North Wales Golf Club. He has also supported many other sporting associations over the years including Llandudno Football Club, Llandudno and Colwyn Bay Cricket Clubs, Llandudno Rugby Club and Rugbi Gogledd Cymru Colwyn Bay
On celebrating this milestone Geoff commented;
“They always say time flies when you’re having fun and these 40 years have been a lot of fun but also plenty of hard work. Operating a hotel during a pandemic has been especially challenging and my thanks have to go to all the staff, both past and present, for all their hard work and dedication. While there have been many highlights over the years I don’t think there has been such an exciting time to be in the region’s hospitality industry as at the moment. This year’s travel restrictions and the increase in domestic travel has meant that people have rediscovered how incredible the UK is and have been blown away by the beauty of north wales.
With adrenalin attractions and plenty more exciting developments planned for the future, North Wales has firmly been put on the tourist map and I am very much looking forward to the future.”
Put Llandudno on your must-see list this year. The seaside town in Conwy, North Wales has been dubbed one of the top spots to be on everyone’s bucket lists by booking.com as UK staycations have boomed.