Meet Turrloo Parrett, owner of Eastwell Manor
PUBLISHED: 14:14 07 September 2014 | UPDATED: 14:14 07 September 2014
Manu Palomeque 07977074797
The ‘serial entrepreneur’ on hosting rock stars and royalty, horse racing and expansion plans in Kent
Tell us a bit about you
I was born in Folkestone and educated at the Harvey Grammar School in Folkestone. My first real job was with Reynolds & Lane (chartered accountants). I then worked for other local firms that have since been absorbed by Wilkins Kennedy. I completed my National Service in Devizes where I met my wife, Jackie. We were married for more than 50 years and sadly I lost her in 2008. I principally live at Eastwell Manor near Ashford but am fortunate enough to have a house at Marine Parade, Hythe where I enjoy a stroll along the promenade.
Tell us about your business
I ultimately became Managing Director of a public property development company and floated my own company, Gilbert House Investments plc, on the London Stock Market.
Failing eyesight brought an end to a London-based business career and I purchased the run-down Eastwell Manor in 1995 with Jackie. At that time Eastwell had 23 bedrooms and approximately 30 staff. It now has 62 bedrooms, seven conference rooms, a leisure centre and beauty salon and employs more than 140 staff.
I have developed other restaurants (the Hythe Bay Seafood Restaurants in Hythe and Dover) and retained an interest in other business premises around the country. Eastwell Manor’s clients are very varied – from retired leisure couples to corporate guests to holidaying families, from film stars to rock stars and royalty.
In October the golfers playing in the Volvo World Match Play Championships at the London Golf Club will be staying with us.
Eastwell Manor is also a prestigious wedding venue, attracting couples from London, the Home Counties and, because of its location, from Europe.
Any plans for future expansion in Kent?
I would like to open additional, quality seafood restaurants and would acquire another prestige hotel in Kent if it were available.
What advice would you give to new-start Kent businesses?
Stay very focused and accept good-quality local advice. Support your business by seeking local involvement or producers wherever possible.
Best piece of business advice?
Don’t envy other people’s success, emulate them!
What makes a good boss?
My philosophy, and hopefully it rubs off, is I ask people to do things rather than tell them. I like my employees to feel they work with me rather than for me.
Your most prized possession?
My integrity and good name.
How is your work/leisure balance?
My businesses are my hobby: The Bank of England described me as a “serial entrepreneur.” I do find time for racing and have had some luck as a racehorse owner; I was fortunate enough to have a small stake in Motivator when he won the Derby. I have no idea how to maintain a work/life balance!
Where do you prefer to entertain?
I eat at one of my four restaurants whenever possible and combine entertaining with my regular visits.
What did you have for breakfast?
The same as I have every other morning: fruit salad, tomato juice, two fried eggs, two slices of toast and English Breakfast Tea.
GET IN TOUCH
Eastwell Manor, Eastwell Park, Boughton Lees, Ashford TN25 4HR