The Hand Picked Board of Directors

Here at Hand Picked Hotels we are guided by a talented leadership team. Each an expert in their own field with passion for hospitality, this unique hotel collection, and the experience of our esteemed guests.

Julia Hands – Chairman

As the owner of Hand Picked Hotels Julia is the driving force behind the unique style of Hand Picked Hotels and the atmosphere of relaxed indulgence that is prevalent in all properties.



Ignace Bauwens – Chief Executive Officer

Ignace has over 30 years’ experience in leadership roles across a number of international hospitality groups. At Hand Picked Hotels, he will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the business, including the implementation of a number of core initiatives at the individual hotel level. Prior to this Ignace spent 25 years in a variety of positions across a number of hospitality groups, most notably at InterContinental Hotel Group and ACCOR Hotels in Europe and the Middle East.


Douglas Waddell – Operations Director

An experienced hotel, leisure, and multi-site operator with more than 30 years of sector experience. Douglas is committed to ensuring that all of Hand Picked Hotels’ product and service values are maintained and the commercial goals of the company are achieved.


Peter Herbert – Chief Financial Officer

Peter joined Hand Picked Hotels in August 2022. Peter is a Chartered Accountant, having trained and spent more than 10 years with Ernst & Young, working in both UK and US offices as well as with Hotel businesses operating across the UK and EMEA. In his role at Hand Picked Hotels, he is focused on driving the group's profitability and supporting the realisation of its growth strategy.



Melanie Nicholas – Creative Marketing Director

Melanie joins us with a long, international career in marketing having worked as Chief Marketing Officer for Universal Pictures, European brand consultant for ODEON Cinemas Group, and Marketing Advisor for Roasting Plant Coffee, which she continues to support. With her extensive experience, she is keen to devise and enhance Hand Picked Hotel's marketing strategy after being nominated for an industry marketing award for her campaign "Ask Me" with St John Ambulance earlier this year.



Deborah Seymour – People Director

Deb joined Hand Picked Hotels in 2000 bringing with her a wealth of hotel operational and training experience.  Since heading up the people function in 2013, Deb has been focused on driving organisational performance and excellence in customer service through the strength of its people.