The History of Hand Picked Hotels

Hand Picked Hotels has gained an enviable reputation as a leader in luxury hospitality, but this privileged position has been hard-won.

Originally part of the Virgin Group, owned by Sir Richard Branson, the collection was acquired by Founder and Chairman Julia Hands in 2001. Under Julia’s meticulous leadership and investment, Hand Picked Hotels has flourished to become a stunning portfolio of twenty-one exquisite country house hotels and coastal retreats across the UK and the Channel Islands.

Every hotel has been hand-picked for its unique charm, from a Grade II listed former monastery to the country’s oldest inhabited moated house, promising the perfect blend of character and laidback luxury.

Our Portfolio Timeline

Julia Hands acquires a collection of sixteen hotels from Virgin Group, becoming the CEO and Chairman of the newly-established Hand Picked Hotels brand. 


The collection grows with the additions of Audleys Wood Hotel in Hampshire and the historic moated manor house New Hall Hotel in the West Midlands. Both properties boast an outstanding reputation for exceptional hospitality.  


Bailbrook House Hotel in Bath becomes the latest to join the Hand Picked Hotels portfolio with its stunning Grade II facade and prime location on the edge of this prestigious city.

2013 - 2014

Hand Picked Hotels’ first Guernsey hotel, St Pierre Park Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort, joins the group, along with Fawsley Hall Hotel & Spa in the Midlands, which boasts a rich history of regal hospitality. They are followed by Grand Jersey Hotel & Spa in 2014, with its prime position in St Helier.


Stanbrook Abbey Hotel expands Hand Picked Hotels’ presence in the Midlands, with its impressive Grade II listed architecture that housed nuns up until 2009. 


Braye Beach Hotel in Alderney and Fermain Valley Hotel in Guernsey join the collection as charming coastal retreats and complete the Hand Picked Hotels Collection.