Wayne-Wills will bring 21 years’ experience in the hospitality industry to his new role at the top Northumberland venue, which was named best golf resort in the north of England at the 2016 Today’s Golfer Travel Awards and is part of QHotels, the UK’s largest golf resort operator.
Among his main tasks at Slaley Hall, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, the former chief executive officer at the Aviemore Resort in Scotland will focus on highlighting the Edwardian mansion’s top-class golf facilities to members, visitors and corporate guests.
The hotel has two 18-hole championship courses and a team of seven PGA-qualified professionals led by director of golf Jonny Mould. Wayne-Wills will be at the helm of the hotel’s leisure and corporate offering, with 141 bedrooms and 12 purpose-built meeting and conference rooms hosting up to 350 delegates.
Wayne-Wills said: “After 21 years in the hospitality industry, it’s rare to come across a career opportunity as exciting as QHotels, which truly understands its customers and continues to respond to their behaviour and needs. I’ll be focusing on promoting Slaley Hall as a destination for golf breaks, to really make the most of its award-winning offer for golfers.”
Michael Purtill, managing director of QHotels, added: “Christopher is a high flyer in the hotel industry and, as well as experience and expertise, also shares the passion and intuition we look for. I know that this talented GM will be a great addition to our team.” Set in 1,000 acres of Northumberland moorland and forest, Slaley Hall features two challenging championship courses – the Hunting and the Priestman – which have played host to no fewer than 18 European Tour and European Senior Tour events, with the likes of Colin Montgomerie, Lee Westwood and Retief Goosen among the list of winners.
Often dubbed ‘The Augusta of the North’, the 7,000-yard, par-72 Hunting, which was designed by Dave Thomas, offers lush sweeping fairways, streams, lakes, towering trees and banks of rhododendrons. Complementing its sister course is the Priestman, which opened in 1999 and sits on the west side of the estate, with panoramic views of the Tyne Valley and some daunting water features for players to negotiate if they are to score well.
Named AA Hotel Group of the Year in 2014/15, the multi-award-winning four-star QHotels golf group offers tournament and championship-standard courses in 10 unique resort locations across England and Scotland.