Nicola Taylor.


Just over 50.

What is your business called?

Chardon Hotels Limited.

Where is it based?

Our headquarters are in Glasgow city centre.

What services does it offer?

We own and operate Holiday Inn branded hotels including five limited service properties in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Perth and Dunfermline, as well as the 4-star Holiday Inn Theatreland hotel and the award winning La Bonne Auberge brasserie, both of which are located in Glasgow’s West Nile Street.

The limited service hotels offer Holiday Inn-standard bedrooms with continental breakfast. They don’t offer conference and event facilities, restaurants or room service.

To whom does it sell?

Our hotels attract national and international business and leisure travellers whilst La Bonne Auberge is enjoyed by both hotel guests and the local community.

What is its turnover?


How many employees?


When was it formed?

Chardon was formed by my parents in 1973.

Why did you take the plunge?

I was living in London in 2002, and as a family, we decided that our options at the time were either to sell the business or have myself or my brother get involved day to day, with a view to ultimately taking over. I didn’t want my parents’ hard work to be sold to strangers so decided to move back to Glasgow.

What were you doing before you took the plunge?

Prior to agreeing to come into Chardon in a full-time capacity, I headed up the commercial client team at The Mail on Sunday in London.

How did you raise the start-up funding?

My parents sold our family home as a deposit on their first hotel, The Albany in Edinburgh. We then lived in the hotel….not very exciting when you are four years old and constantly being told to ‘be quiet!’

We sold the Albany in 1976 to focus on La Bonne Auberge, which was then in Beacons Hotel in Glasgow

What was your biggest break?

Probably when we gained the West Nile Street site in 1994, and built the Holiday Inn Theatreland – since then, everything has fallen into place allowing the business to really take off.

What was your worst moment?

Possibly the worst ever time for the business, and for me as a teenager, was in the 1980s when the UK suffered a recession resulting in bank interest rates exceeding 18 per cent. Chardon encountered challenges in managing daily cash flow and meeting increased interest payments which had trebled overnight. Watching my parents struggle through that was extremely difficult. The one key positive from that though was learning from the experience so that in 2008, we were less affected than may otherwise have been the case, thanks to the 1980s experience. At the time of the most recent “credit crunch”, there was a good deal of business on our books, low interest fixed rates with our bank and our borrowings were lower than they may otherwise have been.

What do you most enjoy about running the business?

The people – we have the benefit of being a family owned business operating in the service sector, so our team is extremely close knit - many have been with us for over 15 years.

What do you least enjoy?

Continual red tape that has little value and even more frustrating, adds no value to our business, our guests or our team members

What is your biggest bugbear?

The very small number of guests who don’t treat your hotel like they would their own home or who don’t treat the team members well.

What are your ambitions for the firm?

Ideally, we will be adding another two hotels to our current portfolio. That said, we recognise there are challenges right now including site shortages, an oversupply of Airbnb properties and new hotels continuing to open in areas where I think there simply isn’t enough consumer demand.

What are your top priorities?

To maintain our above industry average staff retention rates.

To keep our market share as high as it’s been over the past 25 years.

To add two new hotels to our portfolio within the next two years.

To improve even more our business’s carbon footprint, which is already one of the best in the industry.

What single thing would most help?

For the pound to be kept low to assist in encouraging more tourists to this country and for interest rates to be kept low to ensure businesses can make their loan payments!

What could the Westminster and/or Scottish governments do that would help?

Abolish property rates and have a tax that everyone contributes too…not the few in hospitality and retail. Currently businesses in these sectors pay VAT at 20% plus Property rates at 7% and now there is talk of adding a Tourist Tax in Scotland….at this rate, it won’t be long before some firms are paying more tax than they earn!

What was the most valuable lesson that you learned?

Quite simply to treat everyone exactly the same, regardless of their creed, colour, gender, politics and seeming “importance”

How do you relax?

All the usual – time with friends and family, but for some valued “me time”, nothing beats swimming.