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Chic Spotlight
Beachspoke, Cornwall UK
A selection of idyllic beach side getaways

Property: Beachspoke

Owner: Ben Shearer

Why I bought and manage the property:

Like many, I fell into it by accident. I already rented out and owned properties in Greece, but always had a great interest in Cornwall, particularly the St. Ives area. I owned property there for over twenty-five years, and always shared them with family and friends before deciding to start sharing the wonderful properties with guests. I started with two properties – ‘Blue Moon’ and ‘Black Moon’, and started out designing, building and owning the properties. Now I’ve moved on to designing and building, but not necessarily owning the properties. Sometimes I will take on other properties that fit the criteria and theme of my existing properties. I now have a portfolio of seven properties with an eighth on the way. I plan to have twelve by the end of 2017. We’ve grown from a focus of St. Ives to other parts of Cornwall and the Cotswolds.

Why my property is Chic?

Like all Chic properties, my properties are design-led, bespoke, unique and not easily repeated. I like to think of them as edgy but still very smart and luxurious. My largest property has beds for four, but most only sleep one or two, because the idea of Beachspoke Properties is to provide a little retreat, a get-away to escape to for a few days.

Why do you choose to partner with Chic Retreats?

I choose partners based on getting the right guests. I only work with partners that work the same way I do and attract high-quality guests that appreciate my properties and their high-end finishes. I came to Chic Retreats when I met Lulu, the founder.

Where are your guests from?

My guests are mostly from the UK.

How long have you been with Chic Retreats?

Beachspoke Properties have been with Chic Retreats since 2012.

Chic Spotlight
Riad El Mezouar, Marrakech, Morocco
The hidden gem in the heart of Marrakech that’s now the talk of the town

Property: Riad El Mezouar, Medina Morocco

Owner: Romaine Lancaster

Why I bought and manage the property:

I was previously a BBC freelance journalist/ film producer specialising in Islamic cultures so I would report from many countries in the Middle East. I had stayed in this one perfect Riad that inspired me to change careers to hosting international guests instead of being one. In 2014 I sold my London flat and bought this Riad after researching in the FT that Morocco tourism was booming, and obviously also checking the weather!

Why my property is Chic?

I offer one of the most welcoming and central Riad’s in Morocco full of fresh flowers and hidden corners. It’s spacious and includes a gorgeous fireplace. I’m always on hand to help guests personalise their stay. My cook is also amazing offering British food with a twist and complementary afternoon tea to guests, who tend to eat with us for the 3 course dinner and fresh salad lunches the majority of the time. Guests also appreciate the silence of the Riad and the individual styled rooms. The Riad was a finalist with Conde Nast last year so I’m very proud.

Why do you choose to partner with Chic Retreats?

We all want guests. I do have my own network but its not sufficient to drive the occupancy rate I want. I need someone else to represent my property to drive guests. I use the Chic Retreats marketplace platform to manage all my inventory and pricing to ensure no double bookings. I have found their connection to Booking.com drives a significant amount of my guests. Chic Retreats promote my property across their channels and others including Meta Channels. I do also use one other marketplace to send me guests but that’s it, quite simple to manage. I like that I know the friendly Chic Retreats team. I find I can call Chic Retreats at any time and they respond with enthusiasm and sort out issues after 10 mins. With Booking.com I can spend half a day trying to sort out an issue.

Where are your guests from?

50% UK, 20% Europe, 10% USA, 20% ROW. 30% come via my network, 5% via another channel, the rest via the Chic Retreats Marketplace including Booking.com

How long have you been with Chic Retreats?

Two years – since I bought the Riad.

I recommend Chic Retreats for smaller boutique properties like mine as it’s a simple way to increase guests and manage my inventory in one place. I’m very happy with the personal service from the friendly team. I’m always keen to be the first to benefit from their innovations as they extend their services, and I’m not that preoccupied about their being in their book I believe more in use of digital marketing to promote my property.

Chic Spotlight
La Cuccagna, Umbria, Italy
An Italian hilltop getaway drawing global attention

Property: La Cuccagna

Owner: Sarah Marano

Why I bought and manage the property:

I am English and my husband is Italian – we met in England. We love to travel and going off the beaten track, immersing ourselves in local culture and discovering hidden gems. When we came back from travelling, we didn’t want to go back to the rat race, so we decided to buy and run La Cuccagna, to offer to guests the hospitality we received during our own travels. Many guests comment about how our hotel is like a home away from home. We offer a genuine authentic Italian experience for our guests, real local hospitality and a personalised service.

Why my property is Chic?

I believe our hotel is small, different, unique and personal. The hotel sits on a hill, with the pool and house right on the edge. It offers amazing views of Umbria, with traditional Umbrian style decor, earthy, but with smart furnishings. We aim for luxurious but understated comfort.

Why do you choose to partner with Chic Retreats?

We stumbled across and loved the Chic Retreats site. We recognised other similar hotels from the area and knew it would be a good fit. We called and spoke to Lulu directly. She understood that we were very small with only 6 rooms, seasonal and not open all year round, so we needed a partner that understood and could assist in drawing the customers we wanted, when we wanted. Even though we may be smaller than some of the other hotels on the site, the service is amazing, We are very happy with the type of guests that come from Chic Retreats.

Where are your guests from?

Our guest come mostly from the UK, followed by USA, Australia, Canada, Belgium then the Netherlands.

How long have you been with Chic Retreats?

We are very happy with Chic Retreats and would refer them to any similar hotel.