Restaurateur first, hotelier second. Interview with Paul Milsom

How has the approach adopted by Milsoms Hotels and Restaurants been influenced by the family’s entrepreneurial spirit?

EP speaks to Paul Milsom, Managing Director.

Paul is a third generation restaurateur and hotelier, having taken over the reins from his father Gerald Milsom. Running a family business can bring more pressure than other operations but Paul is focused on getting things right for each five year plan. Gerald Milsom was a true entrepreneur, always looking for the next opportunity and Paul learnt lots from this approach. The core of Milsom Hotels & Restaurants (MH&R) today is an independent collection of hotels and restaurants which financially support each other. This approach, with the 65 years of family experience behind it, enables Paul to be ready for what the future may bring.

Gerald Milsom purchased Le Talbooth situated beside the river Stour as a tea room in the 1950s which was the beginning of the group. In the late 1960s he added to this with Maison Talbooth and established it as a luxury hotel and ten years later The Pier at Harwich primarily a seafood restaurant, was purchased. In 2001 Paul and wife Geraldine opened Milsoms in Dedham, a place to eat, drink and stay.

“This approach, with the 65 years of family experience behind it, enables our business to be ready for what the future may bring.”

The entrepreneurial essence of the Milsom family is highlighted by the work Paul and his wife Geraldine complete together. Paul argues that one of the major changes in the last 20 years has been the increasing importance of design. Paul says, “I am fortunate to have married an interior designer whose great ability includes knowing what works and doesn’t work within our range. We understand how something that looks great on day one must be practical and continue to look great beyond that. If you were to enter any Milsom property you would instantly see and feel a familiar house style. Each is different and unique but with an intertwined thread from the brand.” Design plays a strong role in the Milsom collection and must be considered an important distinction for any independent group.







Is there a secret behind the success of the company? Paul explains “We are different to others because we are restaurateurs first, hoteliers second which means that we worry about filling our restaurants and our rooms fill on the back of those, as opposed to hotels who try to fill their rooms and then their restaurants”, with 65 years of combined family experience, he has the knowledge and know how to run a business the other way around to others…

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