‘A welcoming presence always with a smile and a good word’: Tributes paid to former director and general manager of Bodysgallen Hall and Spa

TRIBUTES have been paid to an accomplished and well regarded hotelier who used to run Bodysgallen Hall and Spa near Llandudno.

Matthew A C Johnson died suddenly after playing golf on Monday, August 2. He was aged 49.

Matthew was director of Hotel Operations for the three Historic House Hotels of the National Trust, as well as general manager at Hartwell House Hotel, Restaurant and Spa in Buckinghamshire.

He had spent most of his 30-year career with this company, starting as assistant manager at Hartwell House and Spa in 1994.

After two years in this position, he was promoted to Hartwell’s companion hotel Bodysgallen Hall & Spa near Llandudno in North Wales, which he successfully ran for 20 years as director and general manager.

During his time at the helm, the hotel was recognised with various industry awards including AA Hotel of the Year for Wales 2012.

Bodysgallen Hall & Spa posted on Facebook on August 6: “Following Jonathan Thompson’s retirement in 2016, Matthew returned to Hartwell House for another five years, where he held the role of director of Hotel Operations for the whole company.

“An accomplished and well regarded hotelier, Matthew was a member of The Master Innholders and of the British Hoteliers’ Association. Throughout his career with Historic House Hotels, Matthew worked with the National Trust, fellow members of the Relais & Châteaux and of the Pride of Britain consortia and established long-lasting relationships and friendships.

“Over the years, Matthew had helped further develop the reputation of Historic House Hotels as luxury hotels with excellent hospitality standards in historic settings, and guests appreciated his professionalism, enthusiasm and caring approach – a welcoming presence always with a smile and a good word.”

Richard Broyd, chairman of Historic House Hotels Ltd, said: “Matthew was respected and well-liked by everyone he met and worked with and was everyone’s friend. He was sympathetic with outstanding ability and he encouraged kindness on a daily basis. In my half century career, my working relationship with Matthew was one of the most fruitful I have enjoyed. I also remember his tremendous sense of humour.

“It is a truly sad day and everyone at Historic House Hotels is filled with sadness. He will be much missed”.

Matthew was described as a strong and inspiring leader, who had the rare ability to spot, nurture and support future talents, sharing with them his passion for the industry.

The statement from Bodysgallen Hall and Spa added: “He was fair in his approach and always available for advice, with an ‘open door’ policy to everyone.

“Over the last five years, Matthew had further developed a strong and professional team at Hartwell.

“Kevin Hughes will now assume the role of acting manager, and together with the support of former director Jonathan Thompson, who has kindly returned temporarily from retirement, will ensure that Matthew’s legacy at Hartwell House will continue and that high standards of hospitality will be upheld.”

North Wales Pioneer | Llandudno