By James Wells in Pokolbin
Peppers Retreats, Resorts and Hotels celebrated its 25th anniversary last night (Oct 26) with a cocktail party at the Peppers Guest House in the Hunter Valley, celebrating the vision of original owners Mike and Suzi O’Connor.
Where it all started 25 years ago: Peppers Guest House
“Twenty five years ago, a luxury holiday usually meant spending a week at a big international hotel, with the formality of traditional hotel systems,” Mantra Group CEO Bob East told SpiceNews.
“Peppers changed this holiday mentality when it opened Peppers Guest House and consequently redefined the top-end Australian holiday market.
“The Peppers concept was a big risk at the time, as the short-break holiday market was still in its infancy. But a combination of personalised approach to service, luxurious surroundings and a focus on quality holiday experiences such as food, wine and spa encounters paved the way for the redefinition of an Australian holiday escape.
“There are not too many organisations that can boast the longevity. We haven’t tried to roll through systems and standards – their standards are to have something unique to the area,” he said.
Peppers Retreats, Resorts and Hotels group general manager Tomas Jonsson added: “I can’t think of another brand I want to be associated with. I am very excited to be part of the story.
“Peppers is a brand built on entrepreneurial spirit. Mike and Suzi’s vision was to create anything but a hotel – it was like attending a friend’s house,” he said.
The current owner and general manager of Peppers Guest House, Peter Harman, started as an employee in 1997 and relocated from Sydney and took over the business in 2005.
“This crystallises what the Peppers brand represents,” Harman said. “At the time, no one was game to put a guest house in the vineyards and over the years it has done a lot to bring the community together.”
In the audience were four generations of chefs from the property, former managers, housekeeps, wine suppliers and a special presentation was made to Joy Guy for her 25 years of outstanding service to the business.
Currently living in a stone villa in an ancient town called Soller in Mallorca, Spain, the O’Connors were unable to attend last night’s celebration.
Representing the original owners, however, was Jeremy O’Connor, who was born just months before the opening of the Guest House which continues to operate on the philosophy of “as good as the last meal served and the last guest farewelled”.