How I Got Here: Lawrence Huggler

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

How I Got Here: Lawrence Huggler

Related tags: Fine dining restaurant, Jersey, Lawrence Huggler, Restaurant, Hotel

Lawrence Huggler owns the Jersey-based Huggler Hotels. His portfolio includes The Club Hotel & Spa in St. Helier, which is home to the Michelin-starred Bohemia restaurant.

Why restaurants?
I moved back to Jersey from London and found a real lack of high-end restaurant and late night bars. So Bohemia was born to fill the gap and we have held a Michelin Star for 16 years and the bar has been popular with the pre and after dinner crowd ever since.

Tell us something you wish you had been told at the start of your career?
I was lucky to be told right when we were recruiting for Bohemia, day one, in hospitality hire for personality because you can train skills. It was the best advice I have ever been given and I stick to it to this day.

What’s your favourite restaurant or group of restaurants (besides your own)?
For food it would have to be Oaxen Krog in Stockholm; for atmosphere it's Costes in Paris.

What time do you wake up?
6.30am.

Coffee or tea?
A slice of lemon in water.

How often do you check your email?
Too often!

What motivates you?
Delighting customers.

What keeps you up at night?
The crazy over the top reaction to Covid by the Government, which has ruined our industry and millions of jobs.

Which colleague, mentor or employer has had the biggest influence on your approach to the restaurant business?
Working with three top chefs, Shaun Rankin, Steve Smith and Callum Graham over the 16 years Bohemia has held its Michelin star. When you are lucky enough to work with people so passionate and dedicated to what they do it rubs off on all those around them and inspires them.

What has been your best business decision?
Buying and relaunching Lanique – Spirit of Rose, a 200 year old spirit that is one of the fastest growing spirits in the UK at present.

And the worst?
Not buying a freehold pub in Chelsea in 2000 or selling the majority of feelunique.com to a private equity company.

How do you let off steam?
In the summer, sea swimming - we are so luck living in Jersey. Then in the winter, dinner or lunch with friends.

Do you prefer a night on the tiles or a night on the sofa?
A night with a cigar at home and the odd night out enjoying a few Lanique drinks, of course.

What's your favourite holiday destination?
Skiing anywhere.

What piece of advice would you give to those looking to climb the rungs in the business?
Be passionate, it’s not always just about the numbers (but they are important).

If you could change one thing about the restaurant industry today, what would it be?
Less government regulation. Every new rule and law and there are so many of them makes it hard for start-ups and independents where all the innovation is. Instead it just plays into the hands of the big faceless groups that have offices of people who just fill out forms and tick boxes to comply with all the mad new rules government keep creating.

Born in Jersey, Lawrence Huggler originally set his sights on becoming a professional racing driver, and dropped out of university in order to do just that. But the dream was short lived and, in Huggler’s own words, he ‘had to get a real job’. In 2001 he set up the Huggler Group, which operates a number of hotels in Jersey including the Apollo and The Club Hotel & Spa, both found in St. Helier. He has also been director of online cosmetics shop feelunique.com since 2006; and director of the Lanique Spirit of Rose liquor spirit since 2013.

Related topics: Restaurant, People, Profiles

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