Bunhill: Home-maker in the heart of Sloaneland

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The Independent Online
ENTER London's newest hotelier: Sue Gregory of The Draycott, which she bought from the liquidator on Friday. Ms Gregory was no newcomer to the hotel; she had been managing it for the past three years, ensuring that it remained open even after the parent company went under in February.

Moreover, The Draycott is no ordinary hotel. Legally, it's a club, which helps Ms Gregory to sift potential customers. For The Draycott is a town-house hotel, one of the 20 or so small establishments in London that provide the atmosphere of home for well- heeled customers from around the world. They are usually those who are tired of the glitz of bigger and more pretentious establishments and are looking for hotels where they won't be gawped at or troubled by lesser breeds.

Such hotels have to be in the right place - The Draycott is in the heart of Sloaneland just behind Peter Jones - and they have to have sympathetic staff, which is where Ms Gregory fits in. Indeed, she contrives to run the hotel while singlehandedly looking after four small boys, including triplets.

And how did Ms Gregory get the money to buy the hotel? She simply looks demure and says that many of the hotel's regular clients were very supportive and prepared to invest to ensure that their home-from-home remained open. Their names are, however, secret - although one of my colleagues was once allowed in to interview Dennis Levine, formerly of Wall Street and one of the famous open prisons lovingly known as Club Fed.

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