Rex Rozario’s Next Big Thing, Part 2


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Matties: Well, it’s interesting, because you mentioned the type of investment. Because there are investments that you make, Rex, and it’s out of sight. This is a place where you can come in and enjoy your investment.

Rozario: Oh definitely, and people can see what’s happening. You can bring them and have a drink and talk about business. You can’t go to a radio station for that, because they'll say, "What are you doing here? There's a microphone," and whatever.

As Michael said, we have confidence in him. He is knowledgeable about what was going on here. It was incredible. Every room he took us to, he knew exactly what was going to happen. "We’re going to take that little bit off; we’re going to put this here." Of course, this was a huge project, and he had vision. Many times we were going home, and I said, "That’s incredible. He knows everything about what’s going to happen."

Lympstone_Manor_2_May_17_727.jpgMatties: That’s the way to do it. Someone has to know how.

Caines: It’s funny, though, some people don’t. Then they wonder why things aren’t right, and then you come in too late. Of course, it’s very expensive to put things right retrospectively. Whereas if you've looked at the detail and you realize, "Why on Earth is that there? You wouldn’t normally do that."

But you can’t be bothered to look at and study the plans, and understand everything. That’s not always easy for people to do. Some people are good at mathmatics. Other people are great at English. Not many people are good at reading maps or designs. Seeing something on a plan is one thing, but having imagination…

Rozario: They’ve got to have the vision to make it happen.

Caines: Yes, and that’s hard. I think the other thing that’s nice is that people make money in different ways, and they make investments for different reasons. I also think that as we sit around the table, we’ve all enjoyed the journey. It’s been very satisfying and enjoyable to see something like this happen. It doesn’t happen very often. I mean, the last person that did this was Raymond Blanc, with Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons. It’s a beautiful hotel.

When he did it, he started in a similar vein. He did an old country house hotel in Summertown, Oxford. It's an amazing hotel, but that was 34 years ago, and nobody’s done what we’ve done since. It's a real undertaking, sure. It’s a massive and almost audacious challenge. However, I think we could all now, collectively, be very proud of our achievements. I know that I stand in front leading the charge, but that’s easy to equally forget that when we started, it was just a dream. The reality is the faith, and goodwill, and also support you’ve got from your investors. Tough decisions.

Berryhead_1_(13).jpgThey believe in you. You believe in yourself. If you doubt yourself, and you turn to people with experience and knowledge and they give you your support and trust, it makes you more determined to achieve. If you have doubt and you go and there's a lot of negativity, you start to doubt yourself even more. Even though there are times where I looked at it and thought, just like them, "We’ll never get it finished." But I never let myself think like that. Because if I started to not believe it, and if anyone else was looking to me... You have to have that someone to have that, not blind faith, but that drive to get across the line.

Matties: The commitment to get there.

Caines: Yes, and I know lots of people who say, "Right, come on." We walk around the site, and they’re looking and they're thinking and Tony’s ringing me up and I have to say, "No, I think we’ve gone backwards." I say, "I know, but no, we haven't." This time last year, it was a very different story, but I knew, and as they say, I had the detail and I could see the progress. I had the knowledge of the program, and we knew where our critical points and problems were. Some of it was out of our control.

There was a fire, and we lost some of our windows. Fortunately, the roof wasn’t finished, and we had the driest year ever last year. We had some luck along the way, but we had a plan. That’s the key thing. We had a plan and we stuck to it. Even though the project areas slipped and we were challenged, we didn’t suddenly start changing the plan because we were pressured. We didn’t start changing.

Matties: You can’t overreact.

Caines: No, you can’t.

Matties: It’s always small adjustments, rather than big overreactions.

Rozario: Now, at the end, I think it was like mission impossible. Even the last few weeks we came here, the weather and the conditions were terrible. It rained all over. The glass, everything was waiting to go in, but nothing’s happened. In the first few weeks they discovered a well, which wasn’t in the plan. It was a very deep well.

Caines: It was 18 meters. The thing that struck me was the water in the well was deeper than the water in the basement. We were like, "Where’s the water in the basement coming from?" "Oh my God, what's going on in the basement?" We thought, "Where is this water coming from?" Then we found a water tank, and then we found this, and yeah, it was challenging. But we laugh about it.

Matties: Yeah, of course. It’s part of the story.

Caines: We had a few laughs along the way.

Matties: Yeah, that’s quite a journey. You’ve been open now for three months, and where do you go from here?

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