Henley Community Invited to Official Opening of The Relais Henley

The Relais Henley at the Red Lion Hotel was officially opened last week at a celebration evening when new co-owner Grace Leo welcomed guests from the Henley community and those who have helped with the renovation of our town’s iconic hotel.

Guests were invited to take a tour of the hotel including the bedroom where Charles I stayed and were treated to delicious canapés, oysters and champagne.

In her speech Grace said, “We know that this hotel has played such an important role in the town’s history, and we are extremely proud to be part of its present and future.

“Over the past year, I have spent a lot of time getting to know many of you and to discover just how much Henley and its surrounding area has to offer – I want to thank everyone for making us feel so welcome and for the tremendous support that we have received.

“It has certainly been a challenge to acquire a business during 2 Covid lockdowns, and the changes created by Brexit: and then to refurbish a 500-year-old coaching inn from a very deteriorated state in less than 6 months to ensure we opened in time for the Royal Regatta! I admit it was all quite ambitious and some people thought I was crazy, but with your support and a great team – we have done it.”

Grace has spent her entire life and career in hotels and hospitality. She explained, “My father co-owned a hotel in Hong Kong when I was growing up and I have spent 30 years designing, owning and managing hotels in many different countries. I have an affinity for beautiful décor and international travel. And I’m very happy that my journey has brought me here, to open The Relais Henley.”

The Relais Henley team were introduced to the guests and Grace thanked Mark Mosimann for joining us on this journey.  She said, “We are honoured to be the first hotel F&B operation for Mosimann’s of London.”  Grace went on to thank her team behind the renovations which included Nicholas de Klerk and Sze-Wei Lee of Translation Architecture, Monsieur Pascal Allaman, Paris based interior designer, James Ogilvy (landscape designer) Project Managers Drew Vince and Sophie Holmes, Liam Brown (Quantity Surveyor) and to Pure Fitout construction contractors from Northern Ireland.

The evening was hosted in The Palm Court which will be the base for a new private members club that will open in the New Year. Inspired by the 19thC tradition of a cultivated patron holding court in his or her private residence inciting artistic and literary discussions, The Salon (as it is named) will be an invitation-only club. Members will have access to our beautiful co-working space throughout the day, as well as a programme of networking breakfasts, speaker events and social occasions. For more information about The Salon email salon@therelaisretreats.com

The evening ended with guests being invited to join St Mary’s Church Choir sing some Christmas carols.

Grace invites residents to celebrate the festive season at the hotel, She said, “We look forward to celebrating the festive season – please do come in and enjoy our festive menus at The Clipper Restaurant or join us for a celebratory drink at The Quarterdeck Bar.”

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