15th Anniversary at the Duke for Walter and Jonathan!
Wednesday 7th December marks a special date in the diary at the Duke of Cornwall Hotel. 15 years ago Walter Combstock and Jonathan Morcom became owners of the historic building in the heart of Plymouth.
Back in 2001 they started with a team of four Directors. One very quickly decided it wasn’t right for him and tragically in 2008 Sales and Marketing Director Liam Smith died in a car accident. Walter and Jon have been through so much on both a personal and professional level in the last 15 years, but their pride and love of the Duke has never changed.
“Originally it was a unique opportunity, I never dreamt that I would have the chance to own the hotel, working here was enough for me. I was always proud to work here, I did seven days a week, it was a passion and never about financial reward.
Even today walking through the revolving doors it gives me the same feeling as it did when I as 17 years old, a sense of pride.
Managing the hotel is an honour, it allows us to do what we think is best, we bring back original features that have been boarded up or modernised, bringing it back to its former glory is always the goal. Of course we have to take it to the next level due to technology and what people want and expect, every customer must receive the same first class service that the hotel has delivered since day one.
It’s been quite a journey over the years, many challenges, highs and lows, but my relationship with Jon has made a difference. As business partners I think we are unique, I was so close to Jon as he was growing up and we grew and developed together, I pushed him through college and got him his first dinner suit at 17 years old to manage his first official function at the hotel. We’re family and I think the world of him.
The Duke means so much to me, I have been here every Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve and I’d never be anywhere else!”
Director, Jonathan Morcom added:
“It was always my ambition to be GM at the hotel, I too never expected to own I, it was never on the agenda. I feel overwhelmed that we are 15 years down the line, we are proud of the product, we have moved forward in so many ways, not just with the building, but with structure of the team, the finances and also our place in Plymouth, in both the business world and the wider community.
We work closely with City College investing in the next generation, I take pride in Chairing Conference Plymouth and I am a Director of the Plymouth Waterfront Partnership, as a business we want to help shape the future of the city. We are proud to be part of the Make a Difference for Mayflower 400 campaign and see Mayflower 400 as a huge opportunity for Plymouth to showcase our great offer. For us 2020 could and should be the start of an exciting new chapter. The Duke has stood for 153 years, she has been part of the city’s history and played a role in some incredible stories from Shackleton’s departure to the Titanic survivor’s first bed on dry land. In the next 150 years we want our time as custodians to have played a significant role for the hotel and the wider city.”
Looking back, 15 years has seen the hotel go through major refurbishment, they have hosted the most spectacular weddings, beautiful black tie balls, many meetings, countless conferences, and several thousand coffees have been consumed!
Walter and Jonathan could not have achieved this on their own and are proud of their team that have worked with them over the years. One of the key members and the first person to be promoted under the new owners was Peter Adams, Operations Manager.
On talking about his experience over the years Pete added:
“It has been, and will remain, to be a privilege to work with Wally and Jon. Through the years we’ve seen many changes and I’m confident that, as the strong team we are, we’ll see many more successes and exciting developments in the years to come.”
Walter and Jonathan cannot emphasis enough what a privilege it is to be involved with such an iconic building.
On behalf of everyone we would like to thank Walter and Jon for their love of the Duke and continuing to invest in the building and making it the landmark it is today. Here’s to the next 15!