Serena von der Heyde,
Owner, Georgian House Hotel
At 19, Serena inherited the Georgian House Hotel, a 2-star B&B with six staff. The hotel, originally built as a private house in 1851 by her great-great grandfather William Chinnery Mitchell, became her passion and over time has been lovingly transformed into a 4-star boutique hotel with 63 rooms.
Since graduating from the University of North London in 1989 with a BSc in Institutional Management, she threw herself into the smooth running and expansion of the hotel. In 2004, she was selected as a British Hospitality Association committee member, to represent the hospitality businesses in the Pimlico area and hotel sector.
In 2007, Serena joined the Business Growth Programme at Cranfield University, an internationally recognised development programme to help owners grow their businesses. In 2014 she set up the SW1 Hospitality Forum, bringing local Victoria hoteliers together to share experiences and promote Victoria as an area itself and represent local views on the BHA London Committee. The same year she won a Master Innholder Scholarship to complete the General Manager’s Program at Cornell University.
Serena is incredibly focused on ensuring her 40 staff are equally motivated and engaged in providing the high levels of customer satisfaction that her guests continually rave about. Championing staff development, she not only engages apprentices, employs undergraduate interns and offers NVQs but has even implemented a happiness programme.
Serena is a strong believer that diverse leadership teams make increased profits and better business. She has frequently spoken on the subject of diversity, including a TEDx talk at Surrey University.
Serena’s commitment to her prestigious family business is undeniable. Keen to ensure the hotel stays modern and fresh, she has implemented a continual programme of revamping rooms, staff development and new initiatives, such as the immensely popular and world famous themed Wizard Chambers.