IT’S tough staying on top in the hospitality industry with customers becoming more and more demanding.
But Michael Riley, owner and chef of St Anns House in Salisbury, seems to have found a winning formula.
His bed and breakfast establishment and fine dining restaurant have attracted a lot of comment - and not just from the customers who notice his decision to omit the apostrophe in Anns.
The accommodation is praised by the AA and Michelin guides and has just been named the Lonely Planet editor’s top choice for Salisbury for a second year running.
Now, it has gained the top ranking for Salisbury from Frommer’s - the travel guide popular with Americans.
St Anns House, a Georgian town house in St Ann Street with eight letting bedrooms, has been open for four-and-a-half years.
It has four AA stars and is listed by the group in its top 300 venues.
The Michelin Guide recognises the establishment’s consistently high standard of food and hospitality.
Last week, the accolade from Frommer’s was added.
Mr Riley, who has three staff, has been head chef at a number of top hotels and worked as a private chef for a former American ambassador and Lord (Andrew) Lloyd Webber.
“Being a chef has always been my passion - I started cooking when I was 15 and I’m 53 now,”
said Mr Riley, who also creates bespoke private family or corporate dinners for up to 16 people in his restaurant.
He said being listed in national and international guides was very satisfying. “The AA and Michelin guides are so important, as they are the professional benchmarks,”
“We get so many customers from Australia and Asia, Europe and America because of them. And for business and professional people who travel, they set a professional standard.
“The rankings help us with our marketing and give us confidence that what we are doing is going in the right direction.”
Mr Riley said the business has built up a loyal clientele from QinetiQ Boscombe Down, Porton Down and Friends Life, with staff coming to the area for meetings and conferences, and longer term for courses and contracts.
“There is a business market around Salisbury of professionals who want to stay somewhere benchmarked by a professional body,” he said.