King Arthur Hotel

Origins

The pub was in a state of serious dilapidation with literally only a handful of customers when taken over in 1991. The initial challenge was to clean and renovate the pub and turn it from run-down to thriving business. After investing in a major re-fit, the King Arthur began to build up its clientele, at first from the local villagers and Gower inhabitants. As word began to spread of the changes other groups began to return because this is a pub that can accommodate groups of bikers, groups of hikers, vintage car owners, tour buses, holidays-makers, all sorts of visitors and have them blend in with the local population almost seamlessly. Achieving this took painstaking re-building work both in the physical refurbishment and in establishing the King Arthur’s reputation as a special venue. Substantial investments of money, time and hard work were necessary, and as the business has developed, the pub has become a vibrant part of village and holiday life, a focal point for visitors and locals alike.

Success Factor

The pub/small hotel operation was becoming well established by the mid-1990s as a warm, welcoming, comfortable and reasonably priced venue. However, its recent growth is as a direct result of at least three factors. The first is completion of the function room, Avalon. With its glorious French oak and Welsh slate combination, Avalon has increased not just demand for the hotel as a venue for weddings but for other functions too. Customer numbers in the pub and its existing restaurant have also risen, as those who discovered the King Arthur as wedding guests, return again and again to visit a favourite location. The hotel now has additional accommodation, with twelve new en-suite bedrooms were built alongside the function room and an old cottage in the grounds renovated to offer a self-catering alternative; they have been essential in meeting the extra demand for accommodation. These rooms, as is the function room, are to the rear of the hotel, and now look out over beautifully landscaped gardens, complete with lake, lawns and indigenous trees and shrubbery. Finally, the setting, at the heart of Gower, is a major attraction but so is the pricing structure at the pub and hotel where very good fare is available at very competitive costs. Costs reflect the market sector in which the King Arthur seeks to develop its customer base. One of the business’s great strengths is that it not only appeals across that sector and beyond into the upper reaches of the market, but that it does so without pretension.

The Future

Since completion of the building project in the summer of 2003 business turnover has grown rapidly. This has required a detailed management of change within the business. New systems had to be put in place in order to cope with the increased demand on all sections of the business, including a restructuring of the staff team. Thus, at the present moment, the King Arthur needs a period of consolidation. For the immediate to medium-term future, the plan is to continue to manage the change of scale of the business, whilst maintaining the highest standards of service and securing the newly expanded customer base. The nature of the business’s structure will have to change again in the near future to reflect the greater turnover and the associated growth of business, as projections show continued growth in the medium term. Longer-term, with a greater reputation and an expected growth in customer numbers, there are plans to meet the need for more accommodation and to continue to develop services both in quantity but especially in quality.