Case Study: The Headland

The Headland is an iconic building set on an exclusive clifftop overlooking the infamous Fistral beach.  The property has been run as a hotel from this north coast promontory for over a century.  After opening in June 1900 the hotel was the height of luxury for the time with hot and cold running water and electric lights, but shortly after the Second World War miserly owners and post-war shortages caused serious problems and left a cold, creaking hotel. 

The current owners John and Carolyn Armstrong took over in 1979 and have resurrected the hotel from the brink.  Over four decades, this labour of love with improvements and repairs to the tune of £30 million plus has transformed the hotel from a wreck to a multi-award winning hotel.  The Headland now boasts 95 five-star bedrooms, state-of the-art gym, five bubble awarded luxury spa, unique holiday cottages and a choice of AA rosette dining.  The family has also secured Grade II listed status on the building, helping to secure its architectural beauty for generations to come.

The Headland recently became one of the first in the region to gain five stars in an independent assessment by Quality in Tourism.  The Headland team, led by Darryl Reburn, managing director have been working towards securing the accolade to showcase the hotel in its best light.

Darryl says “We have a strong belief as a business that it’s important for our guests to fully appreciate the experience that they can expect upon arrival at The Headland.  It is equally important for our team to be recognised for the hard work and dedication that they show every single day and how their contribution makes everything we do and stand for possible.”

The Headland team were introduced to Quality in Tourism through Head of Visit Cornwall, Malcolm Bell.  Malcolm explained how the new schemes that Quality in Tourism had created were based on delivering and meeting customer experiences and lesser focus on the facilities.

“The Quality in Tourism scheme offers a healthy, dynamic model for us to compare ourselves against.  The assessment and the criteria reflected who we are, an independent, family run hotel in Cornwall not a corporate or high-end hotel on Park Lane.  This was fundamental in our thought process.” Darryl continues.

Darryl believes that the five-star grading from Quality in Tourism has enabled them to promote the hotel in a way that is fitting for such an iconic Cornish hotel, allowing them to be more transparent with their rates and services which has also helped them compete on a far more even playing field online. 



Darryl says, “There is a mutual respect between us and Quality in Tourism; them for our product and us for their framework.  They are highly responsive, transparent, dynamic and current in their thinking.  They have helped us to recognise and reflect whilst being more conscious of the market segments that are fitting to our business model and to deliver accordingly.  This has been really apparent where the balance of events and leisure sectors are concerned and we have adjusted that balance as a result.”

When talking about the partnership, Darryl concludes, “It has made for a welcome and fresh contribution to our property and the wider industry in an otherwise somewhat closed and otherwise somewhat monopolised environment. This will surely enable businesses to achieve their aspirations and goals for a win win outcome – as a provider and from a guest perspective.”


previous next