In this edition of How We Started we meet one of UltraVilla’s directors, Andrew Loyd. We travel back to 1999 to hear how he and Jonathan Townsend Rose founded Loyd & Townsend Rose and persevered through some initial challenges to cultivate one of the finest portfolios of castles, manor homes and estates in England, Scotland and Ireland.
“Returning to Scotland in 1999 after a decade in the States and no clear idea of what he was going to do with himself, Andrew Loyd was extremely fortunate to bump into Jonathan Townsend Rose who for some time had been managing a number of famous estates in the highlands of Scotland. Jonathan had spotted the necessity for some of these homes to generate additional income for their upkeep and suggested that he and Andrew join forces to do exclusive use rentals. Neither had worked in the travel industry before and the learning curve was extremely steep, especially for Andrew after so many years in the rather sheltered world of running estates for some prominent families in the U.S.
“It’s often said that if people knew the hard work and heartache involved in setting up a company that they would never bother and Loyd & Townsend Rose (LTR) certainly had a very rocky start, both with the fast changing face of the internet world, our inexperience of the travel industry and the explosion of world events that worked against us. The horrors of 9/11, foot & mouth disease, Sars and various financial jitters, meant that the company took a long time to finds its feet, however, it did allow us to fine tune our portfolio of houses and castles in addition to spending a lot of time in the States and getting to know a myriad of top travel companies. We also attended many travel trade shows and did numerous press trips to generate interest in our company and the LTR portfolio.
“Over the years LTR has spread its wings and now works with around 50 houses & castles throughout England, Scotland and Ireland. The homes vary in architectural styles and encompass everything from very contemporary lodges in the middle of nowhere to ancestral homes that are rich in history or glorious manor houses which are incredibly comfortable and very handy for major cities. Whatever our clients are seeking, we can source providing the budget is there, as LTR only works with the best of the best. This is combined with a full concierge service, 15 years of knowledge plus a professional lifetime of looking after high-end travellers. Jonathan also has a huge knowledge of Scotland & Ireland and many of the more remote spots, which are truly off the beaten path.
“Happily since we started there has been a sea of change in social attitudes from where many owners wouldn’t dream of renting out any of their homes to now where they consider either their principal residence or their holiday homes fair game for the odd exclusive use rental. All our estates come fully staffed and are rented as if in the owner is in residence in terms of contents. It is important to note that we let ‘homes’ and not ‘rental properties’ and this is the unique selling proposition that has allowed LTR to attract many of the world’s top families to their portfolio of houses and castles.
“We are a small, boutique company and we look after a limited number of clients each year but those clients receive a very special welcome on arrival and a very personal level of service throughout their stay. We are perhaps uniquely qualified to offer this level of personal attention in the UK and the client testimonies speak for themselves. We are a great believer in ‘building memories’.”