Leon spent three years studying Hotel Management – some of this time in France. His Chef’s training included seven months in a Michelin starred restaurant in Arbois.
Diploma in hand, he returned to London to work in a large kitchen but soon moved on to broader hotel responsibilities including time as the Hotel Duty Manager in a large London hotel. Later on Leon took an internal customer service role covering client reception, conference and other meeting support in several of Accenture’s London offices.
Amanda trained as a ‘Norland Nanny’ and after receiving her diploma, and with this background, worked in the London area as a nanny and also as a pre-school teacher. After a number of years she left this field and started working in the reception/meeting support area; first in Hewitt’s English headquarters in St. Albans and then for Accenture in London… where she met Leon!
Later, as a couple, we explored B & B opportunities in the UK but didn’t find one that made personal and business sense.
By this time, Amanda’s brother and mother were living in the USA, so we had visited and vacationed in the States a number of times. We decided to see if there might be an opportunity to do the B & B, or small hotel, in the U.S.
We liked the Lake Geneva area, its beauty and reputation as a prime close-by holiday spot for the Chicago/Milwaukee market.
Mum had done some scouting before our visit in late 2005 and had discovered a 1950’s motel for sale, with several separate buildings, close to downtown Lake Geneva. When we first saw the property, it was obvious it would take a ‘lot of work’ – a complete redoing; but, we loved the two acre site with its large trees and open spaces – room to play and room to grow.
After purchasing the property and securing visas, we ran the property ‘as is’ through Labor Day, 2006, while developing plans for the new all-suite format. We explored several names including Sevenoaks; an old town in Kent, England, where Amanda’s grandparents had lived in the 30’s and 40’s. When we counted and found that there were seven mature oaks on the property, the name was set. It was to be SevenOaks.
Our Inspiration for our Suites
Our nine suites are not numbered but named after favorite locations in England. The seven one-bedroom suites have the same furniture and amenities and the furnishings of the two-bedroom suites are quite similar.
The places after which the suites are named have some meaning to us as a couple and would be places we would recommend visiting should you be in England.
The Royal horse racing festival is held once a year in this part of Berkshire. The Ascot racing festival is an excuse for the ladies to buy a new hat and the gentleman to wear a very British morning suit – that is if you are in the Royal Enclosure!
A university city, Cambridge is steeped in scholastic and literary history; home to the American Military Cemetery www.abmc.gov/ca.htm. The Kings College Chapel is famous for its architecture and its choir. Many castles and cathedrals are close by including Framlingham Castle and Ely cathedral.
Made famous by Chaucer in his novel “Canterbury Tales”. A town dominated by the Norman cathedral which attracts many visitors each year, just like in medieval times when visitors made the pilgrimage to see the shrine of Thomas Beckett, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was murdered in his cathedral.
Another great British institution! Henley on Thames, home to the Henley Royal Regatta, held once a year for a week, lots of boat races, champagne and good food. Again, a good excuse for the ladies to buy a new hat and the gentlemen to put on a blazer and tie, Stewards Enclosure is the place to be here!
Also Oxford, The City of Dreaming Spires, is famous the world over for its University and place in history. For over 800 years it has been home to royalty and scholars and since the 9th century, an established town, although people are known to have lived in the area for thousands of years.
The most personal of name choices for us, this is the city where we lived before moving to Lake Geneva. This is an old Roman town dating from the first century AD. Visitors especially enjoy tours of the large Abbey which has been added to many times since its original construction began about 1050 AD.
This is an area we know quite well. It was four years ago we looked at purchasing a B&B in the cute village of Ambleside. Windermere is the largest lake in the UK, one of the lakes that make up the Lake District – a prime vacation spot that has some similarities to Lake Geneva!
Royal town in the County of Berkshire, home to one of the Queen’s residences, Windsor Castle, which sits prominently at the highest point of the town. Windsor is also home to Legoland UK.
A London suburb known world-wide for hosting the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament – the only one of the four Grand Slam events played on grass. Wimbledon, with Ascot and Henley ‘kick off’ the summer social season in England.