Published: 06:00, 10 May 2021
| Updated: 16:29, 10 May 2021
A mum-of-two who left school at 15 has taken over a 16th century coaching inn and 12 acres of grounds and is relaunching it next month after a multimillion-pound investment.
Emma Cloude from Sittingbourne is the sole director of the company which bought the Grade II-listed Haycock Manor hotel in Wansford, Cambridgeshire. It reopens to the public on June 22 with 49 refurbished bedrooms alongside two restaurants, a bar, lounge and ballroom.
A second phase will add a cookery school and a farm shop in August. A luxury spa and riverside glamping will follow next year. The property had been on the market for £1.4m.
Emma, 35, from Bell Road, had plans to turn Sittingbourne's New Century cinema into a nightclub but was turned down by Swale council.
In 2011 she opened her own. Big Brother's Nasty Nick and The Only Way is Essex star Mark Wright launched '26' next to the Tap 'n' Tin in Railway Street, Chatham. It boasted two dance floors, a cocktail bar and VIP lounge.
She said at the time: "There are so many places in Medway but none is a nice, exclusive type of club. This will provide the standard we all deserve. It has been designed to the highest specification usually only found in London clubs."
She obviously has good tastes. She has convinced chef Lee Clarke to move his fine-dining restaurant Prevost from Peterborough to her new venture on the River Nene where he will also oversee the less formal Haycock Kitchen.
The inn dates back to 1534. General manager Tom Wortley said: "The Haycock has a proud history of welcoming guests for more than 450 years but the experience we are creating now combines that wonderful history with luxury finishes and the latest smart technology."
A one-night stay starts at £226 B&B based on two sharing.
Busy Emma, married with two boys, has many other businesses to her name including a boat management company and a property investment firm.
She also runs Cloude Crystal Cream which makes and sells vegan face cream. She said: "We donate a large proportion of our profits to homeless charity Porchlight. It is obviously a much smaller business than my others but it is my favourite as we are giving back to a charity which does so much for Kent."
She said: "I dropped out of school at 15 and had numerous jobs until I settled down working at Lloyds bank for 10 years.
"But I did other things on the side, like the nightclubs, which made me realise I didn't want to be stuck in a nine-to-five job. Besides, I didn't have any qualifications to get any further in the bank anyway!
"I wanted to better my life so I took a risk to leave nearly five years ago and became self-employed. I became my own boss so I could pick and choose when I worked and have control over my income.
"It was the best choice I ever made. I have never looked back."
Read more about Haycock Manor.