UKFast boss in Swiss ski resort swoop

INTERNET entrepreneur Lawrence Jones has added a new string to his bow after buying an exclusive Swiss ski resort.

Mr Jones, owner and chief executive of Manchester company UKFast is investing £15m to buy and refurbish Le Farinet in Verbier. The hotel is well know on the celebrity circuit as one of the best après ski locations in Europe. Visitors have included U2’s frontman Bono and members of the Royal Family.

While the deal may be seen by some as non-core to UKFast’s web hosting and cloud computing operations, Mr Jones says it makes sense as he frequently takes members of the team to Verbier already.

He explains: “We understand the importance of investing in our team. Each year, we fly more and more top performers from UKFast over to Verbier to give them a different environment to train and learn in. With the company growing so quickly, flying team members over there was becoming cost prohibitive.

“A few years ago we acquired a hotel in Snowdonia, North Wales and since then we’ve had every person from the company through the doors of our Castell Cidwm lake house. It’s become a key part of our induction process and an invaluable place for team events throughout the year. It was clear that it was time to expand this concept. I see Le Farinet performing a similar role for UKFast, whilst continuing to be one of the world’s top apres ski bars.”

The hotel was previosuly owned by London company Town and Field Ltd, whose shareholders included Hugh Osmond, the venture capitalist and founder of Punch Taverns.

Mr Jones has already set the wheels in motion regarding the refurbishment programme, and has engaged an architect, Patrice Coupe,  and is also looking to appoint an interior designer.

He adds: “Verbier is the most beautiful resort I have ever visited and it’s a real honour to be responsible for such an important project.”