Martin Miller

Entrepreneur, Hotelier

London

Martin Miller is an entrepreneur who owns several country-style hotels in England and produces is own premium liquor, Martin Miller’s Gin. His independent spirit was first noticed at an early age, when the lad did everything from breed hamsters to create a dating guide for local boys. In the decades following, Miller dabbled in photography and organized concerts before finding success as the co-founder of a respected series of antique directories called Miller’s Antique Price Guide. By the late 1980s, he had moved on to hospitality. Miller now successfully owns eight eclectic boutique hotels across the U.K. And the gin that he started in 1999 is still winning over fans — Martin Miller’s Gin was named Best Gin in Show at the 69th annual Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America Convention in 2012.

  • On March 11, 2013
    Martin Miller answered the question: Martin Miller

    What are Martin Miller’s favorite cities to visit?

    Because of my background, I suppose I like cities that have some real architectural and art-based heritage. Italy is obviously one of my favorite places. I like going out and sort of wandering around the outback of Tuscany and Florence. Although it’s full of tourists, it’s still got so many treasures within it. And Venice. The thing about Venice is once you get out a half-mile from the central St. Mark’s Square, you’ve got a lot of treasures. There’s so much that people don’t really go and see because they stay in their little niche area. They don’t explore enough.
  • On March 11, 2013
    Martin Miller answered the question: Martin Miller

    What have been some of Martin Miller’s biggest career struggles?

    Because all of the hotels I’ve done are very individual, they take a lot more effort in management because a lot of hotels have basically a formula. And then you have the rooms I tend to do, and there are a lot of issues in cleaning and really, you’re managing mini-museums. I think that’s the best way of putting it, rather than hotels. No one really does it to the extent that I do it because we do put an enormous number of items in the establishment, and that’s something most people never do because they think it will be stolen. That’s something I’ve never really experienced. Luckily enough, all the years I’ve been doing it, hardly anything ever gets stolen. Somehow they tend to respect it. It’s not all screwed to the walls, and there are things that are very venerable. I still have this belief that most people are actually honest, and I’ve been lucky enough in that respect. The fact that they know it’s someone’s personal collection and interest, they think twice about it because they appreciate it’s not just corporation, and if anything goes from a corporate hotel they don’t worry; they just put the prices up next year.
  • On March 11, 2013
    Martin Miller answered the question: Martin Miller

    Does Martin Miller think it’s important to stay ahead of competition?

    People are critical; I believe they are. What I’m doing at the moment on the hotel front is actually coming back into fashion because minimalism has been with us for maybe 20 years. Now, I suppose, a lot of people are getting a little bit tired of the blandness and they actually want something that’s visually articulate that they can wonder at a little bit more. My style fills that. Like, when did you last see the wallpaper style? I fill every inch. It could be conceived as clutter in somebody’s eyes, but I seem to have a way of putting it together that looks as if it’s naturally evolved. And it doesn’t look like it came out of an old curiosity shop. And then you’ve got to get that over to people, that you are something different. I’d rather have a smaller number people who really love what I’m doing than try to go for the big market.
  • On March 11, 2013
    Martin Miller answered the question: Martin Miller

    How did Martin Miller get his start in antique guides?

    I never had a job, let’s start there. I started off doing freelance photography. I met somebody who was an antiques dealer, and then I started having an interest in antiques. At that time, there were no antique price guides around at all. You had one in America, but there was nothing in England; so I persuaded him to give up the trade secrets, so to speak, and help me produce the Lyle Antiques Review — that was in 1969. So that was the beginning of the antiques part of it, really, and I’ve been doing that ever since. Then I had a child and other things came along; but the antiques, that was the first love, I suppose.