Entrepreneur Nick Taplin has always had a penchant for personal number plates, and now that his hotel and spa business is booming, he not only sees them as a fantastic promotional tool, but also as a nice way to thank colleagues, friends and family for all their help.
Nick has lived most of his 34 years in and around the village of Congresbury in North Somerset. As he was growing up, his parents instilled in him a strong work ethic and he came to believe that if he wanted something then he would have to work hard to get it.
The values he absorbed in his formative years have served him well. Nick built up his experience in pub retailing and hotel management, running a number of establishments. That background, combined with the guiding principles from his parents, equipped him well for business. He struck out on his own when the time was right and he now owns a leading hotel, health club and spa.
Cadbury House is located in the place Nick knows best: the area in which he grew up. Following a four year programme of investment, construction and refurbishment, Cadbury House Hotel, Health Club and Spa now boasts some of the region’s top conference, meeting and wedding facilities.
The 72-bedroom, four-star hotel has a restaurant that has been successfully transformed by chef Mark Veale, a protégé of TV’s Gordon Ramsay. The club has also been extended to include the region’s only children’s gym as demand for premier health club facilities booms in the area.
The original house, which forms the centrepiece of the new development, dates from 1790 when it was built as a private residence set in an 800-acre estate. From 1939 to 1955 Cadbury House became a seat of learning as St David’s, a prep school for boys.
During the ’70s and ’80s, Cadbury House was more renowned as a venue for hedonistic parties, hunt balls, medieval banquets and charity evenings attended by hundreds of people.
Since the redevelopment work and opening of the hotel, guests have included a range of well known faces including Sven-Göran Eriksson and a number of Manchester City football stars, Rugby World Cup winner Jason Leonard and countless TV celebs.
The first of Nick’s personal number plates was bought while the £5.5 million health club and spa (branded theclub) was being built in 2006. The registration was placed on a Chrysler Voyager that had been strikingly customised in theclub livery. C12 LUB became a familiar sight on local roads.
Nick plans to give this particular plate to Jason Eaton, theclub’s manager, to thank him for all his hard work.
“This was the first plate we used from a business perspective. It added a certain kudos to the Chrysler and completed its look. I’m delighted that Jason will we able to use it on his own vehicle. We will get a new private plate for the Chrysler. Cherished numbers are part of our advertising and PR.”
For the time being, the Chrysler is displaying another of Nick’s plates, C11 NJT (Nick James Taplin).
Cadbury House also provides a personal chauffeur service for guests and business clients. Once again, branding and promotion considerations moved Nick to purchase another private registration. In addition to a subtle logo on the hotel’s stretch limo, the number plate C14 HCC helps to remind people exactly where it has come from.
Nick’s own personal registration is T6 PLN. Previously he had displayed NJT 118 but, with the arrival of his new Porsche, Nick decided to put that plate on Cadbury House’s retro Jeep. For the Porsche he wanted something a little more special. In fact, Nick had actually bought T6 PLN for his parents but he found it hard to part with, so he persuaded them to let him have it. Nick bought his mum and dad an equally fine replacement in T9 PLN.
Nick acquired RT56 XXX for his fiancée Rachel. He rather hoped that the speculative initials would help to ensure that wedding plans would go smoothly. Rachel is currently still a Howell!
Nick told us, “I’m sure our number plate portfolio will continue to grow as the business does. They’re great fun but have also proved beneficial for the business providing excellent marketing, branding and public profile opportunities.”