Rafi Bejerano is the Director of AB Hotels, a luxury hotel group that includes Sopwell House Hotel & Spa in St Albans, The Arch London in Marylebone, and the Crowne Plaza Five-Lakes Resort in Colchester. The group focuses on three aspects: a high level of service, a family driven approach and an impressive approach to charity.

Hotel front

AB Hotels is a family-owned business founded by Rafi’s father, Abraham Bejerano, over 30 years ago when he purchased his first acquisition: Sopwell House.

Sopwell House started life as a hotel with 28 bedrooms. The hotel has now expanded to become one of the UK’s most sought-after country house wedding and events hotels with 15 banqueting spaces.

Rafi says:

“Life for AB Hotels all started when my father spotted the potential of a group of townhouses whilst on his daily commute to work as a Food & Beverage Manager of a hotel in Marble Arch. He dreamed that one day he might own a hotel and in 1981 this became a reality with the purchase of The George Hotel in Melton, Mowbray, followed by The Chesterfield Hotel in 1983 and thenSopwell House in 1986.”

He continued:

“He later bought Five Lakes in Essex. Then in 2010 his vision became a reality when he became the proud owner of those same townhouses he had driven past and opened the boutique five-star hotel, The Arch London,which spans seven Grade II listed Georgian townhouses and two mews homes. My brother, myself and our whole family are incredibly proud of his achievements.”


For Rafi every inch of the business is family-orientated and he believes this is one of the  unique selling points of the hotel group.

“Our hotels all have a real family feel – and we believe hospitality is about the service we offer for our guests. I come from a Jewish family and we have always done a lot of entertaining where my mum is very much the host of the house, constantly offering guests food and drink. It’s all about making people feel comfortable with genuine care and attention, warmth and a nice welcome.”

Giving back to the local community is high on the agenda of the Bejerano family, so when Sopwell House celebrated its 30thPearl Anniversary it was the perfect opportunity to raise money for its local St Albans Museums and Galleries Trust.

“We were delighted to host an indulgent black-tie charity dinner at Sopwell House. Ticket sales and silent and live auction’s raised an impressive £72,100 for the fundraising appeal. We were very proud to be able to give back to our local community and help with the renovations of The St Albans Museum.”


Along with the St Albans Museums and Galleries Trust, Sopwell House supports a number of other local charity partners. Among them is “Herts Against Cancer”, a charity which supports people with personal experiences of cancer and helps with the impact that the disease has on the friends and families of cancer patients. The hotel also supports Rennie Grove Hospice Care, a local charity that offers care to patients suffering from life-limiting illnesses in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

Rafi Bejerano sits on Hospitality Action’s London Regional Board and is an active member of Springboard’s London Advisory Board.

Sopwell House regularlyhosts prestigious charity events such as the English Footballers Foundation Charity Event.The England Footballers Foundation, which was founded in 2007, was set up to allow players to donate their match fees and time to good causes. Charities that the foundation has previously supported include Rays of Sunshine Children’s Charity, The Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK, and Cancer Research UK.

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