John-Hitchcox – seen above in a photo by Ed Reeve – is a Leonardo of a creator, someone who can do anything. With a musician for his mother he wanted as a kid to be a conductor, and that is what he is now. He’s the name behind YOO, a design+more company that shows he also followed his father, architect Brian Hitchcox OBE. The names pushed out in front of YOO include, in alphabetical order. Anouska Hempel, Kelly Hoppen, Bianca Jagger, Kate Moss, Philippe Starck, Marcel Wanders and many more. These are the celebs who have had at least a hand in designing some of YOO’s projects.
And that portfolio is huge. There’s a YOO hotel in Panama. There’s Olympia in London – yes, YOO owns and manages that giant space, built 1886 and still as up to date as a clock’s minute hand: it’s just finished an international hospitality exhibition and, separately, one on cyber security (one hall alone holds 7,000, or 4,000 if seated).
Girlahead went to visit YOO BY THE LAKES, Yoo’s multi-purpose centre built around deep gravel pits that are now lakes, home to birds and animals who appreciate space and being away from traffic. The destination is in total 850-acres of 180 freshwater lakes, meadows and woodland in the Gloucestershire countryside. YOO itself constitutes owned Scandinavian-look villas cantilevered over one of the seven ‘hotel’ lakes, plus apartments in three-floor blocks. All dwellings are owned, but full-time residency is not allowed. All can be put into the lettering pool. Anyone, there, can ‘stay’ as if in a hotel.
Andrew Cook, GM of the whole cabouche, came from Chewton Glen. He took Girlahead to lunch, in Elsa’s, named for John Hichcox’s mother – it’s actually a tent, arguably the world’s most lavish, and large tepee, next to a state-of-the-art kitchen truck. Afterwards, it was Cook’s Tour time, to see some of the (gorgeous, loved the kitchens) residences, and THE SPA BY YOO, with Olympic-sized pool. Indoors, of course. And there are events: the 2022 Cotswold Water Park Ball is scheduled for 15th October and you can be sure they will do at least a little something on Bonfire Night, 5th November.
Behind the scenes, always full of ideas, is John Hitchcox, he who always thinks out of the box. He appears on next week’s edition of MARY GOSTELOW’S INNER CIRCLE – sign up now, in readiness,
Meanwhile, listen here to someone who also does things outside the traditional box: