Hotel Chocolat

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Hotel Chocolat UK
Limited Company
HeadquartersRoyston, Hertfordshire
Number of locations
170 (as of August 2019)[1]
Key people
Angus Thirlwell, Founder
Peter Harris, Founder
ProductsChocolate, Hot Chocolate, Gifts, Cooking Chocolate, Cuisine Items
Number of employees

Hotel Chocolat is a British chocolatier and cocoa grower, with over seventy shops in the United Kingdom. Hotel Chocolat is the only company in the United Kingdom to grow cocoa on its own plantation.


Hotel Chocolat, Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, London
Hotel Chocolat, Boar Lane, Leeds

In 1988, Angus Thirlwell and Peter Harris began designing and selling mints as "MMC", before moving to chocolates, some six years later. Rebranded as "Geneva Chocolates", the current co-founders of Hotel Chocolat adapted trade to the catalogue-based world and before long, had steered towards the name "Choc Express".

In 1998, the Chocolate Tasting Club was launched in Britain; as of 2014, it has around 100,000 members.[2] To date, the Tasting Club has trialled over 1,500 different recipes. As detailed on their website, the Chocolate Tasting Club sends out boxes to customers all over the country each month.

In 2003, Choc Express rebranded as Hotel Chocolat and launched its first retail store in the centre of Watford. The company then grew initially to having four stores in the East Anglian area, with stores in Milton Keynes, Cambridge and St Albans opening between 2005 and 2006. Today, the company has over 70 around the UK.[3]

In 2006, the company officially acquired the Rabot Estate in Saint Lucia, and is, to date, the only company in the UK to own its own cocoa plantation.[4] This plantation is one of the reasons given for the company choosing not to be Fair Trade-accredited, as only smallholdings are allowed.

In 2011, Hotel Chocolat opened its Boucan Hotel in Saint Lucia.[5] The hotel sits on the Rabot Estate which is perched high up between the Piton mountains. The hotel currently has six lodges and a cocoa-inspired Boucan Restaurant.

In November 2013, Hotel Chocolat opened two UK restaurants, Rabot 1745 in London's Borough Market, and Roast + Conch in Leeds.[6]

In August 2017, Hotel Chocolat opened its first stores in the Republic of Ireland in Dundrum, Dublin.[7]

Rabot Estate, St. Lucia[edit]

The 140-acre (0.57 km2) Rabot Estate is in the south west of St Lucia, near Soufrière, the original French capital. St Lucia lies in the cocoa belt which girdles the earth, plus or minus 20 degrees latitude from the Equator.[citation needed] The estate is divided up into 16 different cortès or areas of terroir, with names steeped in history, such as L’Hermitage, Ti Jardin, Marcial, Mathilde and Rameau. The cocoa trees of Rabot Estate are primarily Trinitario species rich in Criollo genes, and with new trees continually being planted, record quantities of cocoa are being harvested.[citation needed]

The Rabot Estate is part of Hotel Chocolat’s 'Engaged Ethics' Cocoa Programme (HCCAPEE). Over a hundred new jobs have been created since the estate’s opening, and with prices guaranteed to be 30–40% above the world market price of cocoa, as well as being paid within a week of selling their crops, local farmers are provided with a secure income.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Store Locator". Hotel Chocolat. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  2. ^ Hope, Katie. "The man who built the Hotel Chocolat empire". BBC. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  3. ^ Lockley, Marc. "Store Wars: Thorntons and Hotel Chocolat". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  4. ^ Hope, Katie. "The man who built the Hotel Chocolat empire". BBC. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  5. ^ Portas, Mary. "Mary Portas visits Hotel Chocolat". The Telegraph.
  6. ^ Baker, Andrew. "Hotel Chocolat turns 10: the sweet taste of success". The Independent.
  7. ^ "Hotel Chocolat takes a bite at Dublin". Philip Connolly. The Times. August 13, 2017.

External links[edit]