Hester Flies the Flag for Young Women in Construction

Meet Hester King, Project Manager at Whitbread, a leading hospitality business and the owner of the Premier Inn and hub by Premier Inn hotel brands.


1Can you explain your role in one sentence?I oversee the project management of new hotel developments for Whitbread in London. I’m currently working on two developments in the Paddington and Marylebone area, a new hub by Premier Inn on Old Marylebone Road, and a large Premier Inn in Paddington.

2How long have you been doing this job?I’ve been working at Whitbread for nearly three years now. I started in the graduate scheme and fell in love with project management.

3Did you find yourself in this role by accident or by design?I would say by accident, but my family works in property so maybe it was a little bit by design. I have a degree in Sports Science and I didn’t know much about project management before joining Whitbread’s property team. I did a number of rotations as part of my graduate scheme and worked with different teams. Project management was the perfect fit for me as I’m a naturally organised person.

4What's the best part about your job? Being a project manager for Whitbread involves many things. For instance, at the new hub by Premier Inn on Old Marylebone Road, where we're currently demolishing an old office building to make way for the hotel, I'm overseeing the programme and ensuring we're being as respectful as we can be to our neighbours.

We're also about to start the process of commissioning a new piece of artwork for the building, working with Westminster Council and Great Ormond Street Hospital, which is exciting.

I love the challenge that comes with each new project, as well as working on many developments at the same time.

I also enjoy working alongside different stakeholders and partners. I can often find myself in meetings with 15 different people, and it’s great to talk to them, learn about their experiences and fly the flag for young women working in construction.

5What’s the strangest thing that has ever happened to you in your job?I was furloughed for three months during the height of the pandemic as Whitbread paused its own-build construction projects temporarily. I can’t say I enjoyed it much! Let’s just say I’m glad to be back at my laptop and focused on delivering Whitbread’s investments in Paddington and Marylebone.

6What do you enjoy doing when you are not at work?I love playing sports. I’m in a Sunday hockey league and I also play tennis.

7What do you like about this area?The area is so vibrant and there are so many different cultures that fit well with each other.

8Where’s your favourite place to eat out in the local area?Le Relais de Venise in Marylebone. I even cycled there during lockdown when they were doing takeaway steak sandwiches. It was so worth it. I’ve not been back yet, but I will soon. Even talking about their food now is making me hungry!

9Who is YOUR hero and what is it about them that inspires you?My parents and my sister. My parents because they’re so patient and have so much empathy. I knew I was expected to do a property degree but I wanted to do sports and they supported me. And my sister because of her amazing attitude. She had a kidney transplant when she was 11 and it was incredible to see how resilient she was.

10If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be?I would like to see the cherry blossoms in Japan. I got into gardening last year and it really made me appreciate the seasons.

Click here for more information on hub by Premier Inn.

Hester Flies the Flag for Young Women in Construction