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Marco Truffelli

Co-owner, Rufflets St Andrews Co-founder, RESILIRĒ – Psychological Growth

  • What was your favourite subject at school?

I was a remarkably uncommon student, in every respect: top of the class in two subjects and at the very bottom in one!

Philosophy and Ancient Greek were my favourites.

  • What was your first job?

Age 14, giving private lessons in Ancient Greek to a school chum who despised the subject as much as I loved it. His family owned a collection of beautiful hotels on the Portofino coast and arranged a payment in kind, where I would have the use of a cabin, sun lounger and umbrella with a food & drinks allowance at the beach of one of their hotels.

  • Which is your favourite restaurant /hotel?

It really depends on the occasion, the company I am with and the mood we seek. Scotland, and in particular the Kingdom of Fife, is blessed with what I consider to be one of the best larders in Europe: the Chef that brings the very best of what nature has to offer onto our plates is Tom Kitchin. My wife and I enjoy impromptu dinners at the gastropub Scran & Scallie or a celebration at The Kitchin, both in Edinburgh. I must say that we have a soft spot for a fun and relaxing lunch at The Strathearn at Gleneagles: better if somebody else drives, so we can reclaim our Sunday: it has happened once in 2023!

My no-longer-secret favourite hideaways are Planeta’s La Foresteria in Menfi, Sicily; Masseria Montenapoleone in Pezze di Greco, Puglia and ETT HEM in Stockholm.

  • How do you inspire your team

I believe that no job is too small and, equally, no dream is unachievable. Without exception I adopt a hands on approach and alongside unwavering determination, seek to create an environment where bold and ambitious objectives are realised. Working hard to support psychological safety among our team, where every contribution is positively considered. Alvin Toffler wrote that “The illiterate of the twenty-first century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn”. I relentlessly encourage our team to seek new learning opportunities, from sponsoring Cornell University courses to supporting scholarships applications with HIT Scotland and the Master Innholders.

  • Which person in hospitality have you most admired / inspired you?

From my early days at The Hyde Park Hotel in Knightsbridge, to Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic, The Town House Collection in Scotland, and more recently Borgo Egnazia in Puglia and Rocco Forte Verdura in Sicily, I have been fortunate to have been ‘adopted’ by truly inspirational leaders, who have guided me and inspired me throughout my professional life. Ezio Indiani, the ultimate gentleman in a profession of ladies and gentlemen, Claudio Silvestri, the definitive marketeer, Peter Taylor, my true North Star and Sir Rocco, the quintessential luxury hospitality operator. Both Bob Cotton (former Chief Executive of UK Hospitality) and latterly, Wendy Bartlett (Co-founder and Chair of Bartlett Mitchell) have been among my closest mentors: their communication and entrepreneurial skills respectively are second to none.

  • How do you manage your stress levels?

Running most mornings, practicing guided meditation and, recently, I have surrendered to my wife’s quest to join her yoga sessions.

  • Instagram, Twitter or Facebook – and why?

Rory Stewart has recently written that “Our brains have become like the phones in our pockets: flashing, titillating, obsequious, insinuating machines, allergic to depth and seriousness, that tempt us every moment of the day from duty, friends, family and sleep.” Simply put, I believe that social media has hacked our attention and AI promises to hack our intimacy. So, apart for business marketing purposes (mainly Instagram and Facebook), I try and shield my attention from the social media ‘auto-pilot’ and only seldom share my unglamourous special moments with known and unknown audiences!

  • If you had not gone into hospitality, where do you think you would be now?

While in hospitality, after almost nine years of studies embarked in 2014 – a BSc in psychology and a Mpsych in psychology and neuroscience of mental health, King’s College London, later – I am now combining my passions and values by delivering psychological growth training and leadership retreats at Rufflets St Andrews with Dr Jan Ferris.

  • What did you do on your last days off?

Having invested 95% of my days off over the last nine years ‘locked in’ studying, I am now giving time back to my wife Morag and family who have been so supportive. The bicycles are out again and, regardless of weather, we are exploring and re-visiting wonderful hidden gems both in Edinburgh and the East Neuk of Fife.

  • What do you do to relax, to support your wellbeing?

Mostly by reading through my backlog stack of binge-purchased books while playing old a new vinyl’s; re-connecting with dear old friends and cooking for them as much as they can stomach. And, of course, to boost my serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine levels, running is my default mind wellness activity.