Award-Winning Deer Path Inn Appoints James Barnett as New General Manager

March 6, 2024

LAKE FOREST, IL — Consistently lauded as a top hotel in the Midwest, Deer Path Inn proudly introduces James Barnett as the new general manager and innkeeper. Celebrating its 95th anniversary this year, Deer Path Inn is a point of pride for residents of Chicago’s North Shore and a haven for guests traveling from around the world. Barnett will lead the 57-room boutique property known for its traditional English innkeeping and highly personalized service.

Born in Australia, Barnett began his hospitality career at the picturesque ski resort, Thredbo, in New South Wales. He then became the general manager of the Soho House property, Electric House, in London, overseeing private member clubs, its on-site restaurant, and an immersive cinema experience. After his time in the UK, he moved to the Windy City in 2014 to take the reins at Soho House Chicago, further amplifying its legacy with his leadership across its multifaceted outlets. Barnett went on to become the Global Task Force General Manager for Soho House, ensuring brand brilliance from the beaches of Malibu to the bustling streets of Berlin and Amsterdam. Most recently, he served as the VP of Hospitality at Bonhomme Hospitality, overseeing a diverse portfolio of seven locations, boasting 11 distinct concepts.

“A beloved property with a rich history needs a powerhouse leader with creativity and heart,” said Matt Barba, Chief Operating Officer of Charlestowne Hotels and former innkeeper of the Deer Path Inn. “Highly respected in the industry, James brings hospitality know-how from around the world, and a thoughtful approach to leadership. Innkeeping is truly an artform—James not only understands but embodies this. He will be a considerate steward of Deer Path Inn’s storied legacy, and key element to its continued success.”

In his new role, Barnett will blend his hotel management background with his F+B expertise to evolve the hotel’s acclaimed food and beverage program, which includes the distinguished English Room and White Hart Pub, the stand-out cocktail service in The Bar, and the refined Afternoon Tea service. He will work with the team to ideate and present elevated programming that appeals to all visitors, both local and far-flung.

“Personalized, high-touch service is what sets you apart in hospitality today, and the Deer Path Inn exemplifies excellence in the curation of the guest experience,” said Barnett. “Their ethos beautifully aligns with what I wanted to do next in my career. There’s an honesty to the service here. It’s easy to get caught up in new ways of doing things, but Deer Path Inn maintains traditional methods in a modernized environment, which is rare and beautiful to find. It’s been heartwarming to see that this inn is a staple in its community, and the community embraces it back. I am proud to be joining a talented and longstanding team dedicated to ensuring that each and every guest enjoys a luxurious respite while here.”

Year after year, Deer Path Inn is ranked among the top resort hotels in the Midwest (Travel + Leisure) and is recognized in the top 1% of hotels worldwide (TripAdvisor), both prestigious accolades that speak to the exceptional quality of service, accommodations, and overall guest experience.

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