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Our Team

Bringing a wealth of success and experienced in the travel and technology sector.

Emma Spitzer


Emma Spitzer founded Essential Escapes in 2002 in a quest to find the best spa resorts to promote to clients. After becoming a mother in 2005, the focus changed to finding those resorts with second-to-none kids facilities so she, and the company’s clients, could continue to enjoy the luxury spa holidays that she had enjoyed so much in the past.
Emma was a finalist in TV’s popular MasterChef 2015 series, drawing culinary inspiration from some of the gourmet meals that she has enjoyed at Tots Too hotels around the world.

Deborah Barnett


Deborah Barnett, qualified as a Solicitor in 1997 and spent 5 years in the city specialising in Commercial Litigation matters. At the end of 2002 she changed career paths in order to pursue her love of luxury travel. As co-founder of Essential Escapes, she has spent the recent years acquiring first-hand knowledge of our portfolio.
As the mother of 3 young children, her travels focus on researching the hotels and resorts which best cater for the family market.

Jonathan Brod

Non Executive Director

Jonathan is the founder of Next Wave Partners, a UK based venture capital fund that has invested over £100 million in successful and fast growing UK businesses in the consumer, leisure and business services sectors. Next Wave have grown their portfolio to a value of over £350 million, growing revenues 15% CAGR and EBITDA 27% CAGR over an extended ten year period, creating over 635 jobs along the way. Jonathan has been an investor and non-executive director in Essential Escapes since its establishment in 2002

Mark Speeks

Chief Financial Officer

Mark Speeks has worked for over 30 years in finance, both corporate finance in London, Paris, New York and Washington DC, as well as working as a fund manager and managing partner in private equity in London since 2004. He is now involved with a number of smaller companies helping them to execute growth strategies. He has been instrumental in setting the business’ current strategy and will devote more of his time to Essential Escapes as the business grows. He will act as the Company’s Chief Revenue & Finance Officer.

Christian Vaughan

Chief Marketing Officer

Christian Vaughan is a highly experienced brand strategy, product and marketing expert. In 2008 he  founded an award winning agency called Marmalade on Toast from which he recently successfully  exited. In 2014 he acted as Chief Marketing Officer at Switch Concepts, ranked No. 2 for two years  running by the Sunday Times’TechTrack Top 100 Fast Growth Companies, where he worked with Mark  who was advising Switch Concepts on corporate governance and an exit strategy. He has worked closely  with Mark on Essential Escapes’ strategy and will act as the Company’s  Chief Marketing Officer.

Essential Escapes

85-87 Bayham Street,
London, NW1 0AG

020 3642 6057


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