What are your typical working hours like?
My working day tends to start at 7am or 8am; although I’m not really a morning person so I try to work later shifts during the week where I can. Sunday morning is a key shift that I like to work as we have a lot of leisure guests and breakfast will be the final meal of their stay, so it is important to make sure that their last experience of the hotel is memorable. Being at the hotel for much of the time over key periods means that you are more aware of what’s going on and have the opportunity to deal with any challenges as and when they arise. I find it also helps in terms of having more understanding of the guest experience, which is vital.
What do you get up to on an operational basis?
I spend a lot of time with my team and like to get involved as much as possible, making sure I’m there supporting them, whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Another enjoyable part of my role is being able to support the Meetings and Events team, so I tend to work closely with the Meetings and Events Operations Manager, Martin, who also happens to be my husband! We work together sorting out rotas and shift patterns ensuring that everyone is where they are needed to deliver the best guest experience. A great thing about my team is that they are cross-trained, so they can work in different departments – in Leftbank, The Lock Bar & Kitchen, The Lounge and the River Hideout, when it’s open over the summer months.
More recently, I was made an Executive Manager so I also work closely with Sue, our General Manager, and help with the day-to-day running of the hotel alongside Craig Spencer, Resident Manager. My favourite thing about my role is developing my team’s skills and watching them grow. A lot of them are promoted internally because of the training we give them… they’re definitely my biggest motivation.
What about supplier meetings? Do you get involved in menu tastings?
Our main suppliers are wine and coffee companies and our four principal wine suppliers are Liberty Wines, Les Caves de Pyrene, Thomson & Scott and Swig Wines. I liaise with them about the types of wine that they stock and then they would send us samples to try. We’ve just done a lot of work with the Gin Kitchen as we’ve been creating our own Runnymede gin. The final batch has just been approved, having taken a few goes to get there as one of the flavours is mint. We took our time to find the perfect balance of strength and flavour. However, I can’t take any credit for that as it was all down to Paul, our Food and Beverage Services Manager!
In terms of menu tasting, our winter menus will go live on 29th November. Our fabulous chefs have spent time crafting a selection of dishes for us to go through and sample to help decide what works and what doesn’t. We tend to change our food menus twice a year, whilst our wine list changes only once. For the wines, the management team and I will sit down to taste the range and then make a judgement on which ones we want on the menu. I must admit, it’s a very enjoyable part of my job!
When you’re not working, how do you like to spend your free time?
After work I like to take my dog, Alfie, out for long walks through Windsor Great Park. It’s particularly nice this time of year as the seasons change and we’re seeing more browns, golds and burnt-orange colours. I’m also really into horse riding and spending quality time with family and friends. My parents only live around the corner so it’s great being able to pop in to see them regularly.