Falling in love … on your first interim – is it the done thing?

Posted on November 15, 2011


How could I not. I was spellbound. Enchanted. Blown away. Pick whatever adjective you’d choose to use to express how you felt when you first fell in love – I was it.

From the very first glance, I felt my pulse race and excitement rise – this was definitely love, and this was definitely forever. I’d just driven through the majestic gateway, and was happily motoring along the sweeping driveway when this thunderbolt hit me – I’d fallen in love with Bowood.

This was helpful, as I had just started an Interim job there – leading their Sales and Marketing – and clearly, all of my birthdays and Christmases had come at the same time.

I’d been lucky enough to meet Lord Lansdowne earlier in the year, and when this opportunity arose, was again, lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, and he invited me to join his team. I like to think some skill and expertise came into it too, but seeing the 18 hole Championship golf course laid out in front of me, and the gorgeous 43 bedroomed hotel to my right, I didn’t really care if it was skill, expertise or luck. I was just happy to be there.

Rolling my trolley case down to the hotel on that first morning, I wasn’t sure what to expect staff wise. Surely this wouldn’t be a place for frivolity and fun, would it be stuffy, working in hushed tones? I was therefore, delighted with the warm embrace from the down to earth, and quite frankly, gorgeous ‘Geordie’ girl who welcomed me in – ‘Had’awa’ inside, I’ve reserved a great room for you, unless we sell it, then you’ll be in my bunk beds’.

So started my 7 months of joy with Bowood.

An easy job, selling such a fantastic product. From the 43 beautiful bedrooms, designed by Lady Lansdowne herself, to the professional Golf pros and ground staff.

And so much more in between.

The ‘gorgeous girls’ of the hospitality team, not only great at running massive corporate events, society golf days and top notch weddings, but also skilled cupcake makers, and the marketing co-ordinator, a professional jewellery maker in her spare time. The Business Development Manager who could sell ice to Eskimos, sand to the desert, and charmingly convince the most avid Marmite hater to taste just a little bit. Not forgetting, the most delicious finance team, happy to count calories with me as well as the Bowood coffers!

Restaurant Managers to die for, with cheeky smiles and a knowledge and appreciation of wines an aged sommelier would be grateful for. A professional, yet smiley and warm, reception team who welcomed me ‘home’ on each return visit, and who willingly hop on a buggy in any weather to take guests to the house. And a housekeeping team led by a whirling dervish with the highest standards imaginable.

Finally, that Geordie Revenues and Reception Manager. Switched on, bright as a button, excited about what’s happening at Bowood, and so, so committed. Many is the night she has stayed on until I arrived, stuffing envelopes with me or franking postcards, and playing her famous, and favourite ‘bookings game’ – how many bookings this week, average room rate, how many left to sell this week. Rewarding me with a ‘yahoo’ and a high five if I was near the answer (and a frosty stare if I was wide of the mark)

First interim. A great experience. The joy of working with a team so totally committed to not only the Hotel, but to Bowood and Lord Lansdowne himself. I can’t blame them. The hotel is fantastic, the Bowood estate majestic, and Lord Lansdowne, a true gent. Charismatic, focused and totally on the (Bowood) ball. There is not one aspect of the hotel he doesn’t understand; he doesn’t miss a thing – he goes above and beyond attention to detail, and Bowood Hotel is an absolute credit to his vision.

I really like luxury hotels, who doesn’t? But I really love Bowood. It has that something extra, that something special – swanky and down to earth, all in the same breath.

If you want to wear your jeans in the fine dining restaurant, you do that. If you want to walk from the spa to your bedroom in your fluffy towelling bathrobe, you do that. If you want to order an omelette or smoked salmon and scrambled eggs for your evening room service, you do that. If you want to take your 9 year old out on to the Academy course for his first 3 holes, you do that. You’re at Bowood to enjoy yourself, and Bowood will let you do just that.

Bowood is the most wonderful place, charming, chic and friendly; with a team that made me proud and hoot with laughter, in equal measure, on a regular basis, and food, drink and service to die for!

I am sure you can understand why I fell in love on my first interim.

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