Arriving at the Double Tree by Hilton Leeds all three of us were excited to check in. Not because myself, Zoe and Sharon had been working all day and felt exhausted, but if you have ever stopped at a Double Tree you would have had the pleasure of being greeted with one of their signature freshly made, mouth-watering, warm cookie! I think it’s the best idea ever. Who doesn’t want a cookie? Never mind a cookie that’s warm and oozing with chocolate. They remind me of those Maryland Gooeys- just bigger and better!
You’re probably wondering what we’re doing in Leeds stuffing our faces with cookies? Following the cycle lanes of Tour De France visit to Yorkshire, Hilton Worldwide Portfolio hosted a roadshow as an opportunity to network, familiarise ourselves with the brand and properties, and brush up on our knowledge of Hilton venues. After all we are a venue finding agency, not cookie tasters.
This was the first launch of the Hilton Yorkshire Roadshow and it was a great success! We got to put a name to familiar voices we speak to on a regular basis and we definitely learnt a lot. One thing that we didn't know about Hilton Worldwide is that they work in partnership with the FA at St George’s Park. Operating a flagship hotel in the magnificent grounds, Hilton Worldwide can offer a range of accommodation options to suite guests’ varying needs. With state-of-the-art conferencing facilities, the park is establishing itself as a world-class venue for not just athletes, but for corporate clients. The hotel is stylish and modern, situated on the edge of the National Rainforest you can enjoy the tranquil scenery from large windows and relax in an elegant bathroom. Not only did we remember this Hilton property for its uniqueness, but they were also giving out little football shopping coins and we got our very own Hilton football stress ball!
We retired for the night to our rooms at the Double Tree, which were very modern with the latest technology including Mac TV’s and computers. I believe the rooms were classed as Hilton HHonors rooms which meant we had a little bottle of red wine and a Graze box waiting for us- the little touches always make the biggest difference. The bathrooms were very clean and had walk-in power showers. I couldn’t fault my room to be honest and had an excellent night’s sleep! I also had a lovely view of the Granary Wharf from my room. Although, if you want to see the best view of Leeds then you have to go to the SkyLounge and sit out on the balcony- the views are amazing. At the back on the SkyLounge there is actually a conference room that has a panoramic city view- a good way to impress your colleagues for a meeting!
If you haven't already guessed- the HG Team have been to Belfast! We had all heard some great things about this vibrant city; we couldn't wait to experience them first hand.
Did you know Belfast is the city where the RMS Titanic was designed and built? Home to one of the world's largest urban waterfront regeneration project, The Titanic Belfast building is a cultural attraction, situated in the Titanic Quarter, preserving the authenticity of Belfast's maritime and industrial heritage. You can even have afternoon tea by the Grand staircase, a brilliant replica of the original.
Just minutes from the Titanic Quarter sits the Hilton Belfast, with a riverside location and in walking distance of Belfast city centre, the location is perfect for either a corporate or leisurely visit. Zoe, our Conference Co-Ordinator said- 'I couldn't really fault this hotel. The staff were great, the rooms are spacious, clean and modern, and the food was lovely. The bedrooms in the hotel are nicely decorated and the suites are very spacious with beautiful views of Belfast, especially suite 1215, which had panoramic views of the waterfront. There is also a patio area outside of the restaurant that is fantastic for the warmer weather.'
Neighbour to the Hilton Belfast, the Belfast Waterfront will shortly be going through a £60 million expansion which will double the overall floor space of the venue. With lots of natural daylight and space for flexibility, the Waterfront Belfast is a brilliant venue for conferences and events. There are also two bars on separate levels with amazing panoramic views of the city being ideal for a drinks reception and private functions such as weddings.
The group also ventured on a trip to the Victorian Prison, Crumlin Road Gaol, for a private tour which proved very surprising. A hidden gem in the city, the prison actually has conference and banqueting facilities. It is a great venue if you are looking for something a little out of the ordinary and different, with prison cells still being open and the hanging room being one of the main attractions, this venue certainly has the eerie factor, or at least Zoe thought so.
After the prison the group went for a showaround at Hilton Templepatrick Hotel. Even though the hotel is just off the A57, it feels secluded and private presenting 220 acres of beautiful wooded parkland within the Castle Upton Estate. The food here is very unique in style with fish and chips served in a mini fryer and other dishes in mini saucepans. Not only do they taste fantastic, but their choice of presentation gives the food a quirky edge. The hotel is also home to an amazing award winning golf course which the group got to sample!
Zoe's favourite part of the adventure to Belfast was the dining in Ballywalter Park, the home of the Lord and Lady Dunleath. The group indulged in a six course dinner especially homemade by the Lady of the manor herself. The hosts were very accommodating- they even invited the minibus driver in for the evening and fed him just as well! The wine cellar was also fascinating to see as it was packed wall to wall with an extensive range, reaching back to 1977. This property is a perfect venue for extra special occasions.
We set ourselves (which seemed at the time an impossible goal) to raise £500 for the Great North Air Ambulance by completing the Stockton Duathlon, which included a 5K run, 20K cycle and 2K run.
We are very pleased and thankful to announce we managed to raise £504.75. It's great to know that our donation has been appreciated by receiving a 'thank you' letter from the GNAA.
It was a painful, but rewarding experience and we would like to say a massive THANK YOU, from the HG team, to everyone that sponsored us and believed in us from the very beginning.
We are throwing together some ideas for our next Charity Event...let us know if you have any suggestions!
Getting that combination between work and leisure is pretty hard, I would even say sometimes almost impossible. So why not do both? Hospitality Guaranteed along with other agents attended The Old Swan, on Friday 25th July, to experience Classic Lodges at its best. Arriving Friday night with the sun still beating it was the perfect setting for Pimm’s in the front garden, a marquee and BBQ. As hosts The Old Swan couldn’t have been better. With complimentary pre-drinks in hands, looking up at the front of the hotel with 200 years of heritage and bright green ivory running up the walls; it was breath taking. We thought to ourselves- ‘this is the life’. The history you feel from the outside of the building is nothing compared to the overwhelming sense of heritage inside the hotel itself. Even if you don’t know the history of the building, you get a sense of romance and mystery radiating throughout the rooms. Imagine Victorian finery with contemporary luxury…
As a safe haven for the mistress of crime-writing, Agatha Christie, who famously disappeared for 11days to The Old Swan in 1926, why not escape into this tranquil setting for a weekend away? Or, with a choice of rooms that can cater for the smallest board meeting or up to 300 for conference, why not mix work with pleasure and enjoy the atmosphere The Old Swan offers you.
The last things you want to do during the summer holidays is sit through a monthly marketing meeting or attend a training course you have to endure every year. But Harrogate is the best location for this! Just on the doorstep of The Old Swan you have the elegant Spa Town of Harrogate with the exquisiteness of Yorkshire Dales to explore. After the meeting, treat yourself to some homemade fudge, indulge and enjoy the stunning scenery of historic buildings.
Hospitality Guaranteed would like to thank Classic Lodges and the staff at The Old Swan for a brilliant experience and lovely weekend! We hope to see you again soon!
Following on from our last blog post, we turned eight on Friday and we wanted to share how we celebrated the moment. It started off with a lot of planning, ordering a buffet, planning to pick up a cake and an amazing competition prize to say thank you to our clients. On the morning of our birthday I was very excited to say the least. This was not just because I love a good cake and buffet food, but because it was a surprise for Amanda while Victoria was soaking up the sun in Majorca!
I then received a phone call from a cake company we have used in the past. He wanted to arrange dropping off the cake. The penny dropped. Amanda had also organised for a cake to be made. Not only did our buffet have chocolate cake for desert but we also had this gigantic Hospitality Guaranteed cake ordered by Amanda and Sam was on her way to pick up a cake from Marks & Spencer’s. We were going to be cake crazy!
Luckily, we managed to resolve the situation and being honest I was secretly a bit disappointed; the more cake the better I say. So on the 06.06.2014 we turned eight with the sun shining outside, a buffet fit for a king, one huge jam sponge cake branded with our logo and a lovely card all the way from Majorca.
The buffet was demolished within an hour and there is definitely no cake left, however we do still have our fantastic competition running until the end of the month. Don’t miss out if you haven’t already entered the Mottram Hall competition of the month.