As the latest members of the HGteam Natalie and I went on our first road trip, and where better to start than the heart of the North? Newcastle has lots to offer! With so many new hotels, restaurants, bars, great shopping and leisure experiences why go anywhere else?
Our mission was to go and visit some of the IHG branded hotels. What do you think of when you hear ‘Holiday Inn’? Do you think modern or spacious? On our tour we were able to visit the Holiday Inn properties in Jesmond, Gosforth Park and also the Express in central Newcastle. We both love what they’ve done with the new IHG image; spacious, open planned, a breath of fresh air.
Holiday Inn Gosforth is currently having areas of the hotel refurbished, the new unique layout of the hotel aims to provide space for work or leisure, ideal for both business travellers and leisure guests. The general manager took time to come and talk with us and it was clear that he and his team were excited about their plans for the future.
All guests look for something unique when staying in hotels and Holiday Inn Jesmond had the one for me! Fratello’s Italian restaurant has a display of pressed olive oil in the room, the space is open and airy with stone flooring and open wood burning pizza ovens giving an authentic Italian feel.
Surrounded by local bars and shops the Holiday Inn Express is in a great location! The city centre venue, just off the Boulevard leading to St James’s Park, has had some of the rooms recently refurbished with more following shortly. They have a nice modern feel to them with light colours.
Now for something a bit different… Hotel Indigo. With a focus on the surrounding local neighbourhood, Indigo hotels are designed to portray the local ethos. I was expecting something different to your standard reception and lounge area, and I was not disappointed! Newcastle’s hotel Indigo utilises and celebrates the areas culture within the décor, wall paper and modern prints depicting the Tyne Bridge, Castle and Grainger Streets neoclassical architecture. The Marco Pierre White restaurant is also well known within the town and is a popular venue for events. I am told the food is fantastic...maybe we will get the chance to taste on the next visit!
The trip was an eye opener covering all the IHG brands in the area, we didn’t realise how different they would all be, great locations and well looked after by all the staff who met us and showed us around the properties.
If any of you remember our blog from last year, ordering a cake turned out to be more difficult than we actually thought; we nearly had two! Thankfully, we were more organised this year. We ordered one chocolate cake, two balloons and some candles to help us celebrate 9 years of Hospitality Guaranteed.
How fast this past year has gone….
We wanted to share with you a few updates that have happened over the past 12months:
As always, we have continuously updated our bespoke systems based on client and supplier feedback, and continued to better ourselves.
How can we possibility top this in the next year? We believe our team is stronger, our systems are better, and our positive attitude along with the help of all our fantastic clients and suppliers will help us achieve the goals and targets we have set for 2015/2016!
Actually, I didn’t walk 500 miles, but I near enough drove 500 miles, or rather 300 or so to glorious Glasgow! Zoe and I, from the Hospitality Guaranteed team, visited Scotland to discover Glasgow as a key location for conference, meeting and events. We started our excursion boarding a Discover Scotland Tour Bus, which was very authentic with the tour guy being Scottish born and bred, wearing a tartan kilt. The tour bus took us, from the Crowne Plaza Glasgow, on a lovely scenic route to Clachan Inn, which he described to us as being one of Scotland’s oldest ‘pubs’. Situated in the picturesque village of St. John’s Town of Dalry, we enjoyed some traditional pub grub, sipping real ale and craft beer by the log fire.
We then departed onto the Glengoyne Whisky Distillery, home to the slowest distillation process in Scotland. Even if you aren’t a true whisky fan (bonus if you are), the experience is unforgettable. It was interesting to see how six years are spent preparing the perfect oak casks before they even receive their first drop of spirit, making you realise why people appreciate Whisky- it really is worth the wait. We were told how the barley is dried by air, not peat, which means it doesn’t have a smokey flavour to the Whisky. After smelling the fumes through the fermentation process from the barley to the beer and finally distilling into the spirit, we were ready to sample some matured whisky. We tried 12, 18 and 21 year old whisky, complemented by a variety of chocolates before returning back to the hotel.
Located on the River Clyde, the Crowne Plaza Glasgow is set in the hub of an exciting entertainment and media area. The hotel isn’t far from Glasgow Airport and offers direct access to the SECC, Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, and is adjacent to the SSE Hydro. It’s the perfect location with conference resources onsite as well as surrounding facilities, giving you flexibility and something more unique. I especially like the panoramic views from the 15th floor, although heights don’t agree with me, the five second glimpse I managed to take was breath-taking.
We had pre-dinner cocktails and canapes in the Mezz Bar, which is situated above the restaurant and has access to the conference suites. The conference and meeting facilities are quite detached from the hotel, giving the sense of exclusivity, and if a large event was taking place, guests in the bedrooms are really remote and wouldn’t hear a thing. The function space is very diverse in the hotel being able to cater for up to 800 delegates in their largest suite, Argyll, as well as offering informal meeting space ideal for smaller functions.
Dinner was served in the relaxing atmosphere of the Mariner restaurant, surrounded by waves, which patterned the surrounding windows, to give the feeling of being close to the river. The restaurant is very much open plan so it could be packed full of people, but not seem like it is. The food was amazing! I especially enjoyed dessert- sticky toffee pudding!
The staff at the hotel were very helpful and polite from the moment we checked in. I would particularly like to mention the staff on reception when checking in as they left no stone unturned, answering questions before I had even asked them. I knew exactly where breakfast was served and at what times, I knew I had wifi and how to access it, and they even told me about the ‘special lift’. This is the lift to the far right of the reception desk and has a window where you can watch yourself climb each floor!
Now I’m sure you’re all wondering; how was my night’s sleep? To be honest, I never struggle getting a decent night’s sleep and I often find I have a better sleep when I stop in hotels, feeling more relaxed and chilled out. I love Crowne Plaza beds. They are so comfy and you get this little box that has a sleep spray for your pillow and a roll on for your pulse points to help you sleep- it sure is the little touches that make the biggest difference. I tend to say this all the time, however it just makes you feel more thought of and taken care of, especially if you’re a lone traveller.
Overall, Zoe and I had a brilliant weekend and really enjoyed experiencing Glasgow from a corporate perspective. Zoe took some amazing pictures and we would definitely recommend the hotel based on its key location and its onsite facilities being so flexible. Just to top it off, for corporate travellers there is also a gym and spa at the hotel!
Isn't it great when you get something back out of the hard work you put in to making your conference, meetings and events the best they can be?
Now, since it's coming to Valentine's weekend, we are kind of getting in the mood here at Hospitality Guaranteed and some of our cheesy romantic sides are bursting to surface. So we thought we would write you a little poem to show how much we value your loyalty and business...
Roses are red, Violets are blue, Don't miss out, Our loyalty's here for you!
Even though it maybe extremely cheesy, it's our way of saying we appreciate it's the little extras that can make a big difference. That's why we want to tell you about our fantastic loyalty scheme that gives a little back for those who deserve it.
Here's how it works: for every enquiry booked via Conference Stop over £1000* you can collect points, which can be transferred into valuable shopping vouchers.
And don't worry, if you're already involved in our loyalty scheme, we still have something for you too: increase your points by recommending your friends or colleagues, and when your recommendation books an event, which is confirmed over £1000, you will collect the additional points.
Again, your points can be redeemed as shopping vouchers either for yourself, used as a staff prize or as a donation to your chosen charity.
Click here to find out more about our loyalty scheme. What are you waiting for, don't miss out for much longer!
Sweeping staircase, stained glass windows, ornate ceilings and chandeliers are all period features stepping back in time to the 12th Century, at Beamish Hall in County Durham. Set in a 24-acre estate, surrounded by parkland of rare and exotic tree’s and breath-taking views, the four star classic country house hotel was originally built as a private estate and, now restored, still holds on to its loveable heritage.
We can promise you a very unique experience if you have the fortunate opportunity of visiting Beamish Hall, whether that is for business or pleasure; there is so much to do. Located just 1 mile from the renowned Beamish Museum, the hotel is situated in the perfect location for peace and privacy with a touch of character. Consisting of 42 bedrooms, seven event and conference spaces, The Stables bar, restaurant and micro-brewery, alongside Beamish Wild, which is an onsite outdoor activity centre, you will be spoilt for choice!
The Hospitality Guaranteed team visited the hotel Thursday 29th January 2015 to gain first-hand experience and get a sense of what the hotel has to offer. The team unanimously agreed a unique selling point of the hotel is its diversity. It has the ability to host a small board meeting to a large residential conference and be able to cater for all. The choice of eating at The Stables bar is perfect for residential conferences to give your delegates a change of scenery as it's separate from the main hotel. What is great about The Stables is it doesn’t feel corporate or formal, but rather cosy and relaxed due to the fact its open to non-residents. There is quite a homely feel to the place, with traditional roaring log fires, solid wooden furniture, and a high roof with exposed wooden beams. The chef here is award-winning amazing, offering a seasonal menu with the very best in local produce and flavours! The menu definitely fits all, ranging from good old fish and chips, with a Beamish Hall twist of ale beer batter, to a bit more up market Confit Duck Leg and braised red cabbage. The converted 18th century stable block is surrounded by a wide courtyard, with an outside continental bar, perfect for al fresco drinking and dining when the sun has its hat on- and it doesn’t stop there. The Stables is also home to the hotels very own micro-brewery offering real ale brewed onsite and you can even watch it brew on your own brewery tour!
The meeting space in the hotel comes with exceptional personal service, hosting up to 1000 guests across all rooms. Each room is grand in appearance, really giving a feel for the heritage of the property, especially in the smaller meeting rooms where you get more of a feel for what was once a 12th century home.
Whether you want to relax or be active, celebrate or focus on business, Beamish Hall offers you the choice, flexibility and privacy to do it your way.