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Industry Achievement Accolade for John Toner



Industry Achievement accolade for Mr Toner again transformed it into the spectacular hotel it is today.” John said: “I am absolutely delighted to have received this award. I have worked in this amazing industry for 45 years, 37 of which have been with Hastings Hotels.” James McGinn, General Manager of the Europa Hotel who worked as a trainee manager with John

John Toner, a Director of Hastings Hotel who is also the General Manager of the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa has received the Industry Achievement Award at the prestigious Licensed & Catering News Awards. John has worked for Hastings Hotels for 37 years and was General Manager of the Europa Hotel until he moved to the Slieve Donard . The Industry Achievement Award seeks to reward and acknowledge the excellent work carried out over the course of the recipient’s career and is presented to a long-serving individual in recognition of the unique contribution they have made to the industry.

Sir William Hastings, said: “This award is very well deserved and I am thrilled to see John receiving the recognition he deserves for his commitment to Northern Ireland’s tourism and hospitality industry. John has given a lifetime of service to the industry and in time he has become one of the most respected figures in the industry.” “John was key in turning the Europa into one of the world’s most famous hotels. He managed the hotel during its reconstruction and was at the helm of it when President Clinton stayed in 1995 and again in 1998. He then moved to the Slieve Donard in 2005 to oversee yet another major refurbishment and has once

added: “John is relentless in his pursuit of excellence, always calmly professional, his remarkable dedication and unassailable commitment to his career have marked him out as a giant in the trade. John emplyed me 17 years ago and taught me so much. He is a giant, and I am happy to be his dwarf!” John looks forward to retiring from the Slieve Donard at the end of August.



Case “Quacked” as Culture Duck Returns Home Safely

Passengers on a flight from Belfast to London recently could be forgiven for thinking ‘is it a bird? is it a plane? – no it’s a duck!’ after the Culture Duck from the Everglades Hotel enjoyed a flight across the Irish Sea after a group of pranksters waddled off with it. The duck was spotted by the eagle eyed Councillor McCusker, Deputy Mayor of Carrickfergus, in Belfast City Airport boarding an Aer Lingus flight to Gatwick and thanks to his eagle eyed vision, there was no need to call in the old bill as the light-feathered ducknappers who stole the 3-foot Culture Duck have been caught. Neil Devlin, General Manager of the Everglades Hotel said: “We were spitting feathers when we realised our Culture Duck had been taken, so you can imagine our delight when we found out that Councillor McCusker had spotted it boarding a flight last week.

“Thankfully, the culprits who we have agreed not to name, were wearing branded shirts which Cllr McCusker was able to recall when he read the story that the duck had been stolen, thus helping us identify his whereabouts. We’d like to thank Cllr McCusker for helping reunite us with our Culture Duck and bringing it home to roost,” Neil added. Cllr McCusker said: “I couldn’t

believe my eyes when I saw this duck boarding the plane. It really stood out as an unusual and oversized piece of hand luggage. As soon as I read the article I knew it was the duck that had been on my flight” The Culture Duck, who resides on the piano in the hotel foyer of the 4-star hotel, had enjoyed a flight to London and once Aer Lingus were made aware the duck had been taken without permission they offered to fly it home for free. Get your own culture duck when you stay at the Hotel this year.



Employer Award for Hastings Hotels Group

Janus Awards Congratulations to Soulef Bounaaja and Sheila Morton who were presented with awards at the 2013 Janus Awards. Soulef was awarded Housekeeping Manager of the Year Award and Sheila was presented with the award for Front Office Manager of the Year.

The Hastings Hotels has been recognised by the Belfast Metropolitan College at its first ever Apprenticeship and Training Awards for the leading hotel group’s sustained commitment to providing work opportunities and employment to individuals across Northern Ireland. Hastings Hotels was one of just seven employers to receive an Award . HR Manager, Mark McGurnaghan was presented with the award.

On behalf of everyone at Hastings Hotels, we would like to congratulate them both on these well deserved awards and thank them for all their hard work over the years! “An All Singing and All Dancing International Production delivering the Heart and Soul of Ireland!�

Celtic Dream at the Europa Hotel

Licensed and Catering News Awards Congratulations to Trainee Manager Niall Burns who has won yet another accolade for the Everglades Hotel! Niall has just been crowned the Top Trainee Manager in Northern Ireland at the recent Licensed and Catering News Awards!

the world, Celtic Dream will enchant and take audiences on an uplifting journey of song and dance against a backdrop of highly infectious, powerful and spirit invoking music.

Embodying the true spirit of Ireland, Celtic Dream is a breathtaking myriad of brilliant dance, For more information phenomenal vocals and glit- please visit tering costumes. Featuring a truly Internation- events.html al cast of the finest dancers and vocalists from around



Competition Corner: Win an Overnight stay with dinner at the Europa Hotel. Crown Online is delighted to give away to one lucky winner an overtnight stay with dinner at the Europa Hotel. For your chance to win this fabulous prize simply answer the following question:

Culture Afternoon Tea The Everglades have created their very own City of Culture themed Afternoon Tea! Relax in the lounge, sip a perfect cup of tea from china cups and indulge in a selection of ‘Peace Bridge Pastries’, dainty finger sandwiches and ‘Cultural Cupcakes’. For only £12 per person or £22 to include Champagne it’s the perfect way to spend an afternoon.

In which city is the Europa Hotel located? A) Derry - Londonderry B) Belfast C) Newry Please email your answer along with your name, address and phone number to info@hastingshotels. com. Competition closes on the 15th August 2013. Congratulations to James Stronge who was the lucky winner of our previous Crown competition to win an overnight stay at the Everglades Hotel.

Summer Superfood Salad! Have you tried our fabulous new seasonal dining promotion Summer Superfood Salad!

To book please call 028 7132 1066 or email conf@egh.hastingshotels. com

A delicious, healthy salad with Quinoa, Red Cabbage, Beetroot, Edamame Beans, Roasted Root Vegetables,Feta Cheese, Chestnut Mushrooms, Black Olives, Baby Cress and toasted Sesame Seeds. Served with Broighter Gold Rapeseed Oil and Aged Balsamic Vinegar.

Extend the visit and enjoy and overnight stay with Culture Afternooon Tea on arrival. For more infomration please click here.

Enjoy with a 175ml glass of our mouthwatering Moreau A delicious healthy salad with the taste of summer, Sauvignon Blanc, or a 275ml glass of locally produced the perfect partner to our mouthwatering Moreau to Sauvignon Armagh Pure Apple juice, the perfect partners ourBlanc or locally produced Armagh Apple Juice delicious Superfood Salad For only £12

Summer Superfood Salad!

Now available in La Scala, The Causerie, The Grill, The Garden Restaurant, Percy French Inn and Cultra Inn.



Duck Tales! We love to see and hear about all your Hastings Duck adventures! Please email your pictures and stories to!

Mr Top Hat duck with Paul Klein from Ulster Orchestra in America

The ducks enjoying the sun at the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa

Love Duck in Scotland enjoying the farm!

Culture Duck with Aer Lingus Staff flying home

Mr Top Hat duckwith Paul Klein from Ulster Orchestra in Boston-

Captain Culture Duck! Fying the plane home to Belfast

Giant Duck in the Harbour in Hong Kong! (Wish he was a Hastings Duck!!!)



Enjoying “The Good Life” at the Culloden!

Paul McKnight, Executive Head Chef at the Culloden Estate & Spa harvests a selection of herbs while Group Marketing Manager, Joanne Harvey enjoys a Mojito made from freshly picked mint from the new herb garden located in the estate of the 5-star hotel. Hastings Hotels is dedicated to using the freshest local produce and you can not get any fresher or more local than growing herbs in its own garden. The Culloden’s chefs pick a range of culinary herbs daily to meet their needs for flavourin, garnishing and in the creation of aromatic oils

and vinegars to complement the seasonal dishes served in The Mitre restaurant while bar staff use some of the herbs for the cocktails in the new Crozier Lounge. Guests are free to visit the

herb Garden at any time, but a stroll at dusk or in the early morning will awaken the senses as the fragrant herb aromas fill the air. Why not call in to sample a fabulous cocktail yourself!




Upgrades for Stormont, Slieve and Everglades Hotels

Both the Stormont and Everglades Hotel have recently undergone some refurbishment work to help improve the comfort and style of their bedrooms. The Stormont Hotel transformation has seen the introduction of 3 new Executive bedrooms and the redecorating of their previous Executive bedrooms on the first floor. The bedrooms and bathrooms have been beautifully decorated to give them a bright and modern feel. The Everglades Hotel has recently had the beautiful Woodrow Wilson Suite redecorated. We think you will agree the new blue colour scheme looks amazing and helps give the room a stylish new finsih.

New Executive Bedrooms at the Stormont Hotel.

Recently redecorated Woodrow Wiloson Suite at the Everglades Hotel

The Brunel Lounge is the latest addition to the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa. Designed to be used as a meeting room and reception space on its own, or in conjunction with the Chandelier room with which it interconnects. This new lounge is located at the front of the hotel facing directly towards Slieve Donard Mountain, after which the hotel is named. The Brunel Lounge at the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa

For more information or to book any of these rooms please call 028 9047 1066.


Loving Life in Hospitality Colleen Grant Head Concierge Slieve Donard Resort and Spa How did you find your way into the hospitality industry? I was always interested in the Hospitality industry and working with the public. I applied for the front office receptionist job in the Slieve Donard Hotel. Within a few days I got a letter inviting me for an interview. I jumped for joy. Once on board my manager recognised my potential and nominated me for receptionist of the year. I got through to the final stages so that gave me the motivation and confidence I needed to continue with this line of work. Each year Hastings Hotels recruit potential Managers through their Trainee Management programme, I spoke to my Manager to show my interest who then encouraged me to apply. This

Online was two years of working through the departments in each of the 6 Hotels. It was not easy, hard work, long hours and many late nights but it was well worth it and superb experience.

very hard and as he also works in the hospitality industry getting time together was very difficult, but it made our time together more precious.

What are you doing now and how did you get there?

What’s the most inspiring/rewarding day you’ve had in your career?

My position at present is Head Concierge at The Slieve Donard. Having just completed the Trainee Management programme I saw this position advertised and decided to apply. The General Manager was looking for someone who would lead and manage the concierge department. I saw this as such a rewarding role, as Concierge are the first and last people that our guests visiting the hotel would come into contact with. Within the industry this role is seen to be a male dominant role. I was actually the first female Head Concierge in the hotel industry in Northern Ireland! I think I still am! I saw this as a challenge and I knew I had the motivation and determination to fulfil this role and the requirements that this prestigious large and busy resort would be needing. Have you had a mentor along the way, either formally or informally? I have had many mentors. My General Manager, John Toner who is extremely well known throughout the industry, our Chairman Sir William Hastings. The other Directors have also given me encouragement and the press have been amazing in their support for me in my ‘male’ role! In every one of the 6 Hastings Hotels I worked closely with each head of department. Without their help and support I dont know how I would have learned the industry as I have. My fiancé Daniel also supported me every step of the way. Spending long periods of time away from home was

Everyday is rewarding when you enjoy your job, but one occasion does stand out. A guest who came to the hotel for lunch took the time to write to the Managing Director of the group, Dr Howard Hastings to thank myself and another Manager for our quick response and action to her unwell sister. As a first aider for the hotel, I regularly get called to help people but we never hear how they recover. This lady made sure to tell us how her sister had progressed. What do you love most about your job? I love that we are an evergrowing family. Without my team and every other team in the hotel, I would not enjoy my job half as much. We work so closely together and have a great laugh. This is important because I have read before that if you enjoy your job it does not feel like you are working at all! (quote from Confuscious, I believe) This is important not only for my job satisfaction but for others. If that ever stops, it will be time to move on. Intervirew taken from the UK’s top trade publication, ‘Caterer and Hotelkeeper’, June 2013

Crown Magazine July 2013  

Please few our second issue of Crown Magazine.

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