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JUNE 2013 | ÂŁ4.95



For the independent hotelier who means business

What dreams may come Making beds the centrepiece of the room

A modern take on British quirkiness FLEMINGS MAYFAIR

HOTEL Editor’s OWNER Editor Sam Guiry


Editorial Assistant Lauren Morton

Sales Executives Daniel Holliday Jay Man Accounts Maureen Scrivener

Customer Services 01206 767 797

Welcome to the July issue of the magazine and it appears the big story for this month is the welcome news that the hospitality trade is leading the way towards an economic recovery in the UK. The CBI’s quarterly survey showed that hotels, restaurants and bars have seen their biggest rise in trade for almost six years and the CBI also suggests that the entire services sector is set for a healthy period of growth in the coming quarter. It also seems that there is more good news for those in the hospitality and leisure industries with weather forecasters finally indicating that summer is on the way. British weather services experts are predicting a sustained heatwave in the last week of July and the first week of August, coinciding nicely with the school holidays and one of the busiest times of the year for many UK hotels. Let’s hope this is more accurate than the soaring temperatures they forecast for the end of spring!

Contributing writers Peter Ducker, Peter Hancock, Angie Petkovic.


And So To Bed

Design Creative Bonfire

CONTENTS Trade talk 4

Watch this space 34

News and views from the hospitality sector

The latest in TV trends

Trend talk 10

Chef’s domain 39

Ideas from the design sector to inspire

Addictive island resort 12 ISSN 2049-7709

Hotel Owner is published monthly by:

A modern take on British quirkiness 17 What dreams may come 22 Stunning centre pieces 24

Mulberry Publications Ltd, Wellington House, Butt Road, Colchester CO3 3DA Tel: 01206 767 797 • Fax: 01206 767 532

A contemporary with classic values 27

Tech talk 28

The editor and publishers do not guarantee the accuracy of statements made by contributors or advertisers, or accept responsibility for any statement that they express in this publication. The opinion of the contributors may not necessarily be the opinion of the publishers. Articles are considered for publication on the basis that they are the author’s original work. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the permission of the publishers.

Innovations giving today’s guests tomorrow’s technology

A smart solution 32

Table talk 40 News and views from the culinary sector

Fresh thinking 44 Serving up the latest ideas from the food and drinks sector

Chef’s signature dish 48 This month we meet Jason Friend, head chef at the Mercure Milton Keynes Abbey Hill Hotel

Cold comfort 51 When purchasing refrigerators for the hotel kitchen, there are many factors to consider, from energy efficiency to accurate temperature control

National account manager for Forbes Hotel TV Gill Russell says SmartTV will lead the way in guest room entertainment

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It’s Britain versus the weather

Trade talk

News and views from the hospitality sector

The great British breakfast scandal Recent research has shown that 21 per cent of guests leave a hotel without breakfast in the morning. This not only means a lost revenue opportunity, but may also represent a poor experience for the visitor. In response to this, CIAB has launched a free and confidential online Lost Revenue calculator to help hoteliers instantly determine how much revenue they could be losing from customers not taking the breakfast options offered.

The new Elastoplast campaign includes an interactive YouTube channel that predicts the weather in a local region or holiday destination. The company says: “To celebrate our infamous British resolve, we are proud to launch ‘Britain vs the Weather’ as Elastoplast introduces a new range of plasters. We rejoice in British stoicism in the face of extreme weather, so join us by visiting on the link below, type in where you’re planning to go over the weekend and discover what weather awaits you at your destination.” With many still longing for the arrival of the summer, this could prove a useful tool. Go to elastoplastuk/britainvweather

The calculator requires the input of a small amount of data, including the occupancy rate of the hotel, whether breakfast is offered and the breakfast take-up. With this information the calculator will provide a figure of the potential loss of revenue as a result of either breakfast not being offered or customers opting out of breakfast. It is available online at:

Independent Hotel Show seems set for another successful year Over 65 per cent of stand space has already been sold for this year’s Independent Hotel Show. The business event for the independent luxury and boutique hotel industry, the show welcomes leading quality suppliers to its ever expanding exhibitor list. With a strong representation of companies from across the full breadth of the hotel supply chain, the remaining stand space is limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Key suppliers already confirmed for 2013 include Samsung Electronics UK, ADA Cosmetics, Newhey Carpets, Alexander Rose, Conran & Partners, Tivoli Audio, Premier Software, Sipsmith Independent Spirits, VIAGGI By Nestle Professional SPB, and sponsor of the event Ecompter. Managing director of Ecompter Ville Valorinta said: “Ecompter is delighted to be a sponsor of this year’s Independent Hotel Show. The show has established itself as 4 | Hotel Owner

a platform that brings together innovative and essential products that are invaluable to today’s hotel managers. We look forward to meeting new hotel clients at the event and highlighting the environmental and economic importance of carbon footprint reduction, as well as the value of being able

to demonstrate these reductions to guests and staff so that they are able to actively contribute to the hotel’s efforts.” To receive further information on how to be involved with the show please contact Luke Perry on 0207 886 3065 or

BDRC Continental reveals the results of its annual global hotel guest survey

Specialist hotel research consultancy BDRC Continental has launched the 2013 Global Hotel Guest Survey programme. The survey is based on nationally representative samples of British business and leisure hotel guests and has been conducted annually since 1982. It reveals significant changes to the structure of the market, hotel guest behaviour and the hierarchy of hotel brands operating in Britain. The key highlights are as follows: ■ A summer jam-packed with major events helped make 2012 an excellent year for the domestic British short break market, with demand soaring by eight million room nights to 43 million. ■ By contrast, the report highlights a depressed business transient and residential conference market, with demand contracting by five million room nights to 53 million. ■ The combined impact of a strong domestic leisure market and a weaker business market was a slight contraction in total domestic room nights to 106 million. ■ Hilton remains the market-leading brand on a composite measure of brand performance, but Whitbread’s budget brand Premier Inn continues its rapid progress and moves into second place, also becoming the most widely used brand for business stays. ■ BDRC Continental’s award for ‘Most

Improved Brand’ performance goes to Accor’s mid-market brand, Mercure, which has seen significant increases in consumer awareness since its recent expansion in Britain. ■ InterContinental and Hyatt are, respectively, the number one brands for their own guests’ ratings on the ‘likelihood to recommend’ measure, for business and leisure. ■ A key theme of the report is the coming of the age of mobile technology and social media as channels for interaction between guests and hotels. ■ Eighty-two per cent of British business travellers own a mobile device that gives them internet access. ■ Improvements in functionality, as well as the increase in adoption, are leading to much more widespread use of mobile technology to search for hotels, review facilities, and make or change bookings. ■ Eighty-three per cent of British business travellers now engage with social media. ■ Free WiFi in the hotel is the number one functional product/service priority for business guests. Commenting on the British Hotel Guest Survey results, Matt Costin, director at BDRC Continental, said: “This year’s report highlights the dynamism of the hotel sector; significant shifts in the structure of market demand; fluctuations in the overall hierarchy of brand performance; and improving technology which is changing consumer behaviour. As ever, it is vital for senior decision makers to understand the business implications of these changes and to put the voice of the customer at the heart of their strategic decision-making.” The 2013 British Hotel Guest Survey by BDRC Continental was conducted amongst 1,000 business travellers and 1,000 leisure travellers, representative of the hotel-staying British population. Equivalent surveys are conducted by BDRC Continental in 35 of the world’s most significant hotel markets, across five continents. For further details go to

Marketing matters Angie Petkovic helps a hotelier to utilise an unused space in their property to bring in more revenue


I fell out with a previous employee and they’ve locked me out of my domain. Can I get it back because without it I can’t put my website back up? That is such a shame to hear and unfortunately there isn’t anything you can do about it if they have changed the registration details to their own. Regrettably these scenarios happen quite often, as people underestimate the importance of their domain until something happens. This is a case of lesson learnt, but to stop yourself and other hoteliers falling into a similar position it is worth bearing in mind how valuable an asset a domain is to your business. Your website represents your brand identity and is a key business driver, enabling people to decide if they would like to stay at your hotel. It is fundamental that you keep track of your domain details as these act as a ‘signpost’ for your website. It is also important to know exactly who has access to your domain account and to change passwords if people leave; plus, don’t let your web company manage it, as this is another common risk. A website can be redesigned but if your domain is compromised, especially if it specifically relates to your hotel, for example our own – – you will have to apply for a new domain, which might not be a 100 per cent fit. This potentially results in loss of trade, or worse, customers might be misled with the wrong website, which could be brand damaging. You will need to efficiently remarket your new url for your website and change any information, collateral or details.


Special thanks to Frank Domains who helped with technical advice for this column (

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Keeping hold of our talent Chief executive Peter Ducker FIH explains how the Institute of Hospitality plans to tackle the brain drain and reinforce industry-academia relations

I believe that the hospitality industry offers great career opportunities, rewards talent and recognises commitment. Yet it is still perceived by many as a job rather than a career. This perception of our industry contributes to the lack of visibility that hospitality receives from government, despite its massive contribution to the economy and the robustness that we have exhibited during the recession. The rate of attrition, the brain drain of talented people dropping out into other sectors, has been an issue for too long. If we do not take steps to address this issue and its causes we face the risk of a major skills shortage as the general economy recovers. Here are two anecdotes that speak volumes. I was at dinner with a senior executive responsible for the ‘graduate fast-track’ of a global hotel company. At the time my daughter was keen to study hotel management. He advised her to take a business degree, adding: “We can add the hospitality bits later.” She went to Aston University Business School and has found a very satisfying career outside our industry. In my opinion, his advice was wrong. I was speaking with the head of one of our leading schools of hospitality management and his view was that its sole 6 | Hotel Owner

responsibility is to educate; what happens afterwards is not their problem. While I can understand how he has that view, I believe that all stakeholders in the industry – including vocational educators – have a role to play in reducing attrition and retaining talent. A massively important benchmark for further education and higher education establishments is the employment percentage of leavers. A more challenging metric, and one which employers would value, is the percentage of graduates still working in hospitality after five or 10 years. While this may not be an issue at the moment, when the UK economy recovers and opportunities open up again, if hospitality is not on top of its game it will suffer a major skills shortage and consequent reputational damage that will further impact its image. We need to attract enthusiastic and intelligent entrants; educate them well; plan their development; nurture them; motivate them; support them with careerlong learning; and give them a feeling of belonging and a sense of identity. Educators, employers, trade associations, individual managers and supervisors all have a role and responsibility, and of course, the Institute of Hospitality (IOH) as the professional body is central to it all. Pursuing this goal is a key issue for us. I see the Institute of Hospitality as being the glue that holds these components together, giving focus and providing the platform. So what’s the solution? How can the Institute of Hospitality lead a new initiative to address this important issue? ■ Put more energy and weight behind our Education Membership Scheme. ■ We need a champion on the academic staff of each participating college, to whom we will give membership, support and collateral. ■ In return for dedicated IOH poster space, we will maintain a campaign highlighting initiatives and resources which are available to students. ■ We are producing a ‘how to’ management guide on optimising the benefits (for both employer and student) of work experience placements.

We are creating education liaison officers throughout our branch network. The role of these liaison officers is to marshal offers of support from members who are prepared to spend time meeting students and talking about their career experiences and facilitate this with their network of establishments. We have two motivations in these endeavours. Firstly to ensure that by the time hospitality students enter the workplace they are both fully prepared for what awaits them and, secondly, fully aware of the role that the Institute of Hospitality can play in providing valuable networking, career-long support and lifelong learning.

EDUCATORS, EMPLOYERS, TRADE ASSOCIATIONS, INDIVIDUAL MANAGERS AND SUPERVISORS ALL HAVE A ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITY, AND OF COURSE, THE INSTITUTE OF HOSPITALITY AS THE PROFESSIONAL BODY IS CENTRAL TO IT ALL We believe that active membership of the Institute helps managers get better jobs, and there is evidence to prove this. Members of professional institutes earn 37 per cent more than university graduates in their lifetime, according to a recent report, and are also nine per cent more likely to be employed.* The future lies in a united and co-ordinated approach, which the Institute of Hospitality is uniquely placed to lead. Not a member yet? Membership of the Institute of Hospitality provides a range of benefits including networking, information services, a free annual magazine subscription and discounts off essential purchases. It also gives you professional recognition, giving you a competitive edge and boosting your career prospects. Join today at: *London Economics/Consultative Committee for Professional Management Organisations research, 2009

Free Wi-Fi offered at Thistle Hotels Whether it’s unlimited Skype calls with the office, or live Twitter commentary during a conference – people booking a day delegate package at Thistle’s 31 hotels across the UK can now enjoy a free and fast internet connection. The complimentary service means that meeting delegates get business-grade connection speeds, with no additional cost


Northern Ireland’s first female concierge

(excluding meeting rooms booked on a ‘hire only’ basis). The move follows significant investment from Thistle Hotels and will allow day delegates and business travellers to log on in all areas of the hotel, whether operating from a laptop, smartphone or tablet, attending a conference, meeting or event, or simply using the hotel as their London base – making remote working stressfree and keeping in touch even easier. David Grosfils, operations director at Thistle Hotels, commented: “For business travellers, the ability to stay connected, whether it be in a conference hall, meeting room or hotel lobby is absolutely critical. In launching this service we hope to provide guests with the tools they need to be at their most productive.”

The Hastings Hotels has appointed Northern Ireland’s first ever female head concierge at its 4-star Slieve Donard Resort & Spa in Newcastle. Colleen Grant, who joined the hotel in 2009 as a receptionist, has progressed through the ranks at the Slieve Donard having successfully completed the Hastings trainee management programme. Colleen was the first female concierge working in Northern Ireland until last month, when Hastings Hotels appointed Lesley McLeod in its 5-star Culloden Estate & Spa Hotel.

organisation is owned by its members, each of whom has joined in order to gain from the combined purchasing and marketing muscle that enables us to compete with the groups. Obviously, I would not wish to give the impression that this is some kind of self-aggrandising fellowship that excludes others just for the fun of it. Quite the reverse – the consortium exists to provide effective marketing support and is judged every day on the commercial value of its activities. If we fail our members, they will leave. However, the exclusivity that comes from our unusual selection process does give customers a degree of extra assurance about quality standards, and as the brand becomes better known, the need to maintain those standards intensifies. Significantly, over the last couple of years as our numbers have approached the limit we have received added interest from some excellent hotels around the country, incuding a few that are already affiliated to an international consortium whose rules banned dual membership until very recently.

I am often asked why we don’t simply raise the limit to 60, 75 or 100 hotels. After all, doing so would swell our budget, and perhaps even my own salary. The fact is most of our members feel the size is about right and, as we have no profits to make, there is no need to grow the consortium. Instead, all our efforts go into looking after the members we have and using finite resources as efficiently as we can. Some of the better social and sporting clubs have waiting lists stretching years ahead, and far from putting applicants off, this merely stiffens their resolve to join. There must be a lesson in there somewhere for hoteliers… if we sell rooms too cheaply we make ourselves look desperate, whereas if we hold out for decent rates then maybe we resemble the sort of club that everyone is just gagging to join. Peter Hancock is chief executive of Pride of Britain Hotels, a consortium of 44 luxury independent hotels throughout the UK and the official hotel partner to the National Trust (

Talking point G Groucho Marx famously ssaid, “I wouldn’t want tto belong to any club tthat would accept me aas a member,” using his llegendary wit to cast doubt on the credentials d oof the club in question, while insulting himself w at the h same time. I llove that quote because there is so much truth in it. Who would want to join an organisation that any old Tom, Dick or Groucho can get into? And don’t many of us aspire to be part of something elite and therefore difficult to join? It has taken me some time to realise that the hotel marketing consortium I am employed to manage is actually a club. By this, I mean its membership is limited and strictly controlled by the members themselves; in our case a maximum of 50 hotels can be in Pride of Britain at any time, and new applicants are always inspected by an existing member hotelier before being put to the vote. Like a club, the

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Hospitality Guild forms partnership with City and Guilds Vocational education organisation City and Guilds has become a founder member of the Hospitality Guild, and together the organisations aim to deliver cutting edge training at Hospitality House, the Guild’s flagship training and development centre in London. The agreement will see the two organisations work together to achieve the mutual objective of improving the standards of professional development in the hospitality industry. Tony Sharp, industry, products and services manager at City and Guilds,

said: “The hospitality industry is growing rapidly, which brings enormous career opportunities. We want to inspire people to discover their talents and unlock their potential so that they can gain the skills they need to succeed.” Suzy Jackson, executive director for the Hospitality Guild, added: “The latest partnership with City and Guilds clearly demonstrates our commitment to improving the standards of professional development in the hospitality industry and the passion at the very highest level to help us achieve that goal.”

Could you benefit from a tax windfall? Managing director of Catax Solutions Mark Tighe says hoteliers are missing out on rebates from the Inland Revenue With the grip of the recession seeming to tighten year upon year, it’s no great surprise that hotel owners are striving to keep costs to a minimum and make every penny count. While the Olympic and Jubilee celebrations last year made way for a brief boost to London’s tourism, the rest of the UK is still heavily reliant upon an economy which has been stretched to breaking point by the financial crisis and inflation. But it’s not all doom and gloom; although British consumers and businesses are undoubtedly more reluctant than ever to fork out for costly trips and holidays, this by no means spells disaster for hotel owners. Why? Due to unclaimed capital allowances, hotel owners could be due a hefty tax rebate from the Inland Revenue. In the current climate, a windfall could be just what you need to bolster your business. Put simply, capital allowances are a form of tax relief available to anyone who incurs capital expenditure buying, building or refurbishing commercial property. In short, they are a means of reducing your tax bill. Most recently, research carried out by Big Four chartered accountant, Deloitte, 8 | Hotel Owner

has shown that more than nine in 10 UK commercial property owners will be owed a significant tax rebate in the region of thousands, or even tens of thousands of pounds and as hotels are considered commercial property, this applies to you. At Catax Solutions, we have tried to put a figure on the amount of capital allowances that are currently sitting unclaimed within commercial property and have estimated it to be in the region of £70 billion. The question you might be asking yourself now, is why didn’t I know about this? Capital allowances are one of the more obscure areas of tax, and with an £11 billion deficit to contend with, it’s not surprising that the Inland Revenue hasn’t been overly active in promoting them! Furthermore, it’s unlikely that the accountants who work with SMEs such as hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs, have a full understanding of the intricacies of capital allowances. The truth is, it can be incredibly difficult to identify qualifying items within commercial premises. So while accountants may claim on the more obvious items such as carpets, curtains or reception desks, they will not be accustomed to delving deep into the items which can prove to be far more costly to hotels. This is what capital allowance specialists like to call ‘intrinsic fabrication’. By contrast, capital allowances companies carry out in-depth forensic surveys of properties and use thousands of detailed matrices to uncover qualifying

assets and their value. In hotels, this might include air conditioning or heating systems, lighting and security systems, pipework and drainage, among other forms of embedded features. As hotel owners, you will be fully aware of the expenditure involved in fitting these items, given the need for extra electronics, lights, sprinkler systems, air-con and plumbing in each room. Capital allowances are your right and not a privilege and if you have purchased a hotel and/or have made significant improvements to it, you deserve the tax benefit. For hotel owners who have dealt with the effects of the recession for the last few years, a tidy sum from the Inland Revenue would be a great advantage. The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has partnered with CATAX Solutions to raise awareness of unclaimed capital allowances among hotel and restaurant owners — specifically their ability to make claims retrospectively. To date, CATAX Solutions has generated an average tax saving of £46,200 for businesses in the hospitality industry. Chief executive officer of the BHA Ufi Ibrahim commented: “At the British Hospitality Association, we champion and we serve our members. We are committed to raising awareness of vehicles that hospitality establishments can use and to support our members to achieve greater financial performance. CATAX Solutions is a leading specialist in capital allowances and we are confident that their work for our members will position many restaurant and hotel owners on an even stronger financial footing.” For further information go to


Trend talk

Ideas from the design sector to inspire

Secluded South Hams hotel offers 21st century comfort Owners of Soar Mill Cove, the Makepeace family, have invested over £2 million to evolve their business into a versatile hotel offering, in line with their view of what the modern-day South Hams guest is seeking. Part funded via a loan from Lloyds bank, the current redevelopment includes the draw of an award-winning restaurant, new spa, pool and self-catering facilities, which the family hopes will extend their season to embrace the trends of Devon’s year-round tourist trade.

The three new eco-style self-catering retreats with full kitchen, dining and living area facilities are each cedar topped to blend in with the rugged Devonshire exterior. Almost all areas of the Soar Mill Cove Hotel have been refurbished with the interiors overseen by Jenny Makepeace and her daughter Becky with a calm, naturally nautical theme evident throughout the public areas. The family envisage that it will take six years for the hotel to realise the investment made and that turnover will increase by at least 20 per cent.

Functionality and a touch of urban flair New from VitraA – the company that says it can turn bathrooms into beautiful eperiences – is the Metropole series. All components of the new range are made from white ceramic. They are complemented by the furniture from the Options series, which picks up on the innovative design of the sanitaryware with

Luxury London hotel puts the finishing touches to Art Deco design The Ampersand, a luxury boutique hotel in the heart of London has been the subject of a painstaking and intricate refurbishment that saw the contracts team from CP Hart source products for a wide portfolio of schemes. As the design brief called for a consistent Art-Deco design throughout the hotel, the team chose brassware and shower valves from the Crosswater portfolio. Crosswater designed bespoke brassware solutions including bespoke tap spouts and engraved shower plates to make it simple for guests to operate the luxury showers. CP Hart’s Ian Dutch said: “Securing a prestigious contract like the 111 rooms and suites at the Ampersand was an exciting project for us but involved a complex refurbishment where design decisions had to be made quickly to accommodate the hotel’s schedule of works. We drew upon suppliers that we were confident could supply high quality products that outperformed expectations and worked with our budget and installation schedule.”

over counter basins and under counter basins and different counter brackets. The company adds: “Through the combination of highest functionality and design, the ceramics collection meets the expectations of the most diverse requirements and can be individually adjusted to the different conditions.” Information: 10 | Hotel Owner

Latest additions to Hilton’s portfolio undergo £20 million refurbishment

DoubleTree by Hilton, one of 10 unique brands within Hilton Worldwide’s portfolio, has announced that it will open two new hotels in London this summer.

The latest additions are DoubleTree by Hilton London Hyde Park and DoubleTree by Hilton London Ealing, both of which are in the final stages of extensive refurbishments totalling £20 million. Hilton’s John Greenleaf said: “With the introduction of hotels like DoubleTree by Hilton London Ealing and Hyde Park, the DoubleTree brand is becoming synonymous with upscale hotel accommodation and a personalised and welcoming level of service, style and hospitality, both within the UK and around the world. For more information on both hotels, visit

Methven extends Kaha Satinjet range Global designer and manufacturer of showers and tapware Methven has revamped and extended its award-winning range of Kaha Satinjet showers in the UK and Europe. The range now offers a stunning whiteon-chrome handset, with a slim faceplate and crisp and continuous soft curves, which the company says “capture the sleekness of modern design and technology.” The revamped grey-on-chrome handset and shower head are also slimmer with tapering lines and soft curves. All Kaha showers are dual function, offering Satinjet spray and massage spray. The company’s patented Satinjet technology uses twin jets of water that collide and turn into thousands of tiny droplets and the Kaha range delivers a greater coverage with over 300,000 water droplets per second. For more information, visit

Kept in the dark Fledging company Lights Out Blinds has launched a portable, pop-up blind that promises to keep rooms dark whatever it’s like outside. Designed so that babies and young children can have regular naps and sleep, no matter how light it is outside, the blind has already scooped Silver in the ‘Travel Sleep Category’ at the Mother & Baby Awards. Inventor of the Lights Out Blind Anne Clay commented: “I invented Lights Out because I was tired of battling with blankets, towels and even bin bags to try and keep my children’s bedrooms dark. After speaking to other mums who were experiencing the same problem, I decided to invent a quick and inexpensive solution.” The blinds are easy to use and have no pulleys, ropes or complicated mechanisms. Each pack contains two blinds, which allows for positioning and flexibility, and means it will cover windows of all different shapes and sizes. For more information go to

Uno Spanish Tapas, Sutton, Surrey

Table tops add a touch of style Andy Thornton has recently introduced solid ash table tops to its extensive furniture product range. The solid timber tops look stunning when matched with cast iron table bases and contemporary chairs and will complement almost any table/chair combination. They are ideal for bars, restaurants and cafés, particularly where natural materials are preferred. As well as being a light-coloured, tough and very hard-wearing material, the key attribute to solid ash is its distinctive and attractive coarse open grain, which when carefully hand finished enhances this feature, making the wood come alive. The tops are offered in a wide selection of sizes from 600 millimetres circular or round, right up to 1,200 by 800 millimetres rectangular. Other sizes can be manufactured to order. The unique finish to the ash tops is achieved by carefully wire-brushing the untreated timber by hand, then adding a stain and patina colour before adding two coats of contract grade flat matt lacquer to highlight and enhance the distinctive grain. Information:

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island resort Emily Mawson sets out to discover whether Auchrannie Resort on the Isle of Arran is as appealing as its marketing team claims

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“Beware, Auchrannie is addictive,” warns the resort’s brochure. Nestled beneath Arran’s highest peak Goatfell, it comprises two 4-star hotels, three restaurants, two leisure clubs and 30 5-star lodges. “We felt the island suffered from a lack of indoor leisure facilities, both from a tourism and a community perspective,” says 52-yearold Linda Johnston, who bought Auchrannie in 1988 with her husband Iain. “Auchrannie has beautiful and substantial grounds and we saw the potential to create a quality hotel, restaurant and leisure facility,” she adds. While the result might sound like a collection of incoherent elements, the 40-acre resort has a unifying ambience that blends the youthful and modern with a relaxed atmosphere. A colourful interior with playful furniture characterises its familyfriendly Spa Resort, with its modern white façade set off by a backdrop of heathery fells. Opposite, the House Hotel is the quintessential Scottish huntsman’s lodge and a nod to 1869, when it was built by a Glasgow merchant. A charming brick building with stepped gables, it boasts 14 | Hotel Owner

views over Glen Cloy, while inside open fires and warm lounges are complemented by muted hues of burgundy or pistachio and wooden fittings. Although Linda’s background is in teaching, and Iain worked in retail and property, the couple have proven their business sense and spent £11.5 million developing Auchrannie, with what they describe as “great assistance” from finance and development director Ronnie Mann, a chartered accountant with a

hospitality background. When the Johnstons purchased the estate, it had only a basic hotel. They reduced the building to a shell and four months later the House Hotel emerged. Comprising 12 en-suite bedrooms and the Garden Restaurant (now eighteen69), it expanded three years later when the 16 en-suite rooms, Brambles restaurant and chalet-like leisure centre were added. In 1989 the Johnstons opened their first luxury lodges (which were awarded 5 Crowns Deluxe by the Scottish Tourist Board), completing a cluster of 23 by 1997. Subsequently, after years of negotiations with the local landowner, they built the 36-bedroom Spa Resort. It opened in 2001 and, alongside a restaurant, retail unit and treatment rooms, it has a leisure centre with a 20-metre pool. The Johnstons’ innovation in creating a year-round facility has not only enabled them to avoid the impact of the recession, it has also had a positive impact on the island. Executive director of Visit Arran Sheila Gilmore explains: “Every village can benefit,

as Auchrannie has extended the typically short season.” Almost 30 years after buying Auchrannie, the Johnstons are doing anything but resting on their laurels. As well as continual renovations, there have been several developments. Among the most recent are the Auchrannie Playbarn and the addition of seven luxury lodges (£380,000 and £1.4 million investments respectively). “Our ideas come from listening to guests and from keeping our ears to the ground with regard to developments in the industry,” says Linda. Linda also explains how, despite her husband’s retirement, Auchrannie remains very much a family business. She adds: “The shareholders remain the same as in 1988 and two family members still work in the business.” Linda also says that they aim to treat their 128 staff (who have an average service length of just over four years and are responsible for the resort’s Customer Service Excellence Award at the 2011 Herald Scottish Family Business Awards) as family too. Ultimately, it appears that it’s the outstanding scenery that holds the greatest appeal to visitors. Linda concludes: “Auchrannie’s success is intrinsically linked to the beautiful island environment. We encourage our guests to get out and about, as we know they will become addicted to it and will become regular guests.”

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moderntake on

BRITISH QUIRKINESS Award-winning Suna Interior Design has recently completed work on the Flemings Mayfair and describes the end result as the “best of contemporary boutique with an individual touch to each room”

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Work on Flemings, located in London’s Half Moon Street, started in the summer of 2012 with the Books Room, an alluring and quirky design that centred around wallpaper by Young & Battaglia. The brief was to be strong with colour and to maintain the essentially British personality of the hotel, while creating a contemporary atmosphere. Items have been specifically designed for the project, such as unique, labelled cushions and bespoke wallpaper. The cushions quirkily portray the frontage of the hotel using artwork commissioned by Suna Interior Design from Adam Regester and bring together the colour palette in each room, while the wallpapers give each design and room its unique individuality. For example, the full wall photographic image of the tree in the Tree Room was sourced and works in context, to expand the room, while punches of colour add opulence. The hotel also dared to embrace design features such 18 | Hotel Owner

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as the dog artwork and the antler chandelier in the Luggage Room. Rebecca Tucker, lead designer on the project and one of Suna Interior Design’s directors, said: “We want people to feel the fun, luxury, warmth and quirkiness – we want to create a memorable moment every time anyone walks into a room. Repeat visitors will either want the same rooms or they will want to try something different. There is something quite special for everyone.” 20 | Hotel Owner



dreams may come Chris Ward, marketing director for Hypnos, explains the importance of choosing the right beds for your hotel

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With so many bed options available, hoteliers must not only consider each individual guest’s comfort level, but also what each room will be used for. For example, will it be a single room, a twin, a double, or a family room? Each has its own considerations, with various solutions to match. For example, in a family room, hotel owners could opt for a double bed, plus a sofa bed. In a double room, they can opt for a zip and link mattress, which could then be easily turned into two singles, thus increasing the room’s versatility. Whether in your own bed, or spending some time away from home, the importance of a good night’s sleep is well documented. It can improve posture, leave you looking younger and increases efficiency and productivity at work, therefore a good bed should always be a key consideration for any hotelier. When choosing a bed, there are many various types of mattress to choose from. Hypnos specialises in pocket sprung mattresses as we believe this type of mattress will give the most comfortable night’s sleep. A pocket sprung mattress is designed to actively minimise pressure points on the body, helping to increase blood circulation and alleviate tension, which in turn allows muscles to relax. The independent movement of each individual pocket spring means that the mattress will mould itself to the body, leading to a natural alignment of the spine. In terms of the fillings used, our mattresses use different mixtures of natural materials such as wool, cashmere, silk, alpaca, mohair, latex, camel hair and silver, ensuring that each mattress is breathable, which promotes healthy air flow, regulating body temperature and reducing body moisture, while repelling allergens. Clare Garrard, director of boutique hotel the Red Lion Inn in Babcary, says: “We believe that a beautifully crafted bed is at the heart of any boutique hotel room, as it ensures that every guest gets the best night’s sleep possible.” “Each of our six en-suite bedrooms has a Hypnos bed, with two using the zip and link system, meaning our rooms are as versatile as possible – a key consideration for a small hotel such as ours.” Ian Knipe, proprietor of the Tracy Park Golf & Country Hotel, adds: “With customers telling us sleeping in our beds is like sleeping on a cloud, it is clear why we chose to fill all 42 of our rooms with Hypnos

beds. We understand the impact that sleep has on our guests and as a golf club, we really want our customers to leave us feeling as relaxed and refreshed as possible, so that they can play the best golf possible and we believe that sleep is an integral part of that.” For hotel owners looking to increase room occupancy and maximise revenues, a sofa bed offers fantastic flexibility. Since their inception, sofa beds have developed significantly since their original, somewhat dated designs and associated negative connotations, such as uncomfortable mattresses and garish designs. Sofa beds have now evolved to include deluxe finishes and sumptuous fabrics. They are extremely space efficient, offering additional seating when not in use and can then be quickly and easily converted into a double bed. Sofa beds can also be used to convert any double room into a family room, doubling occupancy and increasing the room’s potential price. Hypnos has recently extended its range of sofa beds with the boutique hotel market in mind, to include a variety of designs and options, enabling hoteliers to personalise the sofa bed to meet every room’s décor. We have deliberately given our customers a wider selection of upholstery fabrics to choose from, as well as a range of stained wooden feet and matching or contrasting cushions, so that hotel owners can customise their sofa beds and complement each room perfectly. As the squeeze on consumer spending continues, we understand the pressures that many hoteliers are now looking to decrease room rates, while maintaining profit margins. We believe that the key to overcoming this is versatility. If our customers can make each room work as hard as possible – through flexible solutions such as the zip and link mattresses, or adding sofa beds to each room, it is possible to quickly adapt to changing customer’s needs, while maintaining the rooms’ style and comfort. For more information, please visit

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centre pieces

Whether you want to make a strong design statement or whisper refined good taste, And So To Bed’s extensive collection offers all the fashion inspiration you need The Grand Versailles is a Rococo-style made from mahogany, upholstered to order and hand painted or gilded in silver or gold leaf. Swarovski crystals encrust the bed’s base and adorn the tall, intricately hand carved headboard illuminating the romantic period detailing and the magnificent acanthus finial which crowns the bed. ▼

Animal prints spring from the catwalk to bedroom with the Josephine bed. Finishing classic pieces in bold fabrics such as this zebra print, is the perfect way to get today’s eclectic look. The Josephine (shown here) is 150 by 200 centimetres (five foot) and can be upholstered as deep buttoned, channelled or plain and is available in a wide range of fabrics and leathers. 24 | Hotel Owner

The Louis XV Painted classic style French bed is intricately detailed with hand carved rose motifs and Rococo-inspired touches. It is available in a paint palette of 21 different colours with a choice of finishes including the original antique pecan, or with upholstered head and footboards.

A design classic, the Venetian features crisply carved barley twist posts and distinctive arch detailing. It comes in a wide choice of bespoke finishes, entirely changing its look to suit its surroundings. Finish options include glamorous high gloss lacquers, natural wood or lustrous gold and silver leaf. The Venetian (shown here) is handpainted in a customer’s chosen colour – pure white – transforming into a luxurious centrepiece for a contemporary bedroom. ▼

Natural wood sleigh beds such as the Manoir and Palais are particularly popular with the hotel trade owing to their traditional, classic style. They are also very hardwearing and if they get damaged, a French polisher can make them look like new. ▼ For further information call 0808 144 4343 or go to

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Tech talk

Tomorrow’s technology for today’s guests

The latest results from TripAdvisor’s 2013 Traveller’s Choice Awards has shown that Airwave has provided dedicated hospitality television solutions to five out of the top 10 hotels, and 10 out of the top 25 hotels across the UK.

The Traveller’s Choice Award is based on feedback from thousands of guest reviews with factors such as quality of the bathroom, comfort of the bed and ease of use of the TV system all taken into account. Marketing executive at Airwave Jon

Farmer commented: “For market research, we are continually checking TripAdvisor reports on the hotels we install, where we normally see a very favourable uplift in ratings, as well as direct comments about improvements in the TV system. “It appears that guests want what they have at home, such as large screens, great channel choice, crystal clear pictures and simple operation. Airwave is delighted that its customers feature in 10 out of the top 25 hotels in this highly-respected annual award from TripAdvisor,” he added.

HOT CONCEPT desktop content including daily newspapers, magazines, games, advertising and local information. With custom apps it is further possible to show food and drink menus, promotions, advertising and vouchers to increase customer engagement, spend and loyalty. Commenting on the launch of KioCube, Sheena MacKenzie, managing director at LifeSize Touch, said: “Our product design merges clever interactive technology with commercial interior design. We want to shake up the commercial furniture scene and replace boring, traditional coffee tables with versions that attract customers and encourage interaction with content.”

Touchscreen technology specialist LifeSize Touch has announced the launch of KioCube, the first product release from its new range of design-led interactive furniture using ‘through glass’ touchscreen technology. The KioCube is an interactive coffee table with a built-in 19-inch touchscreen display, protected under a toughened glass surface. With its stylish design and completely flat surface, it has the advantage over other 28 | Hotel Owner

touch tables that feature bezels or inlaid touchscreens, which leave the screen exposed to food and drink spills, damage and theft. The KioCube is ideally suited for customer waiting areas, such as receptions, leisure venues and restaurants. Powered by the Android operating system, KioCube provides access to thousands of apps in the Android marketplace, allowing a wide range of businesses to select personalised

A mist opportunity for the hotel trade For guests tired of peering through a steamed-up mirror when applying makeup, styling hair or shaving, demista is becoming the norm in hotels. Not only does it give hotel guests that added comfort, it helps to protect the mirror and reduce the time for cleaning. Simply wire into the lighting system, or use a

separate switch to ensure a clear view in the steamiest of bathrooms. The company also supplies Cosyfloor under floor comfort heating, which is safe to use in wet areas such as for bathrooms, wet rooms, kitchens and other areas where water may be spilt. Call 01932 866 600, email or go to

Luxury Wiltshire hotel installs state-of-the-art fitness equipment

Hotel group optimises sales distribution and reservation processes with RateTiger The Shaftesbury Hotels Collection has selected RateTiger channel manager, from eRevMax, for 10 of its properties to benefit from real-time connectivity with its distribution channels. The hotel group has also connected its MICROS Opera system with RateTiger to have guest reservation data delivered directly to its property management system from OTAs and other demand channels. The hotel collection will use the integrated hotel channel manager to ensure each property can take advantage of RateTiger’s vast distribution network of travel sites to focus on both local and global market demand. RateTiger’s connection with its MICROS Opera Property Management System (PMS) will retrieve all OTA guest booking data, from RateTiger certified channels, removing time-consuming manual update

processes and eliminate reservation errors. “The RateTiger channel manager will enable us to update rates and inventory while having the relevant user restrictions to avoid update errors at property level. The Reservation Delivery service through MICROS Opera will make our booking process much faster and much more accurate,” said the managing director of Shaftesbury Hotels Collection. For more details contact or go to

Bishopstrow Hotel and Spa has opened a new fitness suite to the public, following a complete redesign of the gym and refurbishment of several rooms. The gym has been completely rebuilt to complement the recent redevelopment of the hotel and spa’s rooms, including the library and several bedrooms, all of which have been finished to an extremely high standard. Life Fitness supplied the gym with state-of-the-art equipment, including two treadmills, two cross trainers, two bikes, a chest press, leg extensions, a weights bench, four seat jungle, seated leg curl and dual adjustable pulley, and several gym balls. The hotel is now one of only three hotels in the south that carry the Discover Tablet consoles that are fitted to treadmills, cross-trainers and bikes and allow exercisers to preset favourites and personalise workouts.

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Last orders for draughty pubs

Intuitive property management system Already a success in Australia, NewBook’s state-of-the-art, browser-based property management system incorporates the latest in internet technology and mobility. Developed in conjunction with managers and staff at hotels, motels, holiday resorts and parks throughout Australia, NewBook says its PMS has been proven to increase staff efficiency, reduce running costs and, most importantly, increase the number of online bookings received. The cloud-based reservation software is a profitable marketing tool, as the PMS captures a wide range of data needed to make correct marketing decisions. The

company adds: “It places all of the vital information need for optimum operation at the user’s fingertips,” including every major and minor component of accommodation property requirements right from online bookings, check in, check out, housekeeping, maintenance and many other functionalities. It has been designed to be quick and easy to use, so there is less time learning the system and more time running the property. It is fully compatible with all smartphone operating systems and features customised back–up so data can be saved every hour, every week or every month. For further details go to

Luxury hotel benchmarking report BluSky Marketing has released its latest Luxury Hotel Benchmarking Report, which the company says is the only report of its kind for the luxury and boutique hotel sector. Based on real reviews from real guests, it

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enables hoteliers to monitor their respective performance against their contemporaries. The results are devised from the Online Hotel Guest Experience Survey questions from some of the leading luxury and boutique hotel properties in the UK, including the Arch London, Bovey Castle, Lords of the Manor, the Marcliffe Hotel & Spa and the Capital London. It provides insight into how luxury and boutique hotels should be performing in regard to awareness, overall guest satisfaction, intention to return and recommend, dining experience and guest expectation delivery. This report sees the addition of how guests made their reservations. For further information go to

The Earl of Marchmont has become the first bar in the UK to install a futuristic heating system. The Edinburgh pub installed the innovative Infranomic system from energy savings specialist Direct Savings after looking for an alternative heating solution. The Infranomic heating panels have been fitted as stylish wall mirrors and have allowed co-owners Malcolm Gray and John Eastwood to create a draught-free, cosy atmosphere for their patrons. Malcolm says: “We decided to go for the Infranomic products because we were sold on the fact that it would provide a very efficient heating, leading to low running costs and energy savings. “Despite our expectations of the system being very high, we’ve been hugely impressed with the results and instead of unsightly radiators or fan heaters, we’ve got a set of smart mirrors that have become part of the interior design,” he added. Infranomic heaters emit ‘Far Infrared’ energy, which floods the entire room with warmth, absorbing into all materials within the room, including the walls, ceiling and floor. Managing director at Direct Savings Ged Smith is confident they will become commonplace in homes and businesses. “Infra-red does not rely on convection power, so that alleviates cold spots in a room and gives a constant warm environment, creating a very efficient heating system. This really is the future of heating,” he explained. For more information on Direct Savings’ Infranomic Far Infrared heating systems visit at


A smart


National account manager for Forbes Hotel TV Gill Russell says that as hoteliers look for future-proof solutions, Smart TV is set to lead the way when it comes to hotel televisions and fulďŹ lling guests’ expectations It is projected that in 2014, 60 per cent of domestic televisions purchased will be Smart TV. This figure is set to rise to 77 per cent in 2015, and 91 per cent in 2016. Smart TV has seen a very rapid take off, and clearly appeals to the mass audience. Consumers are becoming more and more accustomed to a connected living, and, consequently, guests will demand a commensurate experience in hotels. While 10 years ago it would have sufficed for a 4-star hotel to offer a multichannel experience of around 20 channels, 32 | Hotel Owner

using video on-demand, things have moved on in an exponential manner. Of late, satellite and digital terrestrial television has been the dominant force but things are inevitably progressing beyond that. TVs now need to emulate the best of portable media devices while continuing to deliver the complete viewing experience.

Connectivity for the mass audience Smart TV sees the advent of an entirely new type of connectivity, in addition to the

existing programme content. Guests will expect to be able to access apps such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and all of the usual on-demand network favourites via their in-room televisions. They will also want access to news, weather updates and flight information from their television. Smart TV facilitates that. Should guests wish to Skype friends at home, the connectivity now allows viewing video conversations on their television screen, through interaction with their tablet or smartphone.

Guests want on-demand content Clearly, the primary function of a television continues to be transmitting broadcast content, or films. Where Smart TV considerably enhances this experience is by allowing access to on-demand content. Consumers will be used to streaming films or catch-up TV at home, and will expect access to the same facilities in a hotel. Guests are now able to select their home country, and to navigate to relevant apps in their own language. They can also access catch-up TV services from home at their will and Smart TVs include a range of music portfolios, which are always in demand, both at home and in hotels.

Personalised apps for competitive advantage and revenue generation The hospitality sector now has access to an exciting range of TVs, which offer exciting entertainment facilities and also provide revenue-generating features. Hotels remotely define the apps that their guests will access, and retain control over what is accessible on each individual TV portal. Competitive advantage can be gained as the hotel can personalise what the Smart TV delivers and also create its own apps. This provides an interesting means of delivering hotel information to guests in an impressive and modern format. Beyond delivering generic hotel information, menus, videos and intranet links, hotels can benefit from offering advertising space to local companies to generate a new revenue stream. Hoteliers can also devise apps that will reward customers’ loyalty, as well as enhancing guest experiences.

Innovations raise guest expectations Delivering the requisite home-fromhome experience necessitates, as ever, considering how guests behave in their own environment. They will be arriving at the hotel equipped with smartphones, tablets and laptops and their own supply of music and film. Smart TVs enable them to connect their own devices to the big screen, and share content, as they will be becoming accustomed to doing at home. Hoteliers are increasingly positioning in-built connectivity panels to their televisions to allow easy plug and play for the many devices that guests bring to the hotel.

Maintaining a secure connection Fundamentally, with all of this connectivity, a secure connection must be maintained at all times, so guests are not inadvertently sharing information. To ensure that security is not compromised, the hospitality range of Smart TVs will disable any apps that require card payments. It is imperative that hotels choose hotel-specific technology, as using domestic televisions would compromise this all important security. The key differences between domestic and commercial televisions include the ability to clear all personal data, including surfing history. This can be set up to be eradicated daily, or when the equipment is switched to standby.

Bandwidth requirements As the demand for bandwidth continues to grow exponentially, hoteliers also need to be aware of their internet capacities. The model for calculating their requirements used to be as simple as multiplying the number of guests’ laptops by the usage. However, it is far more complex in today’s world where the plethora of internet-enabled devices need to be accounted for, and multiplied by the number of guests. When it comes to connectivity, the experience is entirely dependent on the available bandwidth of the HSIA. There are various approaches, but to avoid congestion or meltdown, it is sometimes advisable to implement a tiered pricing strategy. Essentially, this model would allow for up to one hour of free usage per day for each guest, after which time

the guests would be liable to a charge. This method avoids disappointment for guests and helps the hotel to manage costs.

Leveraging the abilities of new technology For those who may have already upgraded televisions to digital LEDs, a set top box can be added in order to deliver the Smart TV experience to guests, without the need to upgrade the televisions. There are numerous options available to capitalise on the new technology but it is important to find the best solution for individual requirements. What is irrefutable, however, is that Smart TV is the next major advancement in television technology and will be transforming the way guests expect to interact with their in-room televisions.

Forbes Hotel TV is one of the leading suppliers and installers of digital television and audio visual equipment to the hotel and hospitality sector. Clients can opt for an outright purchase option or choose rental and have peace of mind. The rental package comes with no capital outlay, simple monthly payment, first class engineer response, dedicated client support and no repair bills or call out charges all in a single package. To find the smart solution for your business call Gill Russell on 0845 070 2331 or email

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The way that people watch TV is being entirely redefined with the advent of Smart TV and as an official Philips partner, Forbes is delivering the latest innovations to the market. The Philips range of Smart TVs are stylishly designed and offer award-winning picture quality. They also facilitate access to content from guests’ home countries so they can access news and catch-up TV in their own languages. Hoteliers retain control over which apps appear on each individual portal and can personalise the TVs remotely. Apps


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can also deliver hotel information and open up potential new revenue streams. Supplying leading brands such as Philips, Panasonic, Samsung and Toshiba, Forbes’s aim is to build long-term business relationships with clients, a service that is central to its company ethos. It offers a complimentary on-site survey; allocates each client an account manager; and fully installs and delivers any equipment, thus giving the client “peace of mind afforded by an exemplary back-up service facilitated by its nationwide infrastructure.” Chantry Digital also recognises that we are currently living in a multimedia-rich environment with digital TV services and high-speed internet services as standard. Among the wide range of products it supplies to the hospitality sector, it says the 32-inch L4 Smart TV series from

Chantry Digital

Samsung “brings more quality content and connectivity than ever before.” Not only does it deliver Full HD 1080p image quality, the L4 series features built-in Freeview HD, internet content and catch-up TV services including BBC iPlayer, Netflix and YouTube. Guests can also get access to a range of other online content from Facebook, Twitter, Skype and a Web Browser, all through Toshiba’s Smart TV service. This is all available at the touch of a button with the added convenience of smartphone and tablet remote control operation.

more people demanding a home cinema experience both in the comfort of their own living rooms and their hotel rooms, Richer Sounds offers a wide range of products to meet this need specialising in supplying branded (such as LG and Samsung), noncommercial, home type screens at a fraction of the cost of hotel type screens which are ideal for small to medium size hotels that won’t be using hospitality welcoming display modes. All screens have Freeview built in and the company offers three year commercial warranties at 20 per cent of the screen price.

Richer Sounds

Richer Sounds is one of the UK’s leading retailers and etailers of hi-fi, home cinema and TV equipment. Founded by Julian Richer, the company has been featured in the Guinness Book of Records for the highest sales per square foot of any retail outlet in the world. With 52 stores nationwide – with 10 in London alone – Richer Sounds has always been able to meet and respond to changing customer trends. Managing director Julian explains: “Historically, we have been known for selling budget audio

equipment in a ‘pile it high and sell it cheap’ fashion, but in recent years we’ve responded to a shift in the electronics retail market and expanded our range from the purely audio to encompass plasma and LCD TVs.” The company launched a range of audiophile hi-fi, multi-room and high-end home cinema separates in 2007, and last year saw the wider introduction of wireless streaming products, 3D and internet TV technology, which the company has now put at the forefront of the business. With

Supplier listing Chantry Digital: 0800 373 246, or Forbes: 0845 070 2331, or Orbiss: 01872 561 656, or Richer Sounds: 0207 407 9090, or

OBSERVING THE PROTOCOL Orbiss, specialist in hotel TV, telephones and guest internet, discusses the added benefits of using IPTV as an alternative to Smart TV Guests are demanding better quality products and a higher standard of service including HD, on-demand and now, Smart TVs, which bridge the gap between conventional television viewing and accessing the internet. The alternative to a Smart TV is IPTV. Products like Clarity, from Orbiss, are designed for hotels that want to impress guests with crystal clear HD TV and blockbuster movies, but have the added benefits of fully branded interfaces, custom information channels and interactive guest services. Clarity also allows guests to view their bill and conveniently check out directly from their in-room TV. Content can be restricted and controlled to ensure younger guests are protected where premium channels are available – a key feature not offered with Smart TV. Another downside to Smart TV is the manual reset of the TV after guest check out, safeguarding privacy issues from previous guest interactions, which can be a lengthy process in a hotel with over 100 rooms.

Hoteliers should also be looking to maximise revenue through evolving technology. Orbiss’s strategic partner, Exterity, explains more: “In today’s economic climate, hotels must work harder to attract guests and retain loyalty.” CEO of Exterity Colin Farquhar adds: “Offering a wide range of entertainment and business facilities can help achieve this. IPTV systems mean that whatever the size of the hotel, it can provide top quality in-room TV, improving the guest experience.” It’s important for hoteliers to remember AV content is no longer confined to hotel rooms, as live TV in bars and other public areas gives guests a further reason to stay and spend time – and money – inside the hotel complex. Advertising hotel services, such as spa treatments or meeting services, in different locations around

hotels and resorts gives greater visibility and can help boost sales. Smart TVs are a good commodity, and have allowed radical changes for how people view and use television, however in the hospitality trade they may not give hoteliers the full potential to give the best guest experience possible, nor allow for adopting the TV as a valuable sales and marketing tool.

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JUNE 2013



Table talk Calcot Hotels appoints Michael Stenekes as its new executive chef

Cold comfort Keeping cool in the kitchen with the latest range of refrigerators

Chef’s signature dish

Jason Friend, head chef at the Mercure Milton Keynes Abbey Hill Hotel, demonstrates the Black Rock Grill dining system in the Moltens Restaurant

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Calcot Hotels appoints new executive chef

A taste of Cumbria The Cottage in the Wood, a hidden restaurant in the heart of Whinlatter Forest in the Lake District, has launched a unique tasting menu inspired by Cumbria. In celebration of the hugely successful Taste Cumbria festival, which takes place in the county this September, the menu has been designed by the Cottage’s born-and-bred Cumbrian head chef Ryan Blackburn, a taste ambassador for the festival. The Taste Cumbria menu features Solway Firth shrimps, duck eggs from Scales Farm in Embleton, sourdough bread from award-winning artisan bakery More?,

Herdwick breast from Yew Tree Farm in Coniston (formerly owned by Beatrix Potter), Whitehaven-landed Turbot, red deer from Grizedale Forest, Blue Whinnow cheese from Thornby Moor Dairy near Carlisle and Grasmere gingerbread from Sarah Nelson’s shop. The Cottage in the Wood is fast emerging as one of the best restaurants in the north west and boasts many celebrity fans. Ryan was recently awarded the title of Chef of the Year at the Cumbria Life Awards with his bold, gutsy cooking, delicate presentation and passion for all foods Cumbrian earning much praise.

Gloucestershire-based Calcot Hotels has appointed Michael Stenekes as the collection’s new executive chef. Based at the flagship Calcot Manor, near Tetbury in Gloucestershire, Michael will lead and support head chefs Michael Benjamin and Francesco Volgo in the 107-seater Conservatory restaurant and the 80-seater Gumstool Inn respectively. He will also take the helm at other kitchen operations within the hotel including the spa, outside catering arm, Calcot Kitchens and the Westonbirt Restaurant. He arrives at Calcot Manor from London’s Savoy Hotel where he was executive sous chef since the hotel’s 2010 re-opening. Prior to that he also worked as executive sous chef at the Four Seasons Hotels in Damascus and Amman and at the Fat Duck in Bray as chef de partie. “We are delighted to welcome Michael to our team at such an exciting time with lots of new developments underway and ahead,” commented Richard Ball, chairman of Calcot Hotels. “Michael clearly shares our vision and is equally excited about consolidating and improving successes, while also taking our wide-ranging activities forward,” he added.

St Johns Hotel hosts culinary awards

The St Johns Hotel in Solihull welcomed some of the brightest chefs in the country when it hosted the British Culinary Federation Awards. Tops chefs and catering industry giants took part in the glittering awards evening, which recognises chefs and people from within the industry for their outstanding contribution to the culinary art. The hotel, which is part of the Principal Hayley group, engaged the services of its young chefs from the Principal Hayley Chef 40 | Hotel Owner

Academy to prepare a gourmet feast for the 140 guests. General manager Darren McGhee said not only was it a coup for the hotel to host such a prominent event, it was a great opportunity for its young chefs to cook for some of the best in the business. “They rose to the challenge of preparing dinner for some of the most talented chefs in the country and did a superb job, showcasing their expertise in the St Johns kitchens,” he added. The chefs prepared a menu of poached Sand Hutton asparagus with Scotch egg and chervil essence; roasted Cornish mackerel with beetroot purée and beetroot pearls; Blytheburgh pork, roasted fillet and crispy belly with sautéed cabbage, boulangère potatoes; English apple crisps, sorbet, crumble and tart; a selection of British cheeses; and homemade macaroons.

Hampshire hotel cooks up top award

Marwell Hotel in Winchester has been awarded two AA rosettes, a further endorsement of the investment the hotel has made to continuously improving its food f d offering. ff The highly acclaimed award has been presented to the hotel for its Modern European menu, which combines an array of techniques and recipes from across the continent and applies them to locallysourced produce.

The kitchen, led by executive chef Richard Cameron, uses the best of local ingredients and produce that Hampshire has on offer. He said: “We have an important philosophy in our kitchen – sourcing only the very best ingredients, treating them simply; allowing the flavours and textures to do the talking; and paying attention to detail at all times.” Hotel manager Oliver Bastian added: “Food is such an intrinsic element of the hotel and we are delighted to have been awarded two AA rosettes. The team have worked painstakingly to ensure our fare is consistently of the highest quality.”

Healthy clients equal a healthy business

TISSL’s Stuart Coetzee is convinced more people are trying to eat healthier while dining out. He recommends that restaurants use their EPoS solution to shed pounds off their clients’ waistlines and put pounds onto their balance sheet. He says the EPoS system

can be utilised to easily modify a menu by adding new items or by creating a separate health-conscious menu. For example, with a Menu Maintenance function, restaurant owners can customise and manage multiple menus and then easily access them from a button on their terminals. Taking steps to add healthier alternatives to the menu is only half the battle. The EPoS database can be used to email customers about new and improved menu offerings. Or restaurants could run a wellness promotion, such as offering a coupon or discount when diners order a certain number of items off a low-calorie menu with the EPoS system used to track spend. Do you agree with Stuart’s views on using your EPoS system in this way? Do you have experiences to share? Email him at

FLAVOUR OF THE MONTH It’s British Summertime (allegedly) so it has to be strawberries – the fruit of the British summer. They are at their peak this month and when they’ve had a bit of sun on them they really come into their own and there isn’t a strawberry in the world to match them. Did you know the ancient Romans used them as a natural tooth whitener – just crush a ripe strawberry with some baking powder, brush on to the teeth, leave for five minutes before brushing again and rinsing. June also sees the arrival of that other British staple fruit that seems to have fallen out of favour these days – the humble gooseberry. Our climate is perfectly suited to producing this juicy, tart little fruit and it is a shame to see it so underused these days. Asparagus is still around until 22 June after which it should not be cut, but there are also broad beans and of course peas, the indispensable vegetable of the British diet. The pea is so versatile and although it can be a pain shelling fresh peas, they are so much better than their frozen counterparts. This month is also the season for the courgette, a delicate and versatile vegetable that when picked with its flower can command a huge price and graces the table of smart restaurants throughout Europe. All of the soft herbs are coming into their own this month, especially basil, chives, coriander, sorrel and dill. Elderflowers are on the trees and nasturtiums and violets in the flower beds that can be popped into a salad or used as a garnish. You can still see an abundance of nettles the length and breadth of the country but I would say this is the last month to use them as they are starting to get a bit too big. You can still pick and use them – just take the top four leaves, wash well and they make a great soup or purée. This should be the month for mackerel but many in the trade now feel this is no longer a sustainable choice, yet it was in abundance just a few short years ago. It is however a great time for red and grey mullet, hake, brill and lobsters. Ian McAndrew, owner and chef at the Blackaddie Country House Hotel Hotel Owner | 41


Furleigh wine judged best in the UK The Salway Ash-based vineyard Furleigh Estate goes from strength-to-strength having been awarded a gold medal at this year’s International Wine Challenge and receiving the top honour of an IWC 2013 Trophy. This means the Furleigh wine is judged to be the best in the UK and the Classic Cuvee is the only English wine to receive the top honour of the IWC Trophy. When judging the wine, co-chairman of the IWC Charles Metcalfe said: “The International Wine Challenge is unique and is widely

regarded as the finest judged wine tasting in the world. Each Trophy wine is tasted on at least six separate occasions by a minimum of 10 of the finest wine tasters in the world. Furleigh’s Rebecca Hansford added: “The International Wine Challenge literally has warehouses full of wines that have been entered. To be the only English wine to receive the Trophy status shows what the judges thought of our wine. It’s a true Dorset product that is beating the world.”

Snowbirds rolls out international meatballs Gluten-free baking Snowbird foods has added an international flavour to its award-winning range of frozen and fully cooked meatballs with the introduction of two new varieties redolent of Iberia and the Americas. Spain’s most famous cheese – Manchego – has been finely grated and blended with beef and pork in a mix that is flavoured with onion, garlic, salt, parsley, smoked paprika and black pepper. The Devilishly Spiced Chilli Meatball is flavoured with peppers, onion, fennel, salt, brown sugar, basil, garlic, nutmeg and thyme. “These hugely complex recipes proved necessary to deliver the exciting tastes we

were looking for,” said Snowbird sales director Roy Anderson. “They had to be of the very highest quality to earn a place in our range of meatballs,” he added. Information: 0208 805 9222 or

Caterers can win £8,000 combi steamer To celebrate its 40th anniversary, leading combi steamer brand Rational is giving away its latest model. “We wanted to do something special to mark the 40th anniversary,” said Lee Norton, managing director of Rational UK. “We know that UK caterers love the SelfCookingCenter – it has over 60 per cent share of the combi steamer market – so what better way to say thank you than by giving one away?” The Rational SelfCookingCenter whitefficiency is a six-grid model worth over £8,000 and is described as one of the world’s most popular combi steamers. To enter, all caterers have to do is book and attend a Rational CookingLive demonstration between 1 June and 30 November 2013. The demonstrations take place every month at over 90 venues across the UK, 42 | Hotel Owner

last about two hours and are free to attend. They also give caterers the chance to see the latest combi steamer technology in action and get hands-on experience of the SelfCookingCenter with expert help from master chefs. To find out more visit

Honeybuns, the award-winning bakery based in Dorset, has launched a Ready-to-Bake Cake Sponge mix, the first of three eagerly awaited new gluten-free baking mixes. The company says the versatile mix has a nuttiness and slightly caramelised flavour owing to the use of ground flaxseed and brown sugar, and can be baked on its own or with seasonal ingredients. Rather than using processed gluten-free flours, Honeybuns’ has added more ground almonds, ground flax and sorghum, all of which are naturally gluten-free. The cakes can be made by simply adding butter and egg and they come in stylishly designed retro-inspired reusable cardboard tubes. Ingredients are individually wrapped in cellophane with easy to follow instructions, and each mix has its own recipe ideas and serving suggestions. The Honeybuns Ready-to-Bake Cake Sponge mix will be available from the end of May, and will be followed later in the year by a Shortbread mix and Savoury Cornbread mix. For samples and costs please contact the Honeybuns team on 01963 23597 or email

It’s all in the mix Omega Ingredients, the award-winning creator of specialist natural flavours, ingredients and aromas, is now offering a new range of ingredients for chefs. This includes: Real Wasabi Powder, Wasabi Spirit, Yuzu Oil, Kombu, Oyster Extract, Lemon Verbena Extract, English Elderflower Extract, Spanish Saffron Extract and Horseradish Snow. Owner and founder Steve Pearce commented: “We can make almost any flavour or aroma you can think of and we relish an unusual or bespoke project. We have worked with a wide portfolio of clients including some of the world’s best known blue chip brands, along with some of the fastest-growing start-up brands in the food

In good taste A new range of raw sprinkles from Cream Supplies adds a healthy dimension to salads, cooked vegetables and lots of other dishes. They are available in three

Let there be light Restaurant table lighting specialist TDL has launched a new range of electronic candles that look and flicker like the real thing. The simulated flame uses electromagnetic technology and not only glows, but dances like a real flame. There is no fire risk, which could help reduce the cost of insurance and they can safely be used even in floral decorations. There is no mess and they can reduce the frequency of

and drink sectors and we are constantly growing and developing our product range.” Founded in 2001 by biochemists Steve and Elizabeth Pearce, Omega Ingredients specialises in the innovative fusion of biochemistry with natural materials, for the international food and drink ingredients sector.

Essential oils

flavours including Pizzeria Sprinkles, packed with Italian herbs and Furikake Sprinkles, combining the Japanese flavours of nori seaweed with wheatgrass and sesame seeds. The Mexicana Sprinkles impart a hot, smoky flavour with purple corn, cumin, paprika and chilli for a subtle spicy hit that will liven up any dish. They are available from Cream Supplies’ online shop for next day delivery. Information:

Deborah MacMillan and Natalie Wheen describe themselves as “accidental olive farmers” inheriting a collection of sadly neglected olive trees when they purchased a Greek retreat on the island of Lesvos. They have since gone on to create a range of olive oils which they describe as full of grassy notes and the perfect finishing oils for drizzling on salads and pouring on hot vegetables, fish, meat, soup and pasta. The Avlaki and Agatheri Olive Oils come from two single estates which produce oils with very different characteristics. The olives are picked at the peak of condition, milled immediately and bottled without filtering – all completed within weeks. The oils are also officially certified organic by Bio-Hellas. Information: 07721 410 974, or

repainting stained walls and ceilings. Suitable for use indoors or outdoors – the flame does not blow out – they incorporate a timer that turns the candle off after five hours. They are manufactured in a wax material and are available in ivory, green and red and in three different heights. An alternative to candles, they ideal for hotels and restaurants, weddings, gardens, spas and more. For full details contact TDL on 01608 682506 or email

New Forest Ice Cream marks milestone From a humble beginning in 1983, New Forest Ice Cream has grown to become an iconic and well-renowned producer of quality ice cream for chefs and catering establishments around the country. Now in its 30th year of production, the company has introduced a special anniversary flavour to commemorate the

milestone. The Peach Bellini is made using a fusion of a champagne based ice cream with a vibrant real fruit peach puree and interspersed with sparkling sugar pearls. It can be served as a standalone dessert or as an attractive accompaniment to a cheesecake or treacle tart. It is available to caterers in 4 litre and 4.5 litre tubs. Hotel Owner | 43


Dining out with... Jason Friend, head chef at the new Mercure Milton Keynes Abbey Hill Hotel Born in Manchester, but having lived and worked across the UK, Jason Friend is the head chef at the new Mercure Milton Keynes Abbey Hill hotel, where he has worked for the past four years. Bringing to the table over 25 years’ experience, Jason’s extensive background includes head and sous chef positions at numerous independent properties including the Great Barr Hotel in Birmingham and the Belfry Hotel and Golf Resort in Warwickshire. In his current role Jason oversees the kitchen, which comprises seven team members who have recently successfully launched the new lava-rock concept, the only dining experience of its kind in the region. This new style of dining allows the main meal to be presented to the table cooking on volcanic rocks. It utilises the Black Rock Grill dining system, a concept invented by Peter Hatter in 2000 that derives from one of the earliest forms of cooking known to man – cooking over hot rocks. The rocks are superheated to 440˚C to sear in all the natural juices, flavours and nutrients and 44 | Hotel Owner

no additional oils or fats are added during the cooking process, ensuring a healthy and delicious dining experience.

Starter The Salmon and Crayfish Salad enhanced with a lemon and lime crème fraiche is very popular with our guests.

Main We have a huge range of meats, fish and vegetable lava-rock options, but a suggestion from the kitchen is the 8 ounce lamb leg steak served with grilled Mediterranean vegetables, pilau rice and a choice of six homemade sauces – pepper, sweet chilli and onion, reggae reggae, wasabi mayo, smokey maple barbecue or plum sauce.

Dessert A special dessert available upon request is the classic baked Alaska, which is served on frozen slates instead of heated. This delicious temptation consists of a genoa sponge base soaked in syrup with a scoop of vanilla pod ice cream encased in a sweet meringue.

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comfort Energy efficiency, effective temperature control and enhanced storage capacity – these are just some of the key requirements that the kitchen professional looks for in today’s commercial refrigerators Catering equipment supplier Nisbets recommends that chefs or their staff answer a series of questions to work out which unit will best suit their requirements:

in kitchens or storerooms. Prep counters and pizza cabinets allow the chef to work on the surface of the cabinet while the doors under the counter are used to store the food.

How much space do I have available?

What type of food will you be storing in it?

How much food do I need to hold?

Position in the kitchen

Uprights offer storage of chilled food usually

Provide a realistic capacity.

This will dictate the size of the fridge that can be bought.

The outside ambient temperature will affect how effective the fridge is. If the kitchen is Hotel Owner | 47


very hot, the fridge may not be able to hold temperature. If the fridge is to be positioned next to a hot cooking piece of equipment, this needs to be considered.

How often is the door opened? If the door is open and closed all the time, the cold air inside the fridge will constantly escape and be replaced by the hot air of the kitchen.

Position of the shelves Are they fixed or removable to allow gastronorms to replace them? Are they height-adjustable for convenience depending on what they are storing? Are they sturdy enough for requirements? Are they compactable with gastronorm-sized containers to utilise as much usable space as possible, especially if food is being pre pared in gastronorms and then placed directly in the unit?

Ease of cleaning Are the castors easily removable? Does the unit have removable door gaskets for ease of cleaning? Are the edges curved to stop dirt from forming within the fridge?

Temperature control What level of temperature is required? Are manual-to-digital read outs required and will alarms warn of high temperatures to ensure food remains fresh. Gram

Type of doors Is a lockable model required? Do the doors open the right way for where the unit is positioned? Do the doors automatically close – auto return doors help to stop the fridge temperature rising when the door is left open. What colour should the fridge be – stainless steel or white? It may not be important, since the finish has no bearing on how the fridge works, but it will affect the look of the kitchen. Nisbets supplies a selection of designs and price points, including its own brand, Polar. Models include larger upright fridges and freezers such as the Polar 400 litre fridge (white CD612; stainless steel CD082) or the 365-litre freezer (white CD613; stainless steel CD083). It also offers lightduty units with LED temperature display and electronic controller, and rear castors for easy manoeuvrability. The fridges also come with adjustable shelving, whereas the freezer accommodates seven fixed shelves. Both 48 | Hotel Owner

models are lockable. For large requirements, 600-litre fridges/freezers are available that are gastronorm compatible and incorporate fan-assisted cooling. Managing director of Gram Glen Roberts says that there is now a much wider choice of refrigerated units on the market than ever before. He advises: “You will need to determine the configuration that will best facilitate the smooth and efficient running of your operation.” Gram offers a wide range of refrigeration solutions, suitable for any sized commercial kitchen. The upright cabinets are ideal for general storage, while refrigerated counters provide precious worktop space for prep areas and localised refrigeration close to the cookline to minimise staff movement. Gram counters are also available with a variety of worktop formats including saladette and gantry.

Drawers can be useful for counters near the cookline for easy access to mise en place during service. Coldrooms or walk-in refrigerators and freezers are available as modular units, or can be made-to-measure to fit the available space. Remote refrigeration removes noise and heat from the kitchen area. Glen also says that when looking into purchasing a new product, the choice of refrigerant is a key factor. Refrigerants can greatly affect the carbon footprint and running costs of units and many distributors now focus on their global warming potential (GWP) and ozone depletion potential (ODP). Hydrocarbon refrigerants show massive improvements on GWP and ODP compared with the alternative HFCs, but they are also more efficient conductors of heat and their operating pressures are lower, meaning less stress is exerted on the cabinet, which in turn increases efficiency. Glen says: “Gram’s units have been designed with energy efficiency in mind, using hydrocarbon technology instead of traditional HFCs. With refrigerators running 24/7, it is crucial for operators to choose equipment that is going to work efficiently and economically, and by making a greater initial investment in a Gram unit, hotels can make a saving of no less than £800 a year.” Cabinet insulation can be enhanced with the use of vacuum panels instead of foamed walls. There is also considerable development in the design of a new generation of compressors, highly efficient evaporators and condensers that will greatly improve heat rejection ensuring that cabinets can work at their optimum level. Thicker wall insulation also helps to prevent heat loss and greatly improves internal temperature stability. Intelligent air circulation systems are integral to keeping a uniform temperature within a refrigeration unit to prevent the compressor from having to work too hard at reducing temperature peaks and troughs through a working day. As a result, the unit will consume less energy. Gram offers an extensive range of models with a wide range of features and the company says it provides some of the most energy efficient refrigeration equipment on the market. Gram’s Green Paper 2012 discovered that 62 per cent of hotels said that they had come across barriers to being green, with one of the main reasons cited as the cost of replacing equipment. Gram offers warranties of up to five years on its most

accidently left open during busy times. This can help save money from an energy saving point of view as well as retaining the freshness of the stock being held in the fridge. Other features include heavy duty castors which allow the larger units to be easy manoeuvred around the kitchen, or for cleaning behind the fridge. All models also feature an adjustable 0°C to 10°C working temperature range, fitted castors for ease of positioning, lockable doors ensuring they are ideal for front of house locations and an internal LED light to efficiently showcase the products inside. As with all products in the LEC Commercial range, Platinum products come with a twoyear parts and labour warranty.

Supplier listing Glen Dimplex Professional Appliances: 0844 815 3742 or Gram: or Nisbets: 0845 140 5555 or LEC Commercial

energy efficient units and spare parts are available for up to 10 years after purchase, even on retired models, so it is easy for hotels to make savings and reduce the cost of replacing equipment by buying a Gram unit. Glen Dimplex Professional Appliances’ commercial brand manager Diane Ho says that the greatest difference between a standard fridge and a good fridge is the additional features that can really help save time and money. Lec Commercial has been a leading name within the provision of quality professional catering appliances for over 70 years, offering a wide range of units to suit the individual needs of a hotel or restaurant.

LEC Commercial

The Platinum range includes units that are fitted with the latest in developments and energy saving features and includes a white or stainless steel finish with glass-fronted and solid-fronted door options making them ideal for both front and back of house service. The glass door option is ideal for displaying food and drinks both behind the counter, where it can be accessed by staff, or at the front of the counter from which customers can make their choice. Giving the caterer the ultimate choice, the range is available in a 200-litre undercounter model, a 400-litre freestanding model for enhanced storage capacity on a small footprint or a 600-litre gastronorm compatible model for the ultimate storage solution. Combining a robust build quality with the latest energy efficient cooling systems, R600a refrigerant provides the operator with consistently low running costs and the ability to work effectively in ambient temperatures of up to 38°C, making the range suitable for even the warmest kitchen set-ups. The Platinum range also comes with a digital control which benefits the user through high/low temperature alarms as well as door open alarms which alert the user if the unit goes out of the required temperature range, or when the door is


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Hotel Owner June 2013  
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