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Autumn & The Chocolate Week…

Hello everyone,

I hope you all made the most of the heat wave last weekend and now enjoying the very autumnal weather that has descended on London – hard to believe we could go from 30 degrees down to about 12 in the space of five days – but anyway I think we all enjoyed being blessed with some unexpectedly warm weather as I am sure it will be a good few months before we will be blessed with any more again!

As usual the week seems to have raced past at an alarming rate – this week I had lunch with our Apprentices – we have eight of our team on a service orientated apprenticeship programme,  and as they are the first group to go through this programme I wanted to be able to chat to them about how they were finding the training and whether we needed to make any changes to the programme for them – they were very honest and as they are our pioneers into Apprenticeships  I have learnt that there are a few more tweaks we need to make to ensure the programme is meeting and fulfilling all their expectations – so Carol our HR Business partner and I will get working on that!

We have continued to work on our Engagement Survey Action plan – one of the areas I wanted to improve in the hotel was our celebration of the success we all create every month – as sometimes it seems we are often stuck in the mindset of all the areas we still need to improve or change and we forget to stop and reflect and ensure we recognise some of the great individual and team performances that have been achieved. So this month we have introduced our Monthly Success Story Board – I asked all the management team to list down all the achievements they were proud of that had occurred in their department during September and compiled that into one master list then pulled together a team of staff with representatives across all the departments in the hotel and gave the list to that team and asked them to create a collage which reflected all our successes – we will now proudly display that in our staff restaurant – until next month when another group of staff will prepare another collage – and we will do it every month and then at the end of the year we will have a great record to look back on and remind ourselves of some of the outstanding results we have achieved throughout the whole year!! So following on from the Insights Profile I talked about last week – this gave my very creative yellow energy a great opportunity to shine through – I am not sure who enjoyed making the collage more the team or me!!!!

Chocolate WeekNext week is predicted to be an awesome week in London – well for Chocoholics that is!! As it is Chocolate Week – which runs from the 10-16th October – there are a number of things happening but one of the most high profile is the Chocolate Unwrapped Show at Vinopolis on 15/16th October where visitors can immerse themselves in a decadent celebration of chocolate. There will be chocolate sculptures, chocolate cookery demonstrations and you can even see chocolate being made from the bean in a miniature chocolate factory!! If you are interested in finding more details check out www.chocolateweek.co.uk . So if you love all things chocolate this is certainly the week for you!! Of course we are all committed chocoholics here at the Royal Horseguards so we could not let this week pass with out challenging Joanne our head pastry Chef to create our very own fabulous Chocolate Afternoon Tea which I have to say is veritable chocolate heaven!! So this is definitely not a week to be stressing about the calories and if you do need a chocolate fix and you are in the area do stop by the hotel I am sure we will have plenty of options to suit every taste!

Anyway the wedding theme also continues for us this week as the hotel has a stand at the Designer Wedding Show at Battersea Park in London -  so dear bloggers I will have to leave you so I can go down there and support the team – I hope you all have a fantastic week and will be in touch with more updates about our lovely hotel next week!

Anna

The Royal Horseguards Hotel at The National Wedding Show

Hello everyone

I hope you are all enjoying this glorious heat wave we are experiencing this week in London – it is going to last all weekend as well so I am certainly looking forward to being out and about in the sunshine this weekend – London always looks absolutely fabulous when bathed in bright sunshine!

Last week the Executive team and I took a day and a half out of the business to do some business planning and also look at how we operate as a team – as it is really important that we understand each others styles as it really helps us operate more cohesively as a team. We all completed an Insights Profile will illustrated what are our preferences were in the way we individually prefer to work – I am very task orientated with lots of creative energy which I am sure everyone picks up from my lovely blog every week!!! I do not enjoy analysing lots of data I just like looking at the big picture – so how happy was I to find that our Financial Controller Daniel and Revenue Manager Vincent are never happier than when they are wading through pages of excel spreadsheets and tonnes of data – they adore data – the more the better!!! So it seems on that front we have created the perfect team dynamic!! Happy days! We also discussed the mission for our hotel which and the purpose of our Executive team – so it was a great couple of days in which we came away more focused about what we need to concentrate on to move the business forward and as a much more harmonious team!!

This weekend the hotel is exhibiting at the National Wedding Show at Earls Court this weekend from Friday 30th until Sunday 2nd November – we are very excited about our new stand that we are using for the first time – so if there are any prospective brides and grooms out there that are planning to visit the show this weekend make sure you stop by and see us  – not only do we have a great stand but we also have some scrumptious Cup Cakes on the stand made by our very own pastry chef Joanne!! It is weddings galore here today as we also have a film crew filming two weddings in One Whitehall Place for a programme for Sky Living – so we have brides, bridesmaids, flowers, cakes and wedding guests everywhere – there is definitely an air of excitement around the hotel today with all these celebrations!!

This week we have done loads of work on our recent Engagement survey – we have held focus groups with team members from all departments and then we as a  management team got together on Monday afternoon have reflected on all the honest feedback we got about where we can improve as a management team and have compiled an action plan which we will finalise next week and everyone will have one point to  own and implement which will hopefully result in us improving our score considerably by the time we do the next survey in January!!

Anyway it is nearly dear bloggers I am afraid it is time for me to get back to the day job – I hope you all have a fantastic weekend enjoying our Indian Summer – make the most of it – as winter is definitely on the way – apparently this is going to be the hottest weekend ever known in October so enjoy your last few BBQs of the year – I am planning to top my tan up by heading down to my parents this evening and chilling out in their garden all weekend!!! More updates about the life and times of Royal Horseguards next week…….!

Anna

Something For The Weekend – London Fashion Week & The Great River Race

Hello everyone,

I hope you are all having a fantastic week – London has been bathed in sunshine for the last few days which has been a very welcome relief from all the wind and rain we were battered with over the weekend!

As always there has been plenty keeping us busy at the hotel this week – on Tuesday we were attending an internal briefing at one of our ‘cousin’ Thistle hotels – The Kingsley which is managed by the divine Johan Sweepers. Johan was awarded the top accolade for Thistle as General Manager of the Year for the Thistle group so we were in very esteemed company – but if you are looking for a great hotel that has just been transformed with a £10 million renovation – I can highly recommend The Kingsley located in Bloomsbury near Covent Garden!

London Fashion WeekIt is London Fashion Week next week and all the Guoman hotels are very excited about our designer doorman hat collection with a renowned London designer that is due to be launched on Friday 16th September. We have commissioned London based milliner Justin Smith Esquire to create a bespoke, hand made Guoman Doorman hat! Each  Guoman Hotel Doorman hat has been modified by design to highlight the character and personality of each individual hotel. The hats will be worn by all Guoman hotel’s doormen from Friday 16th September – and they will essentially become a long standing iconic part of their uniform. The Royal Horseguards also get to play a starring role in the launch of this iconic initiative as we are hosting a big launch party for all the great and the good in the fashion world on Friday evening – and we will also have some of Justin’s couture collections exhibited in the hotel over the next four weeks  – so I am sure we will have an exciting fun filled night ahead of us – if you would like to find out more about Justin and his work then do visit his website.

This afternoon I will be spending time with all the Heads of Departments reviewing their balanced scorecard presentations – this year we have been much more defined about what we want to achieve within the business during the course of this financial year – so we have been very clear in setting targets for the business overall and building them into a very concise business plan – and then each member of the management team has those plans cascaded down into their departmental action plans – so it is a good opportunity to see what progress is being made and what has been achieved , what is being focused on in the month ahead as well as check if any support is required to help each department achieve it’s objectives.

If you are stuck for something to do this weekend there is the Great River Race in London – which is London’s River marathon. This race attracts over 300 crews form all over the world. Every level of competitor can take part, from those who enjoy fun, fancy dress and charity stunts to serious sportsmen and women who are in it to win it! The race is run over a challenging 21 mile course past many classic landmarks – including of course the Royal Horseguards! It starts at Millwall Dock Slipway, London Docklands at 1.40pm and finishes at ham – the winner is expected to cross the finish line at about 16.40pm. It promises to be an exciting race with over 2,000 competitors – so it will be quite a sight to behold on the river – if you would like more details then check out The Great River Race Website for more details!

Anyway unfortunately once again my blog time is up for another week as there are people outside my office demanding my presence at a meeting – so I wish you all an exceptionally good weekend and will be back with more updates next week!

Anna

Annual Meetings – General Managers, Master Innholders & The Freedom of the City of London

Hello everyone,

I hope you are enjoying this very autumnal blustery week in London!! Apparently we have had the coldest summer for over twenty years this year – so we are all hoping we do not have the coldest winter in twenty years ahead of us as well!

Last week we attended out annual General Managers meeting for Guoman and Thistle – that was hosted at the Thistle Heathrow hotel – it is not the easiest thing for any team to have every general manager in the whole company – plus half of head office descend down on them for a few days but Paul Watson the general manager and the team there did an outstanding job taking care of us. SO we spent a couple of days focusing on the strategy for the company for the next 12 months. As always customer service and leadership are at the heart of everything we do to try and take our businesses forward in an ever more competitive environment. We have also had the results of our recent Engagement Survey that was conducted in June so we will all be spending some time understanding where we are now and what we need to do to improve our scores before the next survey in January.

We will be holding a full staff briefing to present our results and then spend some time in small groups listening to the views of the teams in different departments and then compiling a  hotel and  departmental specific action plans together. There is no doubt that there is a direct correlation between having an engaged team and great guest satisfaction and thereby a successful hotel. This was our first survey so it is not about getting hung up on the results – it is like we stood on the scales and that told us something at a moment in time so keeping looking at the scores all the time will not change anything it is all about taking action now to move forward and ensure we can show improvement by January! ( which is not that far away!)

This week we launched our newly revamped hotel induction for our new recruits – we have tried to get a bit more creative about how new team members transition into our hotel – so we start off the day with myself and HR holding  interactive ‘get to know you’ presentations – so it is not all about what job are you here to do but also finding a bit more about each person – we then talk a bit about the vision for the hotel -  what our customer expectations are of us and then a lot of familiarisation about the hotel  – as well as a discovery walk of the local area around the hotel so that all the new team members can talk knowledgably about areas of interest in the local area around the hotel. So the feedback form the first attendee has been very positive but we will continue to work on developing this very important introduction into life at the Royal Horseguards.

Master InnholdersTomorrow I will be attending the Annual General Meeting for the Master Innholders which is an industry general mangers association where we work collectively together on industry issues specifically on mentoring young managers who want to progress within our industry, scholarships to help with personal development for General Managers of the future and also our links to colleges and schools. We have the honour of hosting this event this year at the Royal Horseguards.

Friday will be an exciting day for me as due to being part of the Master Innholders I will be getting the Freedom of the City of London!!! This is one of the oldest surviving traditional ceremonies still in existence today. It is believed the first Freedom was presented in 1237. The medieval term ‘freeman’ meant someone who was not the property of a feudal lord, but enjoyed the privileges such as the right to earn money and own land. Today most of the practical reasons for obtaining the Freedom of the City have disappeared. However it still remains a unique part of London’s history so I am very proud to receive it!!

Anna

Bank Holiday Weekend & The Notting Hill Carnival

Hello everyone,

I hope you are all having a fabulous week – hopefully made all the better because there is a Bank Holiday on the horizon!

Life has been as busy as usual at the Royal Horseguards – Adam Morriss our Director of Sales has just returned from an action packed trip to the west coast of America – we continue our programme of raising the profile of our hotel and brand in this very key market for us – and there are now another two hundred plus travel agents from Los Angeles and San Francisco that are more familiar with our lovely hotel and we will be looking forward to welcoming their travellers soon – as we already have a number of enquiries and booking that we are finalising this week. It is a tough week to be constantly travelling so Adam has done a great job to bring so much new business back with him – and of course we are very grateful!!

Our company recently undertook an Engagement survey across all staff in all the hotels in the group and next week I will be attending our Annual General Managers Conference – and one of the areas we will be reviewing will be the results for the company and looking forward to receiving our own individual hotel survey results as well. So this week I have been preparing how we will communicate our results into the team here – and also planning a session for all the management team so there is a really clear understanding about what staff engagement is and why it is so important within our business. It is a proven statistic that if you have engaged and motivated staff that there is a direct correlation to sales and profit. Obviously this is not always easy to achieve but it is something myself and the team here will be spending a lot of time on together over the next few months.

The week we also had some good news and some sad news – the good news is that one of our stars James Robson who works as our Inventory Manager in our Reservations and Revenue Department has been promoted – the sad news is he will be leaving The Royal Horseguards to take up a new appointment at one of the largest hotels in our group the Marble Arch Thistle. Marble Arch’s gain is definitely our loss – but sometimes you have to let your stars go so that they can continue to grow and flourish in their careers – we will miss him but wish him every success in his new role!

Another big celebration happening in London this weekend is the Notting Hill Carnival which has been held every August bank Holiday since 1966 – it is the largest festival celebration of it’s kind in Europe. Every year the streets of West London come alive with twenty miles of vibrant colourful costumes, hundreds of Caribbean food stalls and the sounds of traditional steel drums bands – it is definitely one of London’s liveliest and most exciting events of the year!

Anyway dearest bloggers – I hope what ever you are doing over the bank holiday weekend you have a fantastic time and hopefully a well earned break from work as well!

Anna

A Tour of The Buckingham Palace

Hello everyone,

I hope you are all having a fantastic week – we are all still buzzing form our Staff Appreciation Week last week which seemed to be enjoyed by many – I think the highlight of the week was a staff quarterly meeting done in the style of ‘Daybreak’ and of course our awards ball on Friday night was certainly enjoyed by many – great dinner, lots of dancing (particularly to Abba!! – my personal favourite!!) and of course lashings of glitter everywhere!! A perfect party in every sense! We are all delighted for our award winner those pictures are all proudly displayed on the Guoman Hotel Facebook page if you want to take a look – as are a number of other pictures from Staff Appreciation week  -  including your truly going back to the floor in the kitchen!! I have just about recovered from the trauma of having to prepare the live lobster for lunch that day – I do not know why the chefs – yes you Chef Ryan!! – get such a thrill out of making me undertake such gruesome tasks!!!

So it is back to business as normal this week – although there is no doubt London is still recovering from the awful riots of last week – but thankfully now the streets are all calm ( well as calm as London ever is!)  and we seemed to have recovered, cleaned up and got the city back on track in record time!! So any future guests and tourists out there do not be put off coming to visit our beautiful vibrant capital city – normality has returned!  And not coming would just be playing into the hands of these rioters as there are so many businesses depending on tourism for so very many livelihoods!!!

All of our attractions are in full swing now – particularly Buckingham Palace that opens it’s doors every year for tours in the summer months and this year with the extra exhibition of the Duchess of Cambridge’s beautiful wedding dress on display alongside her wedding shoes and diamond earrings in the shape of oak leaves that were commissioned specially by the Middleton family. The Duke and Duchess’s multi tiered wedding cake created by cake designer Fiona Cairns will also be on show in the State Dining Room! So good in fact I intend to take my own mother for a visit!

Anyway dear bloggers after such a busy week last week there is much to catch up on this week – the time seems to be flying past and the summer seem to be racing past – I could not believe it today when I was walking around the hotel kitchens and came across our Head Pastry Chef Joanne Todd making…………..Christmas Puddings!!! Her grandmother’s own recipe none the less – it certainly seemed to be a very alcoholic recipe looking at all the empty bottle on her work station – so for awesome Christmas puddings you know where to come!!

I hope you all have a fabulous week – and I hear there is sunshine forecast for the weekend – so enjoy it while it lasts!!

Anna

Welcome to Work – Staff Appreciation at The RHG

Hello everyone,

Fresh Coffee, Tea & MuffinsI hope you are all having a fantastic week – we certainly are here at the Royal Horseguards – after months of planning Staff Appreciation Week has finally arrived!!! So we are one day in and it has been a packed day – I had to be up at 5.15am this morning to get to the hotel early to be able to be there for ‘Welcome to Work!’ which is where myself and several of the management team welcomed all the team in this morning with fresh coffee, tea, croissants and muffins!! We moved on to our morning walk round with a big bowl of chocolate and then onto our first morning meeting of the weeks which was a Mexican theme organised by Front Office – by 10.30am my diet for the week was already truly shot for the week – and we still had a cake decorating competition and the Olympic themed lunch to go…..!!

So we are one day in and have a packed week ahead with departmental meetings, staff quarterly meeting (done in the theme of a TV show), star of the day meet and greet, softball in the park and finalising the week in style with a big awards party!! And of course making sure we are not taking our eye off the ball and ensuring we are taking great care of our guests!! This week is all about recognising some of the outstanding individual and team performances – as well as taking time to show appreciation for the efforts of so many of our team members who work at the coal face of our business day in day out in the laundry, the wash up, in maintenance, housekeeping, to mention just a few without who the hotel would not be able to operate! So more to share with you next week but this week promises to be very special for our team and I am sure we will collect some great stories to tell to keep us fully entertained until the next one – and believe you me if you could see some of the awesome out takes from some filming we did for the staff quarterly meeting with the Chef, Stefan our Restaurant Manager and Bechir our Operations Manager – I think you would be laughing for a whole year as well!!

There has been much excitement in Horseguards Parade just next door to the hotel as they get ready for a practice match for the Olympic Beach Volleyball next year. There have been 120 trucks delivering 2,274 tonnes of sand which hopefully should be enough to fill one competition court and some warm up and training courts. The stadium built for the match due to be held this weekend will hold 1,500 people so a fraction of the one that will be built for the Olympics which will hold 15,000 people – so we are looking forward to a  busy weekend ahead in the Whitehall area this weekend!!

I am not sure how many of you have been watching the new TV programme called ‘The Hour’ which is a six part drama about being behind the scenes of a topical news programme in 1956 – we are all completely glued to it as some of the scenes have been filmed in our very own historic One Whitehall Place! If you have missed it on TV then I am sure you can still catch it on ITV iplayer – highly recommended!

Anyway dear bloggers I am going to have to love you and leave you for another week – I hope you all have a successful week  – and more to follow about life at The Royal Horseguards next week!

Anna

Sun, Summer Holidays & the Foodies Festival

Hello everyone!

I hope you have all had a fantastic week – especially all my regular readers who will be enjoying their summer holidays now the schools are out for the summer! I have to say it has been a complete pleasure to commute into London on the train this week as you can even get a seat! At long last it seems to have stopped raining in London and the weather has finally brightened up and we have even been able to enjoy some sunshine which has been great for the guests using our Terrace!

Trafalgar Square was an exciting place to be this week – as London celebrated the one year count down to the Olympics. We are so fortunate to have these landmark events just a stone’s throw from the hotel – it was a really vibrant and exciting atmosphere with all the great and the good in attendance and of course some of the top British athletes now on the final push of their training and aspiring to be medal winners. Team GB did so well in Beijing so of course as a nation we are all very hopeful we are going to have another successful games especially as it is on home ground!

Foodies Festival
If you are looking for something to do this weekend, Battersea Park is playing host to the Foodies Festival – a celebration of all things food. Activities include interactive cookery demos at the ‘Chef’s Theatre’ (with the likes of Murano’s Angela Hartnett or The Ivy’s chef Gary Lee on stage), a pop-up ‘Cook School’, drinks master classes, and kids’ cookery master classes, plus there will be stalls from over 100 food and drink producers, as well as a bar tent and dedicated area for hot food – so certainly plenty to see and do!

I was delighted to welcome a new client to the hotel today – Rowena Appel arrived in from the United States this morning  – she is bringing a large group of 185 people to the hotel next April for five nights so we were finalizing all the arrangements for her group as there is an amazingly busy schedule to get arranged for them that needs to be planned down to the last detail well in advance –  she has managed to rise above the jet lag ( something I really struggle to do!) and has had a whirlwind schedule ever since she stepped off the plane – her levels of energy and stamina are certainly to be admired! Rowena travels extensively around the world and loved the new look of the hotel. This group has not been to London since 2001 so we are delighted to be the ones to entice them back to our vibrant city!

Anyway dear bloggers only a short update this week as time is against me – more about the life and times of the Royal Horseguards Hotel next week!

Anna

Leading Ladies of London

Hello everyone,

I hope you have been having a good week – despite the weather!! It seems as if the skies have been gray and overcast and it has not stopped raining for about two weeks now – although allegedly there is better weather on the way for the weekend!

This week we have been doing lots of business planning – we are putting the very final touches to our Annual Strategic Business Plan, on Wednesday we held our monthly Head of Departments meeting where we shared our goals for the next financial year with the whole management team and also presented the new balanced scorecards that each member of the management team will be using in their department to track their goals and targets next year and these have now been carefully aligned with our business plan.

We continue to finalise all the details of our Staff Appreciation week – one of our activities is all of the senior managers will be going back to the floor during this week – so I will be undertaking a breakfast shift in the kitchen – I used to work as a breakfast chef many years ago as a student so I am sure it will all come back to me – I think there are about 350 people in house the night before so let’s hope they will all have a fantastic breakfast as a result of my cooking without any major disaster occurring in the kitchen – although I am much less of a morning person now so it could be interesting all round!!!  Some of our other ‘placements’ are as follows Bechir our Director of Operations is going to work in Housekeeping as a maid!! Adam our Director of Sales is going to work with Concierge, Victoria, our Rooms Division Manager is going to work in the Restaurant and Ben Purton, Executive Chef is going to work on Front Desk – I am sure all these new ‘trainees’ will enjoy their work experience and gain a valuable insight into departments they do not usually manage – I am not sure who is going to tell Carol in Human Resources that she is going back to the floor in maintenance……….! Anyway I will be sure to keep you all posted!

It is hard to believe we are now only a year away from the Olympics – so next week I have couple of meetings planned to review our operational logistics alongside other Guoman and Thistle hotels – as we still have a lot to plan for to make sure we can service and more importantly our suppliers can service our business adequately for a sustained period of time at very high capacities – despite a number of restrictions around accessing central London during this time. I did not manage to get any Olympic tickets – but some of our team will have and we also need to make sure our team are able to make the most of the opportunity of working in an Olympic city as this is something that will probably happen only once in most people’s careers! Yesterday visitors to Trafalgar Square were able to get a close up look at the Olympic Torch. It’s in the capital as part of a nationwide tour. 8,000 torchbearers will eventually carry the Olympic Flame on a 70-day relay finishing up at the opening ceremony just under a year away.

I am a founder member of Leading Ladies of London which is a female five star General Manager Association – so we will be having our monthly meeting next week – but a key part of our role is to mentor other females who want to be successful in the hospitality industry so to support that we are all joining the Savoy Society Mentoring Scheme and we have a half day training programme next week on our role as mentors. We are also planning our first networking event for senior females in our industry which  we are naturally very excited about as Cartier in Bond Street have agreed to host our first event in September.

Another star we have within our midst here at the Royal Horseguards is Adrian Murfin, one of the bartenders in our Equus Bar who has invented a cocktail called the ‘Undergrad’  which was inspired by one of our guests who was staying with us with her family who was in fact going to be an undergrad in London this September. He invented the cocktail especially for her and her family and then found a competition on line offering a winning prize of a three day trip to Paris for the winner. The Undergrad cocktail is made of up Chambord which is a black raspberry liqueur, fresh apple and apple juice, calvados, raspberry puree, orange bitters and Fever-Tree ginger ale – it is now a personal favourite of mine and we are all keeping our fingers crossed that Adrian’s cocktail will be the winning entry – the competition closes on August 13th  and we will find out if he has been invited to the winner’s dinner and of course up to the stage to accept the grand prize. I will keep you updated but of course if you would like to try the cocktail for yourself before it becomes world renowned all you have to do is visit Equus Bar and ask Adrian to make you one!!!

Anyway will need to round off for now and get back to the business plan – but in the meantime I wish you all spectacularly fantastic weekends whatever you might be doing– hopefully with a bit of sunshine to enjoy and I will be back with more news from the Royal Horseguards next week!!

Anna

Cigars & Chocolate Training

Hello everyone!

Well another week seems to have raced past at an alarming rate – this is probably our last week with a lot of corporate business in the hotel as most of the schools break up for the summer holidays today so we will start to see a lot more leisure guests from next week for the next six to eight weeks!

This week has always be full of activity – even though it is still only July we have started to finalise the plans for our Christmas decorations – I have to say I think this year we are going to surpass ourselves and the tree in the lobby is going to be a glittering master piece – our Christmas brochures also arrived so believe it or not we are already busy taking bookings!!!

The weather has finally held for the last two nights and we have been able to host some private events on our lovely terrace for some of our clients – as we have started to promote quality cigars to some of our guests it has become a popular evening destination for some of our guest who appreciate some fine wine and be able to enjoy their cigars in a tranquil setting! Not every hotel in London has the benefit of outside space so we are lucky to have such a large area at the back of the hotel that lends itself to so many uses – it is a real sun trap in the morning so our regular guests really enjoy having their breakfast out there and we have noticed quite a lot of outside clientele using it for breakfast meetings now we as well – so if you are looking for some fresh air and a great breakfast you know where to come!!

As I consider myself to be a connoisseur of chocolate I was very excited to welcome one of our pastry chefs back to the hotel after being away for a few days last week. We had sponsored Karolis Suidikas to attend Classic Fine Foods training session at Valrhona’s l’Ecole du grand chocolat in France – basically a course in chocolate!! I think by the sounds of it  I would have quite like to have it attended myself but not so sure it would have been such a good investment for the hotel to send me! Anyway he has learnt a whole load of new skills on techniques, textures and style, presentation, afternoon tea pastries and petit fours – so no one is more excited than me to see the fruits of his labour appear on our menus. Tonight we will be introducing his handmade petit fours in our restaurant – and apparently there are some awesome chocolate desserts to come – so I need to find an urgent reason to have dinner in the restaurant soon – quickly followed by a visit to the gym!!!

We are continuing with our Employee Engagement survey this week -  we have had 56% of our team complete it so far – so have another week to keep chasing everyone as we need to try and get as close to 100% as we can – it is the first time for a while our company have conducted such a survey. For a General Manager it is invaluable as it gives a great insight into how the team feel about working here – where we get it right and where we need to improve! We are counting down the days now to our Staff Appreciation Week which we will be running from the 8-12th August – we have got some fantastic things planned  – including doing a staff quarterly meeting in the form of a TV show – which believe me is really a fabulous idea three months out but three weeks away is now starting to keep me awake at night as it does require a lot of creativity to pull it off – but I am sure with the help of the team we will pull it off – I have yet to tell Adam Morriss – our Director of Sales and Marketing that he is going to be the main anchor of the show with me – but as he is coming back from holiday next week and will be well rested so hopefully it will not take him long to get over the shock!!! But most of all I think it will be fun and I like the challenge of having to do something creatively different  – I will keep you posted………!!

Anyway, another weekend is almost upon us – unfortunately it is forecast to rain all day tomorrow – I suppose to be expected as it is summer – now the schools are off and for those looking for something for the family to do the renowned Disney Cars 2 starting Michael Caine, Eddie Izzard, Owen Wilson and Vanessa Redgrave to name but a few – will be having it’s UK premier on Sunday 17th July at the Empire cinema in Leicester Square – could be fun to show up and see the stars!! I hope what ever you are doing you have a fabulous weekend and more updates from the Royal Horseguards to follow next week!

Anna