The Hotel TerraVina Blog

New Year congratulations here at TerraVina…

Happy New Year to you all. Personally I’m not a fan of NY’s eve and all the promises of leaving behind the old and starting anew as when you wake up on 1st January, (possibly sore headed!), all the same irritations, worries and niggles remain- they haven’t magically disappeared over night… and then days later you have to deal with the guilt of already having broken NY resolutions. Thus I don’t make NY resolutions as like that I can’t be cross when I fail miserably at keeping any of the vows and promises; but listening to the radio a couple of days ago I heard some very wise words about NY and resolutions……..

The words of wisdom were that merely because it is a new year doesn’t mean that it is a new beginning, but rather it has the opportunity of being a new chapter and it is a great opportunity to have a reason to make positive changes that you may have been wanting to make for a while, but instead of making resolutions that we have little hope of fulfilling for a whole 12 months and usually these are resolutions of things we won’t continue to do, ie: bad habits we want to change, such as no more smoking, drink less, eat less, shout less etc, rather we should pledge to do more of the things we enjoy and generally be positive about the promises we hope to keep, so see friends more, learn a new skill, eat as much but choose healthier options, drink better quality wine, as in that way the goals are more achievable and we are more likely to keep on track with fulfilling them.

It is often the case that we look at the negatives and get weighed down by them, so my goal for this new year is to enjoy each challenge that is thrown my way and embrace change more readily and with open arms and just see where it takes me. I am a self confessed controller and so I am going to take a deep breath and let go just a little bit and have some slack and see how that feels.

In celebration of new beginnings, many congratulations to Chris Harvey, our GM and his wife Robyn, on the safe arrival of a 2nd daughter, Lilly… we are all looking forward to meeting her very soon and many congratulations to Lucy Cockett, our demi chef de partie, who was named Student of the Year from her Exeter catering college this week – brilliant news and we are thrilled for them both and very proud of Lucy’s achievements.

Until next week,

Nx

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...
From: Nina's Blog
Leave a comment

Christmas Disasters at TerraVina…..an extra (unplanned) blog before the year end

Despite having said the next blog would be in 2014, I am writing an extra one as we have had such an eventful few days and I just had to write about it!

On 23rd December, our neighbours’ large tree was bought down in the heavy winds and crashed into our garden, with a huge branch hitting our roof as it fell. A part of the garden has been damaged, the roof whilst still intact is having a structural survey as soon as the weather permits to assess the damage and the fencing is all crushed on one side and we are now open plan, which is very tricky with an inquisitive dog!

However, that all paled into insignificance when we got a call just after midnight, in the early hours of Xmas eve, to tell us that the power was off at the hotel due to the horrendous weather. We were of course worried, but believed that all would be repaired very soon- how wrong we were. There was no real information obtainable from Southern Electric, so no way of knowing when power would be restored and the power did not actually get restored until late in the afternoon on Xmas day and when it did, due to power surges, much of our larger pieces of equipment, such as computers, tills and kitchen extraction exploded! Thus for over 36 hours, on the busiest days of the year, we had no heat, light, power or telephones.

Whilst giving me something to blog about, sadly the lack of power meant we had to cancel, 33 people for lunch on Xmas eve, 47 people for dinner on Xmas eve , disappoint x27 hotel residents who were staying for the two days and 101 guests for Xmas lunch. We did offer cold food to all and a hardy few did brave a cold hotel, lit by torches, candles and with blankets provided to wrap around shoulders and chilly legs- we had a camping stove set up outside for emergency hot water supplies for the kitchen and so we could provide tea and coffee at least, but that was all that we could offer that was hot.

What struck Gerard and I were two things- firstly what a brilliantly loyal, brave and hard working team we have working with us at TerraVina, as they all did a fantastic job to keep the guests as comfortable as possible for the short time the guests were with us; they kept everyones’ spirits positive and didn’t complain in the least about the cold and dark conditions – in short they were all fabulously good humoured and hard working about the whole fiasco.

The 2nd thing that struck us were how brilliantly stoic all of the guests were and how understanding each and everyone was when we had to start calling round to explain the situation and disappoint so many people and spoil so many people’s Xmas plans- the Dunkirk spirit kicked in and everyone was just lovely. Thank you to all those effected who may be reading this- your kindness, words of comfort and sympathy were so greatly appreciated.

The hotel has suffered enormous financial losses due to the power failure and we are so hoping and praying that the on going storms do not wreak even more havoc on us all. However, we do at least, for now, have restored power, but we are aware that across the country there remain homes and businesses with no such luck and our hearts go out to them at such a special time to have been made to be so uncomfortable and miserable.

Whilst we are not overly impressed with the communication or administration of Scottish and Southern Electric; their phones went unanswered for hours, with callers being left on hold, we were on hold on Xmas eve for over 6 hours and eventually gave up, until I managed to get through eventually at 2am on Xmas day morning and speak to a person, but she had no real and useful information to give me; their website wasn’t updated very regularly and when it was, it was merely to state to check again a few hours later, however, we do appreciate the sterling efforts of the engineers who worked through the horrible weather conditions, throughout Xmas time to try to restore power to as many people as possible and we thank them very much for all their hard work.

We can only hope that after what has been a year of trial, tribulations, illness, bereavement and generally a whole lot of turmoil and stress and now high financial losses and costs for repairs and not much joy, that 2014 starts with a little bit more positivity which continues throughout the New Year.

We all at TerraVina wish you a very healthy, happy and prosperous New Year and hope to welcome you all to the hotel throughout 2014.

Till next year!
Nx

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...
From: Nina's Blog
Leave a comment

Au Revoir to 2013 as Hotel TerraVina looks forward to the arrival of 2014 with much excitement and anticipation…

This will be the last blog of 2013 and I have to say that I am looking forward to seeing the back of this year- it has had many highs, not least the most special being Gerard’s award of Decanter Man of the Year, George’s award from the Good Food Guide, of Chef to Watch in 2014, Romané’s numerous awards and achievements and all sorts of other positive and pleasant happenings too numerous to mention.

However, just as most years, there have also been some lows, some more of a “body blow” than others.  On going legal battles, the realization that not everyone we deal with are as honest and trustworthy as we would hope, trees crushing cars, (thankfully no- one was injured), treasured team members “flying the coop” for new and exciting adventures, but who are very much missed and most poignant of all, varied dear friends and colleagues battling with serious illness and coping with bereavement. So on balance it’s been a bit of a mixed bag of a year and I am sincerely hoping that 2014 may bring a little more calm, balance and positivity, as well as good health and much contentment to those near and dear to us.

That said there’s certainly not been a dull moment and whilst life feeling like a rollercoaster can make you feel a bit dizzy on occasion it certainly cannot be called dull!

So all that remains is for me to thank you all so much for your encouragement, support, enthusiasm for the hotel and the team and for reading my blog- it is hugely appreciated and always great to read comments from you all.

We hope to see many of you in the New Year and please do keep up to date with all our news and special offers by reading our newsletter and website, as we have some fantastic mid week rates up our sleeves in readiness for the New Year, starting immediately from 1st January, so hurry back and come visit us soon.

Have a superb Christmas and New Year and all good wishes to you all one and all, from all of us here at TerraVina.

Till next year!

Nina, Gerard, Chris and all the Team

Ps: many congrats to my mate Philippa Robinson and her friend Mel Hatton who
have recently successfully completed the Land’s End to John O’Groats classic
car Tour ‘Le Jog’, with all of their hard won donations going to raise
much-needed funds for Naomi House and Rosewood Free School, (adjacent to our
own adopted charity, Rose Road Association) which will enhance the lives of
the children using the facilities. If you want to read all about their
fantastic achievements then here is the link:
http://www.heroevents.eu/Events/LeJog/lejog_2013/event_report/

Well done Philippa and Mel- brilliant achievement!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...
From: Nina's Blog
Leave a comment

Christmas Time at Hotel TerraVina- twinkly lights, a sprinkle of glitter and some Christmas cheer

Christmas comes but once a year and when it comes it brings good cheer……it forgets to mention how quickly Christmas seems to come upon us fro one year to the next- no sooner have the decorations been packed away only to be unwrapped again ready to be hung once more. This year it was with some trepidation that we unwrapped the decorations from their boxes as we weren’t sure how many would be in good repair- during the storms earlier in the year we had a huge tree that fell and crushed a number of cars along with the storage shed where the decorations, amongst many other things were kept- the glass baubles were all shattered, the “nodding” reindeer now have slightly squashed legs, but still nod and a few other baubles and trinkets did not survive the weight of the tree upon them….. however, with an assortment of new decs mixed with the salvaged old ones, the hotel is now looking resplendent, with twinkly lights, baubles and icicles hanging from various trees dotted around the place.

I love Christmas and decorating everywhere to make it all look festive- I was able assisted this year by Laura, Suzi and Rebecca with added muscle from Matt, Chris and David and Clive our stoic night porters who were tasked with gathering all the decorations from far and wide around the hotel.

We recently hosted a Winter wedding with Christmas as the theme and the room was transformed into a Winter Wonderland and looked truly beautiful- it’s amazing what magic chair covers, cloths and a very fancy fibre optic curtain can make, coupled with beautiful festive floral arrangements- truly lovely.

And so it is that we are all currently feeling very festive and full of good cheer- as always there have been some hiccups with the rare few guests who are not so embracing of the bonhomie of this time of year, but overall we are blessed with lovely guests who we are thrilled to welcome back time and time again and we thank you all for your continued enthusiasm and support of TerraVina- it is hugely appreciated.

I’m off to Romané’s Carol concert, where he is reading a passage from Isaiah and no doubt I will let the side down and have a teary eye as I look on proudly and wonder where my baby boy has gone to be replaced by such a gorgeous, tall and handsome young man instead!

Till next week, when amongst the frantic Xmas shopping, wrapping, tree decorating (at home) and general mayhem that is Christmas I will find the time to write the last blog (probably) of 2013.

Nx

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...
From: Nina's Blog
Leave a comment

Nina is back and writing Hotel TerraVina’s blog after a two week (or so!) sabbatical

After my last blog of a couple of weeks ago, when I ranted and let off steam, I have had a couple of week’s break to calm down, tie up some loose ends and generally just tackle all sorts! Many thanks to Sheila for writing a guest blog in my absence last week- much appreciated.

I would like to say that I am now calmer, less stressed and the world is once more a calm and friendly place- sadly I can’t and whilst I won’t rant again about all the things that continue to irritate, stress and frustrate me, needless to say that the last couple of weeks have been a rollercoaster and I’m feeling ready to jump off! I’m not sure why I am so irritated by the lack of flexibility that some customer services offer, be it in café’s, shops or restaurants; why indifference to guests and customers should irk me so in hotels, hospitals and airports, but despite trying to “keep calm and carry on”, it’s not working and I’m as cross and angry as ever at the lack of customer care that so many of us are subjected to, in so many varied situations, on an almost daily basis.

However, I’m taking a deep breath and thinking calm and happy thoughts, which leads me onto some heart warming snippets to blog about instead.

At the end of November, the annual dinner dance at Rose Road, the hotel’s adopted charity that Gerard and I support, and for whom we are both Ambassadors was held. The evening was lovely, and was a success in raising much needed funds for the charity – some of the young people who are cared for at Rose Road were in attendance and it was truly heartwarming to see them enjoying themselves and to share their undiluted joy at such simple pleasures as listening to the dance music, being turned this way and that in their wheelchairs to the tunes and watching them be enthralled by the disco lights and glitter balls- it puts life’s irritations into better perspective.

This week we took Suzi (our original TerraVina General Manager), out for lunch to thank her for all her hard work over the past almost seven years- we offered a list of venues for her to choose from and as she had never previously visited, she chose Le Manoir aux Quats Saison, which is a favourite of Gerard and I, no less because we love Raymond. George, our exec chef came along too as Suzi’s guest and a great time was had by all- the Manoir team are exemplary when it comes to service standards, but they offer exceptional customer service in a very natural, friendly and warm manner and so the result is that the restaurant doesn’t feel stuffy at all, but just a lovely place to relax and enjoy a delicious meal- Raymond was on fine form and he and Gerard enjoyed catching up and chatting. It was a lengthy and fantastic lunch and Suzi and George both loved the place, which whilst it is always lovely looked even more resplendent with the beautiful Xmas decorations and twinkling lights.

I’m surprised that Xmas is so close- how did that happen? Friday 6th December is our hotel decorating day and we have gathered the troops past and present to join in and help and so we have Suzi, Laura and Jackie, our long past assistant manager and once Restaurant manager coming back for the day to help me and the current team decorate- it’s a TerraVina tradition to all share decorating the trees and we love it- I always worry that the mess and muddle of decorations all over the place will never be cleared away and then in a blink it all looks beautiful and so I am looking forward to welcoming familiar faces back for a fun filled day of decorating and laughter and no doubt a glass or two of bubbles to help us in our decorating tasks!

Till next week and thank you for continuing to read the blog regularly, it is much appreciated and always surprising to hear so many people enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it- I have missed writing it the past few weeks and am very glad to be back!

Nx

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...
From: Nina's Blog
Leave a comment

No Nina Basset, so will her temporary writer do?

In a slight deviation from form, today’s blog is written by ‘the Hotel’ as opposed to Nina. Don’t worry, she hasn’t given up the writing ghost permanently, it’s just a little thing called Christmas that’s keeping her away from the computer and her blog, while she is busy preparing things for the seasonal guests and diners.  Hopefully, the ‘temporary’ writer will suffice for now. Granted we’re not a match for Nina and her blogs, but hopefully the update will be useful to our readers!

As you can imagine the countdown to Christmas is well and truly on now at Hotel TerraVina now and we’re very pleased to say that while the weather has been a tad on the ‘cold’ side, it has made the New Forest look spectacular!  So as usual, the view from TerraVina is a very pretty one!

We’ve got quite a few events happening at the moment as well, including The Philipponnat Dinner With Charles Philipponnat Champagne Dinner. This black tie event is happening on the 1st of December (space very, very limited now) and offers the chance to experience a delightful dinner, complete with a range of different Philipponnat Champagnes and of course plenty of engaging conversation.

We are actually very excited to have Mr Charles Phipponnat with us for this event too!  He is the wine maker himself and will of course be commenting on the wines for us, so it should be a really great evening for all who are there.

Equally our Mid-Week breaks have been a real hit so they will continue until Mid-December if you feel like getting a break away from it all at a fantastic rate!  Do check our Late Availability as well or call us on 02380 293 784 to get the very latest availability if you fancy a night away on a whim!

On another note, we recently sent out our latest newsletter so if you missed it you may want to take a peek at the various events we have happening pre and post- Christmas here! Equally, if you want to join the Hotel TerraVina mailing list please drop us a line at the hotel on: info@hotelterravina.co.uk and we will be happy to add you!

Finally, if you get stuck for a Christmas gift this year, don’t forget the infamous TerraVina dog, our stunning wine boxes and our TerraVina Gift Vouchers!  They’re guaranteed to make the recipient very happy so do contact us if you want to give something a little special this year!

That’s our update done and we’re pleased to say that Nina will very much be back soon where she belongs at the helm of her blog, but for now have a great week!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...
From: Nina's Blog
Leave a comment

Hotel TerraVina hotel owner admits to being a “Grumpy Old Woman”

It’s official, what those nearest and dearest to me have always known, I have this week finally admitted to myself- I am a “grumpy old woman”, albeit only temporarily.

Yes it was my birthday this week, but that’s not why I am grumpy as actually I thought I was a year older than I actually am, so truly this year I have gone backwards in age! No, what is making me grumpy are people and companies who I have had recent dealings with and their acceptance that the service they provide is ok to be merely adequate and mediocre. It’s acceptable to have to chase them. It’s normal to have to have them back to fix a fault at least 3 times over, it’s usual for new equipment to go wrong after only a couple of weeks- really…. Well No, No it isn’t…… have you ever seen the film Falling Down with Michael Douglas when the world just gets too much for him in terms of people’s behaviour, arrogance and rudeness to each other- well that’s me this week, but without the action stunts and the gun!

I won’t name and shame, but needless to say that I have had cause to complain, get cross and then angry and then furious, on so many different occasions this week and I’m normally so placid and non confrontational, but this week my blood pressure has had cause to soar. In fact as I type this I have steam coming out of my ears at the injustice of someone’s rudeness to one of our team- it’s so unnecessary and bearing in mind how much in the spotlight we are under working within the service industry, you would think that those in a similar or even the same industry, would know better and be a little bit more supportive of their colleagues and peers instead of wanting to be so arrogant and rude to them.

I am having a raging moment which is lasting all week.  So far what’s bugged me are…. People who don’t say thank you when you let them out at a junction, idiots who don’t read their e mails properly and leave you for hours worrying about something because they have misunderstood and given you the wrong information and then when they realize their error merely say “sorry, I‘ll have to be more careful, hope it didn’t cause to much inconvenience”- well Yes actually it did and a lot of worry and concern too and then there’s the chap who behaves in  the most arrogant and impolite manner and really makes himself look an absolute idiot and who should know better as he works in hospitality, but didn’t have an ounce of good manners- well he’s not welcome back!

Do you get the feeling I’m still angry- too right I am and whilst I hate to rant, currently all the deep breaths and counting to 100 are to no avail as I’m still furious with all sorts of people and they know who they are!

Thus in an effort to calm down, I have locked myself in a room and I am visualizing calm and happy thoughts whilst typing this week’s blog— not working yet! I’m leaving KEEP OUT on the door.

Till next week when hopefully balance will be restored and I will be back to my usual calm, serene, easy going self- Gerard tells me he’d like to meet that version of me as he has never had the pleasure to do so yet!

Nx

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...
From: Nina's Blog
Leave a comment

Awards galore and all sorts more…

As those of you who read this blog regularly know I am exceptionally proud of both Gerard and our son Romané… one of them is currently in China and the other is in Paris and so it has been just Malmsey and I home alone which has been fun filled, chaotic and hectic and thank goodness for my parents who have stepped in regularly to take over the reigns when I have been needed unexpectedly for a busy mid week dinner service or for an impromptu, last minute organised sleepover before the Paris trip, in between trips up and down to London for various complicated reasons, thus all in all whilst the boys have been away on heir respective jolly outings it has been as hectic as ever…….hence the lateness in this week’s blog and no blog at all last week in fact!

This week’s blog unashamedly is singing the praises of my two clever chaps…. For Gerard, who has won yet another award… Sharon, the fantastic  lady who helps keep our house organized and us in ironed clothes is exhausted from dusting all the trophies! This fantastic one was the Harpers Award for The Best Ambassador for French Wines and we are all, as always so proud of him and all his achievements. He is an inspiration and never ceases to amaze me with his work ethic and his ability to continue to share his knowledge and expertise with so many others in such a charming and passionate way- well done Gerard.

My other clever chap is Romané who has done brilliantly in his first round of assessments for his GCSE options (can he really already be studying for his GCSEs- where did my baby boy go?) and not only that, but he also gained a Distinction in his recent LAMDA exams- very well done Romy….. he obviously takes after his papa.

As for me- well no pressure living in such a high achieving household….. I’m good at sleepovers and being “mums” taxi, so maybe when they create an award for that I can be in the running.

Till next week, when I will have my chaps home and all will be right with the world

Nx

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...
From: Nina's Blog
Leave a comment

Hotel TerraVina on the joys of the New Forest

Imagine the scene…. John Wright, a famous, mushroom foraging expert is discussing funghi around the trunk of a (circa) 300 year old oak tree, which is located only feet away from where he is standing, just about to host a foraging lunch at Hotel TerraVina when, with an ear splitting crack one half of the trunk just breaks into two and half the tree falls down with an almighty crash… everyone held their breath and expected a movie extra to shout “CUT” and wave the clapper board in front of their eyes….. but no there was no such shout of “CUT” or indeed “TIMBER” instead just gasps of shock and bewilderment at what everyone had just witnessed. Literally the tree had simply cut itself into two and one half had fallen mightily to the ground, sadly swiftly followed some 30 minutes later by the other half crashing down too… it was surreal and almost like watching a banana being peeled how the two halves simply fell away fro each other.

The tree was located in the paddock adjacent to the hotel and had been admired by one and all as a magnificent species. We are all feeling bereft at its’ loss as it has left a huge space between the ground and the sky.  It made me think that you can see something beautiful and magnificent every day and yet only take it for granted, only to realize its’ significance once it’s gone. It certainly made an interesting topic of conversation at the lunch that day!

Whilst in a philosophical mood, I have noticed too that we have no pigs as yet in the area of forest adjacent to the hotel despite it being the pannage season- most years we have families of pigs grazing greedily on the acorns and it is a heart warming sight watching the tiny piglets chasing along to be close on the heels of their mummies and then weeks later see them growing fat and round and becoming more and more independent, but this year they are missing and we miss them as they are a constant source of amusement, just as are the donkeys and mules that sometimes meander by, but of course we do have the ponies and deer for the guests to be surprised by – they are the constant and make the forest the special, enchanting place that it is.

Gerard and I were in London this week for Gerard to receive an award- yes! Another one. This time he was invited into the Academy of Food and Wine Service Hall of Fame. Whilst it was lovely to be in London together, as he has been travelling in China and the USA for the past few weeks, (so much washing and unpacking of suitcases!), we were both so pleased to be on the train and arrive at the outskirts of Brockenhurst where you have the most picturesque glimpses of the forest and we felt pleased to be home.

Enjoy the Autumn sunshine

Till next week

Nx

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...
From: Nina's Blog
Leave a comment

Hot news – New Forest hotel, Hotel TerraVina is celebrating being in the Sunday Times Top 100 British Hotels…

An extra blog for this week as I couldn’t resist telling everyone our latest
exciting news

Having received a “heads up” last week that we were to be included in a
feature in today’s (29th September) ,Sunday Times Travel section, and having
been interviewed for a piece within the feature relating to my time as a
Hotel Inspector, we were at the newsagent bright and early this morning to
buy some copies and read with anticipation our write up.

The New Forest did brilliantly, with forest hotels being included in various
categories such as Chewton Glen, Limewood and The Pig, (congrats to all of
them) and of course ourselves, all being included in the Sunday Times Top
100 British Hotels and we are in the Top 10 for foodie hotels. We are
included with many greats, including Le Manoir aux Quats Saison, (well done
Raymond and team- justly deserved) and Gidleigh Park, (well done Michael and
team too) and we are simply thrilled to be included with such fantastic
company.

Well done to our very own TerraVina team- we are extremely proud of George
and his great team of chefs and of course all of the rest of the team,
without whom TerraVina would not be the place it is- thank you all for your
hard work, commitment and passion for what we do.

Last but by no means least, many thanks to all the editorial team at the
Sunday Times for liking us enough to include us in such a prestigious list
of special places- we are very proud to be included.

Full feature here:
http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/travel/weekends/Places_to_stay/article13
18468.ece

Till later this week

Nx

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...
From: Nina's Blog
Leave a comment

Registered Office: Fiander Tovell LLP, Stag Gates House, 63/64 The Avenue, Southampton, Hampshire SO17 1XS, United Kingdom.
Company Number: 600 3856. VAT Number: 900 2668 54.

© 2009 Hotel TerraVina Limited. All rights reserved | Legal | Site Map

Website design by Skyline Advertising
Website management and marketing by Alberghi Marketing