I would just like to point out for anyone wondering, that I really don’t imagine all of the dramas, adventures and funny stories that I write about in this Hotel Blog. I’m sure now and then people must wonder how one small hotel can have so much excitement, but that’s what makes being a hotelier so exciting- you just never know what each day will bring and the forum of a hotel blog is an ideal way to put it all in perspective, write about the day to day happenings, have a laugh about it and then take a deep breath and carry on…….and so it was that last Friday evening started out as innoculously as most evenings do. The team were geared up for a busy service as we were expecting a party in the Rutherford Bench (our private dining room) and a full restaurant. We were already slightly wrong footed as we were three staff down due to sickness and annual holiday. I was feeling ill with a heavy cold, Suzi had hurt her back and Sophie her knee, but we were prepared…. Or so we thought!
The atmosphere was buzzing we were all at full throttle and an exciting service was unfolding when the cry came from the kitchen that there was no hot water. Not imagining the scale of the problem, Chris was dispatched to sort out the water heater. We weren’t unduly worried as we have two of all the plant equipment so that one is working and one is on standby and so we were relaxed in the knowledge that the standby one would click in….. except it didn’t, because not only were the water heaters not working, the pumps and the water softeners had also all failed. There was no water feeding from the tanks into the system, so no matter how much back up equipment we have, none of it was operating as the computerized message was that there was no water in the system and so it had all shut down…… and so the nightmare began to unfold. Guests started to ring down to reception to let us know that there was no water. We started calling in the engineers and frantically leaving messages for them to call us back urgently. At the same time we were trying to juggle the restaurant service, answer the phones and appease the guests, who it has to be said were all brilliant, took it in their stride and sympathized with the situation. The pot washers were running back and to with boiling water from the stills and kettles to keep the kitchens in hot water and then the cavalry arrived in the form of George and Malcolm, who managed after a couple of hours to locate the problem (a teeny tiny faulty switch). By this time the bar was overloaded with glasses needing to be washed and those restaurant guests who were aware of the problem were enthralled as the next action packed moment was played out….. in amongst the mayhem a guest fell off a bar stool, (thankfully he was unhurt) and one guest summed up the whole evening when she laughingly told us that they had checked in at the last minute as their own boiler had failed at home and she had been without heating or hot water for the past week… only to arrive to no hot water here either! One of our team, Tom, had a great line which I must recount- as the chaos was unfolding all around us, he turned to me and said….. “I can’t wait to read next week’s blog!” Bless him, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Now the saga is all over, I can look back and smile- as usual the team rose to the occasion splendidly. They coped with all the stress that was thrown at them, dealt with the guests brilliantly- all of whom were lovely and very understanding and just got on with what the TerraVina team does best, looking after people….. as for Gerard, he bless him, was standing amidst all the chaos at the bar, chatting to guests and enjoying a glass of bubbles and looking for all the world like he had not a care in the world….. oh to be a man!
Thank you George and Malcolm- you were both stars and kept us all going….. Hopefully this week will be a bit less stressful and hectic!