This month’s blog comes from Ken Flockhart, the General Manager of Down Hall Hotel – one of England’s most established country house hotels, located in Hatfield Heath.
With the business community slowly coming out of lockdown, Down Hall is making preparations for a busy and exciting summer.
I joined the hotel as the General Manager just before the pandemic hit in the spring of 2020 and am proud of how my team of local staff have worked tirelessly to maintain and improve the hotel, which is set within 110 acres of rolling parkland.
During the lockdown, we have kept a focus on implementing an improvement programme to make the hotel an even more attractive option for the Harlow business community looking for somewhere to reinvigorate and re-energise after months of zoom calls and screen time. The hotel aims to provide a perfect location for professional development, team building or just some morale-boosting post-pandemic rest and relaxation.
Joining the hotel team just before pandemic has certainly presented challenges. We, like so many other businesses, had to think on our feet and find ways to modify our strategies to use the time productively.
The West Wing of the hotel has recently undergone a complete refurbishment, providing a mixture of contemporary business spaces and breakout spaces. Using local tradesmen, many based in Harlow, we’ve been able to create these flexible working spaces which allow us to equally accommodate a small meeting or a conference of 200 delegates plus. These modern spaces are well equipped with state-of-the-art whiteboards and super-fast Wi-Fi throughout.
Down Hall has recognised its clients have become increasingly focused on the provenance of the food served and the pandemic has certainly accelerated and focussed our thinking. In response, the hotel is committed to sourcing local products, such as fresh meats from the Harlow area, wines from Essex, and has also developed its own kitchen garden and orchard. The recently appointed executive chef, Graham Noonan-Chatham, will have access to a wide range of the freshest seasonal ingredients which will appear on the menu of the new restaurant, opening this summer.
In addition, we have added a new trim-trail, to inspire guests to venture outside to help clear their minds between meetings. Making use of the estate is so important with woodland walks and plenty of wildlife to see. For those wanting something a little more energetic, there is always tennis or our newly installed paddle tennis court.
The hotel, like so many in the hospitality industry, is hoping that the hard work done during lockdown to modernise and transform its facilities will pay dividends once the doors reopen.
We believe a change of scenery can provide a new perspective on your business and is a great opportunity to bring staff back together. We are confident these and future improvements make Down Hall the ideal space to set up ‘your office for the day’ and profit from a superb corporate experience.
To find out more about our hotel, visit the Down Hall website