Monday, 26 February 2018

In the hot seat with Lindsey Holland – Director at Second Nature Hotels

A career in hospitality is not for the faint hearted, but as everyone will tell you, it is one of the most rewarding industries you can work in, if you get it right! Following a successful career within the sector, Lindsey decided to brave the world of owning & running her own property - Cleeve Hill House Hotel.


Name – 
Lindsey Holland

Hotel (include website address) –
Cleeve Hill House Hotel (www.cleevehill-hotel.co.uk)

What made you want to purchase Cleeve Hill House Hotel?
The views!
I wasn’t particularly looking for a hotel in any particular location, but when I saw the outside of the hotel (I always wanted a building that was old enough to have a story), alongside the feeling of just being at home when I came through the front door and then the stunning views across to the Black Mountains and the Severn Valley it all just seemed the perfect opportunity.

Have you always wanted to be a hotel owner?
Yes….although I’ve not always known how or when. Having been in the industry my whole career and loving it,I knew that at some point I’d want to do things in my style rather than reporting to an owner; I just didn’t know how it would happen.

What are the top 3 things on your wish list for your property?
At the moment having only been in the hotel for a month my top 3 alter daily! Currently I’d say that heating and hot water would be top of the list. I’ve got ground analysis happening at the moment to see just what the foundations are like, and how good the ground is underneath, so number two would have to be a good result! Finally, I want the hotel to be restored to its original beauty and reach its maximum potential. This might take a lot longer than I originally estimated but I’m determined to make that wish come true.

Describe your job in a nutshell – 
I do everything! 13 bedrooms to clean, fix, sell, paint and grounds to landscape… my job is pretty diverse at the moment.

What’s sets your hotel apart from the rest? – 
It’s location; I’m the highest hotel in the Cotswolds so it’s scenic and peaceful and yet only 15mins from the heart of Cheltenham which has a great theatre, every high street shop you could ask for and some gorgeous restaurants to dine in. Oh, and I’m only 5mins from the Racecourse!

What’s your favourite thing to do in? – 
Walking; the Cotswold Way runs past my back door and it’s great to get some fresh air and a different perspective on the day. I love running so am working on getting my off-road running shoes so I can get back to that soon.

What are the first 3 things you do when you come to work?  
Living on site means my day starts in a very different way to any previous routines I’ve had. At the moment, whilst I’m in the renovation stages, it can vary from being up to let electricians in or grabbing some breakfast whilst replying to reservation enquiries. I’m fast realising that from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep it’s very easy to spend all my time working on the hotel, so trying to make sure I get time for myself either first thing in the morning or during the day is something I’m trying to do!

If you weren’t working in the hospitality industry, what would be your dream profession?
Couldn’t even answer that one! I never feel like I’m at work, I love my job and my industry and feel very grateful I have never had that dread of going to work. I’d be too worried in another career that I wouldn’t be as happy! I certainly don’t think I could ever sit at a desk all day…

What’s been your career highlight so far? 
I think I might be on the verge of it!

If money were no object what would you have at your hotel? 
Total refurbishment now! I’m having to pace the work levels due to the hotel needing so much structural change so I can’t really strip the rooms and public areas as much as I’d like to. The dream of being able to just pull out all the 80’s and 90’s fixtures and fittings and carpets etc and go full steam with my décor aims would be amazing.

What’s the most embarrassing thing you have done at work? 
I embarrass myself almost on a daily occurrence at the moment. I’m on a very steep learning curve when it comes to the technicalities of building, subsidence, electrics, plumbing, boilers etc. I have to ask the questions to ensure I understand everything, and the people I’m working with are answering, but I do wonder if they think my questions are obvious sometimes!

What’s your guilty pleasure? 
Making a drink and sitting staring at the view from my lounge. Sitting seems a guilty pleasure at the moment so taking 10 to just enjoy the reasons I moved here is very indulgent!

If you could skip to the future what would you do?
I wouldn’t… It’s really hard work at the moment but I wouldn’t miss any of it. I’m learning so much and meeting some amazing people along the way. Every day is a new voyage and I wouldn’t miss out on that!

If you could describe yourself as a cocktail which one would you be and why? 
I think daily I vary from an over the top and sweet Pina Colada to a delicious but more serious Old Fashioned. I am sure there’s a dash of a Silver Bullet on occasion too!

What would you do if you won the lottery this weekend? 
Call the most amazing designer I know and tell them we can go for gold with the hotel. Then maybe sneak a weekend in Iceland in; I visited last year and am so keen to go back and explore further.

One piece of advice for new comers to the hospitality industry?
Don’t give up! It can be hard, the hours are usually long and it’s not always easy to find the right fit at the beginning, but hang in there, find a mentor and keep trying different places and different employers until you find the one that works for you.

If you have that passion for making a difference to someone’s day, evening, weekend, whatever it might be then there will be somewhere out there that is the right fit for you!

Final say: Any special offers, insights or promotions to tempt our readers to your hotel?

Watch this space! At the moment it’s a bit of a working project but I’m determined that it will be very special just as soon as I can make it happen!

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