I just wanted to post my final blog of 2017 to say a big thank you to all my guests past and present who stayed this year!
There have been some lovely highlights during 2017 which I will mention below:
I’d like to thank Mathias who has been visiting us for 20 Years – he came and spent a week in September and explored bookshops and fire stations! Wendy who has been a regular for the last couple of years …. Well, we finally got to meet the entire family, when her husband and son came to stay for a weekend en route to Poland.
A returning guest came back and gave me a huge hug when leaving saying that coming back again was just as fabulous as the first time. Well, in my books you can’t get better than that…
We had a beautiful bride and groom spend their first two nights here before going on their honeymoon to Mauritius. I helped her with her dress and train up the staircase whilst her husband carried eight large shiny suitcases up to the guest room – I was grateful that they had booked the loft ensuite seeing all the suitcases!
Throughout the summer we had some lovely families return with their children who had grown since they last visited. The children were more excited to see Purdy and Honey and take them for a dog walk than see the sights of London. Talking of Honey, it brings me great sadness to have said our final goodbyes to such a wonderful dog, who blessed us with 17 years of memories and moments.
In the warmer months, we had several impromptu BBQs/suppers where guests came back and we shared food and drinks and the conversations lingered well into the night. One of the highlights this summer from the guests was the garden, everyone commented on how much they enjoyed sitting outside and relaxing. I had colour themed the garden against the backdrop of green with white and pink flowers. I must admit it looked very inviting from the kitchen.
Lemon drizzle cake and shortbread were the favourites this year in the bakery department. We introduced hospitality trays in all the rooms and that has gone down well especially with English guests and luxury Hot Chocolate in the winter months. With some guests just wanting room only, we have introduced a booklet listing local eateries together with a map. The Parklands homestyle breakfast is always reinventing new ways of serving a continental or cooked option and next month we will be busy making the Seville Marmalade. We introduced homemade Chilli Jam to go with the cheeses at breakfast this year – some guests loved it so much they just spread it on their toast with butter. We even grew chilies this summer and used them too.
I am getting more used to working with the various OTAs now, I was a bit lost when I first signed up to Bookings.com a year ago as I was so used to talking with someone on the phone. But I am finding it’s a nice surprise each morning to open up my computer to see the emails marked BOOKING – it makes a change from the midnight phone calls with someone asking if you have a room available.
I had one or two situations in 2017 whereby I hadn’t checked my emails for an hour or so to find someone ringing the front door around 9 pm at night saying they booked a room. I can assure you I was a very red-faced host that opened the door ….. And when I checked my computer there it was – the last-minute booking! Luckily, I have been trained well and I always have the room prepared for just that.
I am closing for a week in January to redecorate by guest rooms – I am going for stronger colours and doing a makeover in the kitchen – I do hope you like the new look when you visit again in 2018. I would just like to end my last blog for 2017 wishing you all a very happy and healthy new year and very much look forward to welcoming you back to Parklands at some point. I am looking forward to seeing again some familiar faces and some new ones in 2018.
Happy New Year