More Bedroom Progress!
Hi again, Rebecca here!
It’s been another busy few weeks with more room developments here at Galtres Lodge. Advance warning, this post got super long – sorry about that!
The task of refurbishing the bedrooms is a challenging one, not least because we are very often fully booked for a long way ahead, especially on Friday and Saturday evenings, and so physically being able to get in to the rooms are our first hurdle.
We are constantly looking ahead for any windows of opportunity where we might have some time to take a room off-sale for Chris and the team to get in there and make improvements. We’re constantly changing and adapting plans depending on the time available, as well as other influences at the hotel. Some rooms need several weeks to complete the work required; whereas some can be vastly improved in just a week. In some cases, we have only redecorated the bedrooms and the bathrooms remain as they were, they will be re-visited at a later date.
On the whole, I think we’re doing a good job – sometimes the progress is slow, and it definitely feels like an uphill struggle at times – but our feedback is getting better and better, so that must be a good sign that most of our guests “get” what we’re trying to do.
Sometimes, it can be quite anti-climactic completing a room, especially when we’re working right up to the last second to get the room ready for a guest’s arrival. After a week (or often more) of intense pressure working as hard as possible to get the room ready by the deadline, we often don’t even have time to take a photograph of the completed project before a guest has arrived!
Another thing that we have found is that your perception of your “worst room” can change very quickly. When we first arrived, the rooms on the 3rd floor (12, 14, 15) were the ones that generated most complaints, they were small and dark, and after three flights of stairs to get to them, most people were already in a bad mood before they had seen the room that they would be staying in. I maintain that they had a certain charm as they were, but the combination of being slightly dated as well as everything else meant that they were the most unpopular available.
It works well to start from the top down when refurbishing a property, because dust falls downwards! So Chris and the team set to work making our worst room (15) our best, and now we have a beautiful “Romantic Room” in the eaves of the building, with a stunning freestanding copper bath as a feature in the bedroom, and a view of York’s historic rooftops and York Minster.
Next, they set to work on rooms 12 and 14, and all three rooms are now lovely spaces in which to spend time. We rarely get any negative feedback about these rooms – except for that room 12 does not have a wardrobe (it does have a recess with a hook with hangers on though) – but it is called a “small double” to accurately reflect its size, and we think that the additional space in the room is more of a benefit than if we were to cram a wardrobe in there.
So, with those rooms now much improved (the bathroom in room 14 is still yet to be done, and it’s very small – sorry!), suddenly a room which didn’t previously give us much bother became the top culprit for complaints – room 11!
Room 11 was small, but no smaller than 12 and 14, which at the time were all in the same category – yet the main issue was the bed in room 11; it was a low “small double” bed, which is not that much larger than a single bed – cosy! Plus, there was a large wardrobe which meant that you didn’t have much space to walk around the room. There was also a fireplace, which had been covered over, and didn’t look very appealing.
So, suddenly room 11 was our biggest problem. Chris was excited to update this room, as despite being small, it has very high ceilings and a York Minster view. We were also very excited to discover a little bit of history in the fireplace that I mentioned. We assumed that the white sheet of chipboard covering the fireplace hid nothing more than a sooty hole, but in actual fact there was an original cast iron fireplace! There was a small hole on one side, but we patched that up, and with a bit of polish, this is now one of the best features in the room!
This room is still small, but we have bought a new double bed, and replaced the large wardrobe with a half-size one (following the uproar from the lack of wardrobe in room 12!), and it is now one of the most charming rooms in the hotel. The corridor to get there is very messy from muddy boots walking up and down it throughout the refurb, but that will be sorted soon, and most people are quite understanding!
At this point I was very much hoping for a rest! I myself don’t get too involved in the physical work (aside from a bit of painting now and then), but it is a challenge managing the rest of the business when there is so much turmoil going on. We have to be careful of noise, dust, managing when/if we can turn the water/power etc off so as not to disturb other guests, plus we are constantly moving rooms around to ensure that, where we can, we don’t allocate anybody to a room that might be disturbed.
However, suddenly we had a new “worst room” – room 2. Room 2 was previously categorised as a “superior double” – the superior rooms were so called as they were slightly larger than the standard rooms, plus they have pretty beds, such as wooden sleigh beds, which are a nice feature. However, these rooms now looked/look very dated in comparison to the freshness of the refurbished, but smaller rooms. Especially since I share so many photographs of the new rooms on the website and social media – these are in contrast to the tired and dated “superior” rooms, as such they are no longer called this.
I go to great lengths to ensure that we sell our rooms fairly, there are images of every room type on our website and all booking channels, I rename the rooms “refurbished” when they are done, and have even added a message on our website to choose your room carefully as there is a big difference between the various options. However, many people will book our “economy single with separate toilet” yet complain that the room doesn’t look like the photo of the “romantic room” that they saw – please don’t be that person!! If in doubt, call us and we will help you book the best room for you.
Anyway, I digress – room 2 was a room that many people had previously loved – it’s on the 1st floor, right next to the stairs, so very accessible, and a good size. I cannot remember getting (m)any complaints about this room when we first took over. But suddenly, this was our new “worst room”. The bedroom itself was not the main issue, the carpet was so old that it looked dirty, despite having been cleaned several times, it was never going to lose that grey colour that showed its age, but people seemed forgiving of that: The issue was the bathroom.
Room 2 has two bathrooms, one with a shower and sink in it, and the toilet was in the other one. It was the toilet that cause the problems, in a world where I have to laugh or else I’d cry, the funniest review that we had of this room was from a gentleman who said that he sat on the toilet, leaned forwards and stuck out his arms, and he was able to have his nose on the wall in front of him and his elbows touching the walls on either side! It was small, and we agree with (most of) the complaints.
So, suddenly room 2 was top of the agenda!
In reality, room 2 was a much easier challenge than the other rooms, as, aside from the toilet room, the main problems were largely superficial. The whole room was painted and a much-needed new carpet was fitted, and within just a few days this room looked a lot better. Chris and the team managed to move the door to the toilet room, giving it some required extra space, as well as a sink unit, so you now feel less like you are using the facilities in a cupboard – great news!
So that’s where we’re up to. Somewhere amongst all this we have also decorated room 5, which with the simple act of moving the bed, seems much larger than before, and we have also re-painted and re-carpeted room 1.
I’ll continue to write updates as and when I get time. I try to add new images to Instagram and Facebook when I can, but if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01904 622478 or firstname.lastname@example.org.