BW – You’re definitely one of the stars of ‘A Very British Hotel Chain: Inside Best Western’, what was it like having the camera crew in the hotel and following you around?
Heather – The hotel is my passion, I can talk about it all day, so it was really exciting to be involved. It was such a great opportunity. I always say “if you’re not going to jump in and swim, you’ll miss out” so I was just myself and tried to make the most of the opportunity. I am nervous about hearing my accent on the TV though!
BW – What do you love most about the Best Western Premier Yew Lodge Hotel?
Heather – When you walk in, it feels like a hug. I always say we’re corporate with a cuddle. Some hotels can be really stuffy and boring, but you can feel the warmth here. Customers always mention it. We have a lot of both corporate and leisure customers, we attract all sorts of people, but the one thing they all mention is the warm, family feel.
BW – Two of your hotel rooms have been transformed into escape rooms, where did the idea come from?!
I believe we were the first hotel in Britain with escape rooms. We had a couple of rooms which were underutilised, and we want every bit of space in the hotel to work as hard as possible. The senior team had a brainstorm to see what we could do with them and someone came up with the idea for escape rooms. We’ve got two – Houdini’s Last Secret and USS Redemption – and people just love them. You can feel the excitement and energy coming off them when they come out.
They’re perfect for teambuilding and we now do escape rooms in a box too. You can put them in a meeting room as an ice-breaking exercise.
Think you can beat the clock? Book an Escape Room Package for later in the year
BW – In the show we see you helping a couple book their wedding. Do you host a lot of weddings?
Heather – Yes, we love them and try to do 50-60 a year. We have couples getting married here whose parents and grandparents were married here too which is really special. We always say “it’s your day, just tell us what you want and we’ll see what we can do to make it happen”. Some people have been planning their weddings for years and it’s a real privilege to help make their dreams come true.
It’s nice to make memories with people – that’s important. Our job is to make people happy, whatever reason they come to the hotel.
BW – What’s your favourite event you’ve hosted over the years?
Heather – For our 50th anniversary in 2007 we found 50 brides and grooms who had got married here – one for each year – and invited them back for a celebration. Thirty-four of the couples renewed their vows in one big ceremony and all 50 couples came for a Champagne afternoon tea. I’ll never forget that day.
Quick fire questions
- What meal would you order in the hotel restaurant?
The aubergine parmigiana every time, it’s delicious.
- What’s your favourite room in the hotel?
Room 439. The bed is nice and high and you feel like a princess getting into it. There’s a lovely fluffy mattress topper and it’s just really cosy.
- Have you successfully completed the hotel’s escape rooms?
I haven’t actually done either of them! I saw them being built so I know all the secrets and tricks. I have done two escape rooms in the past though and I have a 50% success rate!
- If you didn’t work in the hotel industry what would you be doing?
I honestly don’t know. I can’t imagine any other job. I love it so much. It would definitely have to be in the hospitality industry. Maybe I’d open my own restaurant.
- Describe Yew Lodge in three words…
Corporate with a cuddle. I know that’s four, but that really is what we’re all about.