Nicola celebrates 25-years!
This month, our Guest Services Manager Nicola Hansard celebrated her 25th work anniversary!
Nicola joined Ragdale Hall in November 1993 as House Manager, overseeing Housekeeping, Laundry, Reception, Porters and Front of House. Twenty-five years on, Nicola’s role has developed into Guest Services Manager and she now oversees much of our guest’s feedback, is very much a leader of our Duty Manager Team and is involved with up keep of the building and design, working alongside designers, architects and our in-house team on all new projects.
Nicola’s career in hospitality began after she graduated from Strathclyde University in Glasgow with a degree in hotel and catering management. On graduating, Nicola joined a well-known hotel group where she oversaw the management of four- and five-star hotels, before seeing an opportunity to join the team at Ragdale Hall.
Nicola said: “I was really drawn to working for a hotel and spa which had so much potential; when I joined Ragdale, the hall was much smaller than it is today. Back then the Exercise Pool was the only pool, and we had around 65-bedrooms (now 93) – the hall was probably half the size it is now. While pampering was still high on the agenda, it was also a time when guests had the option to weigh themselves with an on-site nurse when they checked in and checked out of the Hall – thankfully, things are quite different now.”
Over the past 25-years Nicola has been an integral part of the planning and opening of major developments around the Hall, including the Main Pool, Thermal Spa, Dining Room, Verandah Bar, 23-bedrooms and the Rooftop Infinity Pool and Lounge, to name but a few.
“Working on new projects and developments around the Hall is always exciting, however it doesn’t come without its challenges. Running at 98% occupancy all-year-round means we must be incredibly careful (and creative!) in the planning of new projects, as to not disturb guests visiting us on their much-anticipated spa day or spa break.
“When we extended Ragdale with the addition of 23 new bedrooms in the year 2000, we didn’t close any part of the Hall during the build process but knew that logistically we would need to change the number order of the rooms. The night before we opened the new wing, once all guests had gone to bed, we stayed up all night to change all the bedroom numbers, so guests may have gone to bed in room 50 but woke up in room 64!”
From coordinating the unloading of hundreds of pieces of furniture off a lorry for the new bedroom wing in heavy snow, to having to crane new furniture into the Tower room following a refurbishment and operating all kitchen facilities from a temporary Portacabin while a new kitchen and Dining Room was completed, there isn’t much Nicola hasn’t been challenged with.
“One of my most memorable shifts has to be one very wet Easter. We had severe flooding in the area which had closed all roads in and out of Ragdale – they were impassable. Guests had no choice but to stay a little longer (which they were more than happy about!), and we even got to the point where staff were searching for an inflatable dingy to paddle down the driveway!
“During my time at Ragdale, I think it’s safe to say no two days have been the same – and that’s why I love what I do. It’s been wonderful to see so many projects come to fruition as Ragdale Hall moves forward as a business, and hear such lovely feedback from our guests over the years.”
With 25-years overseeing such aspects of the Hall, it’s safe to say Nicola’s fingerprints are all over Ragdale – from the beautiful new wallpaper that catches your eye on a return visit, to the comfy sofas you sink into after a pampering treatment.
Nicola and her husband, Steve, have one daughter and live locally in the village of Syston.
Congratulations Nicola, from all of your colleagues, friends and guests at Ragdale!