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The Big Venue Interview – Heythrop Park

This August it is all about our Venue of the Month, Heythrop Park. This week we interviewed their Conference Office Manager, Ruth Honeywell to answer those burning questions.

What motivated you to get into the hotel industry and how did your career journey start?
The Hotel industry was never really on my radar. I started out as a weekend housekeeper at The Lygon Arms Hotel in Broadway throughout my A-Levels and Gap Year prior to University. I studied Sports Science so this was really not what I had planned! Towards the end of my degree, I was offered the opportunity to go back to the hotel to do a 2-year management placement. I thought this would be a good move and this would then allow me to travel afterwards. I actually met my now husband there and ended up staying for 8 years so all plans of travel went out of the window

What attracted you to this venue in particular?
I wanted to develop in the Events area and my background of Country house hotels meant I was looking for something special. I was drawn to the Grand Manor House and the Estate and was excited by the plans to develop the Resort into the Estate it is now.

How long have you been at Heythrop Park and what changes have you seen at the property over the years?
I started at Heythrop Park in January 2008 so lots of changes have occurred over the 11 years. The work to develop the estate had not yet begun so I saw the Estate transform into the beautiful 18 Hole Golf Course which opened in 2009 and the conference centre refurbished into a Crowne Plaza property and opened in 2010. We have since had refurbishments on bedrooms, The Orangery Restaurant and the addition of the Marquee ( the Archery Suite) so there is always something new to sell!

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The venue has received a number of positive reviews for its outstanding customer services and attentive staff. How do you motivate your team to deliver professional service on a daily basis?
Taking pride in the property you work in is key. Knowing the customer and anticipating their needs. We have a number of clients that return year on year and it is great that our staff remember them and they remember us so it really does become personal.

What would you consider makes a great hotel?
The team! You can have the best facilities in the world but if you do not have the right staff then everything will fail

What is your favourite feature of the property?
From an events perspective, the Conference Theatre is our most unique space. It will really transform a quite ordinary in Conference into something spectacular. We have had some amazing events in there and listening to Key Note Speakers in that environment is something special that you would not get in a flat conference room. The Manor House Foyer is the best feature and in the Winter months when the fire is lit and the Christmas Tree is up, it really is the best place to have a drinks reception

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What’s the most unusual feature at the venue that still remains from the original estate?
Probably the Whale Cave! This is an area in the estate that once housed the bones of a Whale that was gifted to the owner of the estate. The Cave is still there but the skeleton is sadly no longer there.

Finally in just one sentence can you describe Heythrop Park and why it’s a venue not to be missed?
We are flexible and unique residential conference venue combining modern facilities with 18th-century elegance, situated in the beautiful countryside providing the ultimate WOW factor to any conference, meeting or event!

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