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Wednesday, 01 July 2015

Cumbrian hotel turns tables on tradesmen to give them tea-time treat

News that their tradesmen were stopping for tea is something that might drive many hotel bosses to distraction.

Builders tea party photo
Jason and Adrian Straughton, Stephen Bell, Ken Donald, Graham Kelso, David Ellwood and Alan Butler take tea

But it was a welcome sight for staff at a lakeside venue as they marked the end of their latest phase of refurbishment.

In a turnaround of the stereotypical jibes often levelled at their peers over their breaks, the team of contractors who completed the work were invited to tea – rather than being discouraged from taking it.

Management at Glenridding’s Inn on the Lake held a special afternoon tea for their tradesmen and their partners as a thank you for their efforts.

Work has recently been completed on a revamp of parts of the hotel, on the shores of Ullswater.

It has included creating a new look for its Glenridding Room, upgrades to other rooms and the creation of a new slate floor entrance.

Executives at its owners, Lake District Hotels, were so pleased with the results that they gave those who worked on the project a chance to ditch their overalls and tools to sample the finished product with a tea including fine sandwiches, cakes – and champagne.

Operations were overseen by contractor Ken Donald who has worked for the Cumbrian-controlled hotels group for the past 30 years.

It started in November with a break over Christmas as the hotel became busy during the festive season.

Work on the downstairs was completed in time for a wedding at the beginning of March with finishing touches to stairs and five bedrooms completed in time for Easter.

Mr Donald said: “Most of the major refurbishment work is carried out in the quieter winter months.

“This means we get to work inside during bad weather, which is a real bonus.”

Refurbishment at the Inn on the Lake is the latest phase of ambitious plans by Lake District Hotels to upgrade its portfolio, which also includes Armathwaite Hall, near Bassenthwaite, and the Lodore Falls at Derwentwater. Plans were approved earlier this spring for an expansion that will take the hotel to three storeys boasting 32 bedrooms, potentially bringing 30 new jobs to the area.

It is part of a bid to take the venue up to four-star status.

Director Kit Graves, who says the firm uses local labour whenever possible, was keen to thank those who took part in the latest work and the efforts they went to to ensure they were unseen by guests.

She said: “There are some skilled craftsmen in Cumbria and we have used this team of builders, joiners, electricians and tilers for years.

“They know the high standards we set and always work in an unobtrusive way, minimising disruption for our guests.

“We thought inviting them with their partners for afternoon tea would be a nice way to say thank-you. It was great to see their transformation into guests.”

Joiner Adrian Straughton, who has done work for the hotels for the past 13 years, took wife Lindsay to the thank-you tea.

She said: “It was nice to come and see the finished thing. Afternoon tea was a real treat. We’re coming back with our friends.”


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