The Arora Hotel now has a blog!

Welcome to the brand new Blogsite for the Arora Hotel, Manchester.

While people can find a lot of information about our city centre hotel on our website, this Blog is designed to give you a much more personal insight into the hotel, from the people who work here.

We decided to launch the Blog to guide our guests, and hopefully new customers, through our on-going renovation and restoration work which will result in a fabulous new boutique-look for the Arora.

We are passionate about our hotel and the hospitality business in general, but the most important people are our guests. That is why we felt it was so important to keep you up-to-date with every stage of our building work.

We will update the Blog regularly with news and tips and also some honest insights from our staff.  Please feel free to post questions and queries on here and we will do our best to answer them as quickly as possible.

So sit back and enjoy the journey with us.

For those who don’t know the Arora is a 140-bedroom Grade II listed building, in the popular Princess Street area of city-centre Manchester. The beautiful façade of the building is testament to the architectural heritage of the city and has remained unchanged for decades.

But the big changes are happening once you walk through our front door.

Please excuse the temporary hoardings and men in hard hats, it will all be worth it in the end we promise you!

The entire ground floor is being re-modelled to provide a much more individual and personal experience for guests and visitors.

The old reception desk, seating areas and ground floor gymnasium have gone completely. Our reception desk is temporarily located in front of the lifts and the fitness suite has moved permanently upstairs into one of the former meeting rooms.

The ground floor transformation will include an open plan reception area with three individual desk pods for personal check-in. Secure rooms for luggage are also included.

There will be plenty of sofas and soft furnishings to give the hotel a real boutique feel, with new flooring, lighting, wall coverings and art work.

But the biggest addition will be the new coffee shop and patisserie. The idea is to create the atmosphere of a pavement café where guests can sit and enjoy a hot or cold drink with snacks and cakes while watching the world go by.

In April we move upstairs with the redecoration of the bedroom corridors, including new carpet throughout. Longer term we will be refurbishing all the bedrooms.

So the builders have moved in and in the nicest possible way we hope to say goodbye to them downstairs in April when we will be officially unveiling our ground floor new look in its entirety.

In the meantime please keeping checking back on this Blog for regular updates and news on our progress

The Great Arora Bake Off!

Mary Berry would have been so proud …. as staff at The Arora staged their own Bake Off!
First prize for their amazing Arora bed creation went to Sarah and Marie from Housekeeping who won afternoon tea at the Radisson Edwardian for their joint effort of an Arora Bed accompanied with an icing swan.
In second place was Linzi from the nights team who won a cook book for her red velvet cake and third prize of kitchen utensils went to Jane the General Manager for her chocolate cake.

However, Jane gave up her third place spot and allowed Amanda, the F&B Manager to jump to third for her football cake.
Organiser and judge, Assistant Front of House Manager, John Chadwick, is now planning a calendar of competitions over the coming months.
He said: “A heads up for the next competition, it will take place in July and the brief for this one is pastry. It can be sweet or savoury but the pastry has to be homemade. Any filling can be used, shape and size and again must be inventive. Scores will be based on taste, creativity, execution, texture and difficulty to make.
“So let the flour see the butter!”
John’s lines might be cheesy but he thinks they are grate!

RENOVATION IS LOOKING UP!

Restaurant & Bar Manager Amanda Heeks

Although most of her day is spent in the basement of the hotel, Restaurant and Bar Manager Amanda Heeks still likes to pop upstairs occasionally to keep an eye on the building progress.

For her customers wining and dining in the iconic 24 Bar & Grill the only evidence of the renovation work above their heads is the occasional builders’ noise which has been kept to a minimum. 24 even has its own entrance direct from the street.

But this is down to Amanda’s careful planning, encouraging lunch time guests to dine in the bar so they are not directly beneath the building work, and the set up for dinner starts when they know the builders are leaving for the day.

Says Amanda: “We are aware there may be some disruption and we are working together to ensure this does not impact on the guests”.

Amanda, from Manchester, celebrates seven years working at the hotel this year.

Her role includes responsibility for the day-to-day running of breakfast, lunch and dinner service, conference dining, room service, and bar service.  She ensures customer and guests needs are exceeded, looks after a team of ten people, ensuring revenue is maximised and she also takes on a duty manager shift once a week.

She says: “I am really looking forward to seeing the new open plan reception area, the modern feel, the change of furniture and the colour scheme. It will be a more welcoming atmosphere, hopefully they will see the larger space, modern and upbeat colours, just a happier more well designed area for our guests to enjoy.”

Amanda has worked in some larger hotels during her career, but says she loves working at The Arora as she feels the foundations and the aspirations are genuine.

“We are independent, we never seem to lose focus of what a hotel should provide and we can always go that extra mile” she says.

“We have a great team spirit and all work hard to provide our guests with the best customer service possible. After working here for nearly seven years, I am really excited to see some great changes within the hotel, I am looking forward to the guest feed back and I am looking forward to the future here at the Arora. “

 

LET’S HEAR IT FROM THE TOP ….

Hotel General Manager Jane O’Mahony

As the ground floor refurbishment nears completion now seems the ideal time to hear from the lady who has overseen the whole project, hotel General Manager Jane O’Mahony.

Jane has been a key part of the management team – whose input has been invaluable in the planning and implementation of the facelift – as well as managing the staff to maintain the smooth running of the hotel.

As general manager Jane’s job includes motivating a large team to deliver service standards. This has never been more crucial than during the weeks of building work.

Her role also involves driving a sales and marketing strategy, meeting budgets and exceeding revenue targets , managing the financial performance of the business, hitting deadlines, networking, liaising closely with the sales and revenue team to make sure business is coming in at the right price and not forgetting managing the operation of the business.

Jane, who has worked at the hotel in her home city for three years, says: “The refurbishment project is a very exciting time for me. There are many changes taking place and to be involved in so many decisions has been very interesting.

“I have completed a total of eight hotel openings/refurbishment programmes during my career so it’s a real passion for me to be highly involved in change. On top of the project work I am still managing the operation of the business so it has been a very busy but exciting time.”

As someone who embraces change and has the vision to see the benefits for both customers and staff in constantly upgrading and improving services at the hotel, Jane is getting excited as she can finally see completion day approaching.

When asked what she is looking forward to most about seeing the finished result she says: “A new fresh, modern look that ties in with the image and feel that we want to portray and deliver to our guests. The new lobby space will be open, warm and welcoming so that the guest experience and hospitality which we pride ourselves on can be executed to the highest level. “

Customers and guests will benefit from a new, modern vibrant environment with space to work and relax.  There is a brand new coffee shop, which will sell good quality food and drink products, embracing a café culture style option for either a business or leisure meeting.

Jane adds: “The special thing about working at The Arora is the hard-working team behind it. The passion that runs through the hotel is incredible, the people who work here give off so much great energy to everyone that it is contagious!

“What sets us aside is this team and the hospitality which is offered. Each guest is treated as a VIP, from the moment they walk in the door to the moment they depart we make sure that their journey with us is relaxing and enjoyable.

“This year the hotel is undergoing many more exciting changes so watch this space!”

FIONA CARRIES ON FUNCTIONING!

Fiona Nicolson, Meeting & Events Co-ordinator

For Meeting and Events co-ordinator Fiona Nicolson the current refurbishment has doubled her workload – but she’s not complaining!

Because event spaces have been temporarily reduced, Fiona is working extra hard to ensure all the conference and business needs of the hotel and its customers are being met by using all available rooms.

Her job involves helping customers arrange an event at the hotel – whether it’s a small business meeting, a large conference or a wedding or birthday party.

Says Fiona: “I am the only person in this department so I provide help from the first call up until the end of the event. We used to have three boardrooms and two larger function rooms but during the refurbishment I have lost a boardroom and a larger function room. Naturally it’s making me work twice as hard to make sure all the rooms are now sold to hit my budget!”

Fiona, from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, joined the hotel staff four and a half years ago. She started as a bar tender, progressing to bar supervisor then reception before taking up her current position.

She added: “I’m really looking forward to the hotel having a fresh, bright, stylish new look that will wow our guests. It will give them somewhere nice to relax – whether it’s in the reception area or the bright coffee shop. As we are a smaller hotel we strive to give all our guests a personal experience, whether it is their first or twentieth visit.”

VICKI’S MARATHON EFFORT FOR A CAUSE LOSE TO HER HEART

In just over a month the hotel’s HR Manager Vicki Ivory will be facing a marathon of a completely different kind when she takes to the streets of the capital.

For Vicki is running the London Marathon on April 23 for a cause that is very close to her heart.

Her friend Katy lost her son Lukas to medulloblastoma, a malignant brain tumour, in 2013.  He was just three-years-old and a close friend of Vicki’s son Benjamin – they were born just two days apart.

So Vicki is tackling the gruelling 26.2 miles of the famous London course to raise funds for Ronald McDonald House Manchester.

She said: “Katy and her husband Andrew, along with their newborn daughter Violet, spent much of 2013 using the facilities in Ronald McDonald House whilst Lukas underwent treatment in the Manchester Children’s Hospital.  They were provided with a home away from home, a place of sanctuary amongst all the chaos of their lives at that time.

“Since Lukas passed away they have raised funds and continue to sponsor ‘The Railway Room’ in Lukas’s honour.  He was a huge fan of Thomas the Tank Engine so this is a fitting tribute.”

Vicki says she intends to run, walk or crawl her way over the finish line and all she wants at the end is to raise lots of money and enjoy a welcome glass of prosecco!

Vicki would be incredibly grateful for any sponsorship. Support can be pledged at

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/VickiIvoryTeamLukas

For more information about Ronald McDonald House and the support they provide please click on the below link.  When you click the picture you will see Lukas’ sister Violet and her Dad Andrew.

http://www.rmhc.org.uk/our-houses/manchester/

 

JACKLYN & MARIE KEEPING THEIR HOUSE IN ORDER

You would think that the housekeeping department would have their work cut out during the renovations with all the dust and debris that building work creates.

But on the contrary Housekeeping Manager Jacklyn Glover and her Assistant Manager Marie Winward say the building work is not affecting them at all and it’s very much business as usual, which is great news for guests!

Jacklyn, who lives in Sale, Cheshire, is celebrating her five year work anniversary at the hotel this month.

Marie, from Manchester has worked here for twelve and a half years.

Their job entails managing the housekeeping department and ensuring that cleaning standards for the guests are prefect for their stay.
Jacklyn is the current holder of the coveted  Howard Raynor Lifetime Achievement Award which was awarded at the Manchester Hotelier Ball last year.

The annual event recognises the talents and achievements of hotel professionals across the North West. The top award went to Jacklyn in recognition of her outstanding service to the hotel industry, showing excellent leadership skills and a high standard of service and commitment to hospitality.

As well as managing the 29-strong housekeeping team she is also a duty manager and responsible for Customer Service training, staff well-being, organising events, fire training, health and safety.

Talking about the ground floor facelift Jacklyn said: “I think our guests will definitely love the new fresh look which is bringing the reception and ground floor area right up to date.

“This hotel works well, we provide great service, it’s like being part of a family that has retained  team members over the years.”

Marie adds: “I am really looking forward to being able to see the hotel become more modern and competitive and our guests benefitting from a better product. It will be good to see the feedback we get from our regular guests.”
When asked what she thinks sets the hotel aside from other hotels in Manchester Jacklyn says: “We have strong employees with a great deal of knowledge of the industry, helping us deliver first class service and the passion to ensure everyone who visits us has a wonderful guest experience.
“It’s a great hotel to work in with amazing colleagues. We combine teamwork  with friendships and it works.”

Adds Marie: “I completely agree with Jacklyn, this hotel keeps to a very high standard even back of house which reflects in the service we provide”.

PETER IS A MAN ON A MISSION!

One thing that soon becomes evident about the Arora’s Maintenance Manager Peter Angerman is that he is definitely a glass half full man.

While many people would become frustrated at the many challenges that such major building work throws up, Peter chooses instead to view it as gaining experience.

“I am enjoying every part of it. It provides me with additional experience. I am happy to see that my knowledge of the building is being put to a good use” he says.

Originally Peter is from Gorzow Wielkopolski, Poland but Manchester has been his permanent home for 11 years.

He has worked at the hotel for 1,601 days – a man of precision! – and his job is critical to the smooth operation of the hotel.

His responsibilities include looking after every technical aspect of the building from fire safety to health and safety and more recently parts of the IT systems.

When asked what he is most looking forward to when the building work is complete Peter said: “A cup of coffee of course! But seriously it will be great to see how our hotel is transformed.

“Our customers are going to love the new look and the relaxing atmosphere, not to mention the great cup of coffee made from beans roasted just ten minutes walk away!

“The special thing about working at The Arora is their vision of the future. This hotel has a unique character and the employees are passionate, always willing to go the extra mile to provide exceptional service to our guests.”

SEAN IS ‘FACE’ OF THE ARORA

Sean McIntyre is the ‘face’ of the Arora and he is very often the first person guests see as they walk into reception.

As Front of House Manager he has the enviable task of making guests feel welcome, ensuring a seamless check-in process, and running a smooth and slick reservations operation.

He is also the man at the coal face during the current renovation work and probably one of the best placed people to comment on its progress.

Says Sean: “The building work is affecting our work area only because it is my area that is getting refurbished! We have shrunk in size temporarily but we have adapted to the working conditions superbly – and are managing just exactly the same.”

The old reception desk has been ripped out and temporary hoardings erected to protect guests – and staff – from the building site beyond.

Meanwhile Sean and his team have decamped to a temporary check-in desk in a small area of the foyer where they are still managing to effortless run all the front of house operations.

Eventually they will move into a new ultra modern bespoke reception area, with three individual check-in desks rather that one long reception counter. The general feel will be of a very special boutique hotel.

Sean was born in Hemer, Germany but moved to the UK at a very young age and has lived in various parts of the country. He has lived in Manchester for the past nine years and now likes to refer to the city as “home”.

For almost three of those years he has worked at The Arora and as Front of House manager his responsibilities include managing the front of house team and department, reservations and looking after guests ensuring they have everything they need during their stay,

While his current focus is on making sure guests aren’t too distracted by the building work he does admit he is looking forward to the day when he can visit his new reception area without wearing a hard hat!

He says: “I am looking forward to the completed work to see the massive changes and the modern appearance, we are even changing our uniforms to fit with the new look.

“We are looking forward to the new layout, which includes better interaction with the guests, and getting to know them more as we are introducing a coffee shop and lounge area. Also we are adapting to new quicker equipment which will also boost work time efficiently.”

Sean believes customers will benefit from the new look and feel because it will make the hotel and lobby area more inviting,  and provide another place for them to relax and unwind in.  Most important personal engagement will make guests feel valued.

He adds: “Working at the Arora has been fantastic, the opportunities and the involvement of new changes inspires you and makes you feel valued. Having worked here for nearly three years now -with more exciting times ahead – it really is a great company to work for.

“The fact that we have independence – so a lot of the thoughts and processes we have are our own ideas – sets this hotel aside from others. Yes we have similar services and procedures as other hotels, except everything here is injected with our own individual personality.

“I would like to say a massive thank you to Amar Chima and Jane O’Mahony for involving me and my team in such a big change – we are all excited to see the department changes and the whole look to the hotel.”

Our Grade II Listed Building

Contemporary in design, yet still maintaining the unique character of its Grade-Two listed status, the four-star Arora Hotel Manchester enjoys the perfect location in the heart of Manchester City Centre.

This award-winning hotel offers 140 Superior, Premier and Executive accommodation bedrooms, meeting facilities including two dedicated boardrooms, a basement bar and restaurant, 24 Bar & Grill, with private dining facilities and a 24-hour Fitness Centre.

Situated on Princess Street, the Arora Hotel Manchester is directly opposite the Manchester Art Gallery and within walking distance of all major business areas and the convention quarter including Manchester Central.

Whether your stay is for business, a night on the town or a weekend of culture, all major attractions are only a stone’s throw away from the Arora Hotel Manchester, including the world famous “Theatre of Dreams” at Old Trafford, City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester Arena, The Opera House, Arndale Shopping Centre and Exchange Square.