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/

 

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.”