As I mentioned before, I lived in London for a while. My partner and I loved exploring the historical monuments, especially all the castles. We had two large dogs and I was enrolled in interiors and garden design school, and as a result exploring the beautiful countryside of England was the ideal getaway. One of the best vacations I have ever taken was during this idyllic time in England.
The UK is a place rich with history. Walking through an unknown town seemingly in the middle of nowhere, you’ll come across house foundations older than any in the United States, and roads from Roman times. I always loved this rich historical aspect, and as a result was enchanted by the suggestion of a friend. He told me that the Landmark Trust was a UK-based building conservation charity, founded in 1965 by Sir John and Lady Smith, that rescues buildings of historic interest. It then rents them out for vacations. And they are wonderful. So obviously, my partner and I decided to stay in a property owned by the Landmark Trust.
We stayed in a beautiful small castle off the coast in Devon that slept 4. Kingswear Castle was built in 1502. That’s only 10 years after Columbus’s first voyage across the Atlantic! The castle is a small defensive castle part of a pair, which represent the most advanced military design of their day. It did not, however, last long. Once military weaponry improved, Kingswear Castle became redundant. It was left to decay in the 1650s, but then rescued and turned into a summer residence in 1855 by Charles Seale Hayne. The Landmark Trust bought it in the 1950s, and now its an incredibly comfortable castle right on the ocean. The castle is fitted with all the important modern amenities, but I loved its remoteness, which meant that my partner and I could enjoy the beautiful countryside with our dogs in tow.
The thing that I love about Landmark Trust accommodations is the same thing that I am trying to achieve with Stonehurst Place; they are authentic buildings which allow you to enjoy the local culture in ways a hotel stay never can.
Facebook and Pinterest often recommend to me power positive words and advice, ways to help me be successful, but often I find the topics don’t really appeal to me. Posts showing me how to be a tidier person or helping manage my time don’t grab my attention. But recently, an image on Pinterest entitled “10 Ways to Be Sensationally Successful at Your Job” from the American Express #Passion Project struck me. It didn’t only appeal to me because I love charts and diagrams, but mostly because I realized almost all the points on the chart were covered by how we manage Stonehurst Place. How we manage Stonehurst Place is directly related to our guests’ satisfaction and to our success.
To me, one of the most important thoughts on this image is number two, “See your manager as a person you help, not a person who tells you what you do.” As a manager, I love this. It is exactly my style and work ethos. I also immediately thought about Stonehurst Place innkeepers Paul and Lori, who are sensationally successful at their jobs. As wonderful hosts and team leaders, Paul and Lori are always in step with me. Whether they are reminding me to do managerial tasks like renew my business license, or I am reminding them to give each room a “What-Would-Barb-See Inspection” before they leave, we are a team. That’s what makes Stonehurst Place work so well. In the end, my design of the new Stonehurst Place Carriage House is vetted by and done in conjunction with Paul, while my designs of the interior areas are always in conversation with Lori.
What also adds to how “sensationally succesful” Stonehurst Place is that we, like number five, “Spot the high performers and mimic them.” Stonehurst Place opened in the October 2008, and by January 2009 we were TripAdvisor’s #1 Atlanta inn. This catapult success was not only because we work tirelessly to ensure the highest quality and standards at Stonehurst Place, but also because we are observant. Every chance we get to evaluate another property’s success and adapt it to our own guest experience to make it that much more perfect, every time we ourselves are inn or hotel guests – we take in everything and bring back the best to Stonehurst Place.
My favorite is number seven: “Find a way to stand out.”