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Greetings from the New Forest July 2013

Greetings from the New Forest!

Wow, wow, wow what weather we have been having! Amazing forest walk today followed by relaxing in the sunshine, with my family!  Long may it last, and I have said it before but will say it again, there is no better place to be than the New Forest.

So, June has just gone in a blur great to see so many guests having a lovely New Forest break and we hope to welcome them back again soon.

We also were lucky enough to celebrate 4 weddings this month, and wish all our couples our very best wishes for their future together and hope that we will become a permanent fixture in their married lives together. It was also a pleasure to welcome back Mr & Mrs Symonds for their first anniversary. I was so sorry not to be able to chat, for those who I have not bored about it I had my wisdom teeth out in June too- all I will say is OOOOOOouchhh!!!

We had a great Father’s Day BBQ and I think all the staff enjoyed it too!! It was a pretty rubbish weather day and really appreciate everyone making the effort to come out and make the day a success. There were quite a few no shows and I cannot imagine how good it could have been if we had been lucky with the weather- perhaps next year. We had face painting and a bouncy castle and all the staff got painted as pirates after the event!

We were also awarded our trip advisor certificate of excellence (I am very proud to say again) this is awarded to businesses that have consistently performed well over the past year and I can honestly say that this is down to our dedicated, friendly and hardworking staff- so a massive thank you!

Another month and another inspector, we welcomed the AA inspector to the hotel who had a tour of the hotel and could see all our hard work, and he wants us to continue with our refurbishment plans! And next year we will have our full mystery guest inspection. It is always good to get the encouragement, as we have shelved our refurb plans for the summer it gets us motivated for the winter- promise I am not wishing away the summer!!

The Forest is waiting and the weather is warm, so we hope to see you soon.

Take care

Imogene Anglaret

Owner

Greetings from the New Forest June 2013

Greetings from the New Forest

Well summer has arrived and none of us have stopped yet- absolutely love it!!!

Lots to report about from the Month of May. Firstly we have had a new cattle grid installed, with relative ease – only 4 days of diversions in through the back gate, in which our guests were very forgiving- especially as every day there was a lot of horses pooing in the car park- just lovely but at least we have manure composting for the rest of the year!!! So far so good- no ponies have breached the grid and no more noise!!!!

We also had our front porch roof fixed, amazing- no more leaks either (touch wood). Probably it does not notice to the naked eye but I think it looks very smart looking out of room 15s window J- we have also had the front doors painted so just the porch to go!!

We also all went on an AA Rosette training workshop, which was really great and I think we all learnt a lot on how to maintain our rosette and hopefully work towards getting a second… dare to dream!! Our chefs did brilliantly, and produced the whole menu for the inspector to taste and critique- which is a tall order for anyone and they rose to the challenge well, with all their dishes tasting at 1 rosette and the desserts at 2…. We have been given some suggestions and taken them on board so the menu is now tweaked- come and try it for yourself!

May also saw us have a mystery guest from Visit Britain, it went well and he was pleased with his stay and also provided some interesting suggestions for us to contemplate for next year, we also received a 2% higher score than last year and so great to know we are headed in the right direction.

We hosted one wedding in May on bank holiday Monday, which was blessed by fabulous weather and a great way to keep the bank holiday magic going!!! Congratulations to the happy couple.

We also had a great advert in the Restaurant section of the Echo, and a great article in the Compass magazine too.

Finally Robert and I have started business coaching to hone and improve our business skills and ensure we are focussing on the right areas. It is fantastic having our own business but with no one telling us what to do we do not want to become stuck in a rut and want to continue pushing forward so I am confident with what we have learnt so far we will get some real value from the course.

Well, I’m off for a walk and to enjoy the dusk sunshine, see you next month

Take care and hope to see you in the New Forest soon.

Imogene Anglaret

Owner

Greetings from the New Forest May 2013!

Greetings from the New Forest!

Apologies for the late news update this month, i am not sure where the time has gone!!

Great news the bridal suite room 17 has been decorated… it looks lovely and very relaxing. The wallpaper, curtains and carpet all complement each other so i am happy!!! Although, a little bit of a creature of perfection, because the room looks so good it has highlighted the fact the private garden and conservatory need work next… this week Robert has started on the garden this week, so hopefully that will soon be tip top too.

Our vegetable garden is also starting to spring into life and we have the fantastic Tom looking after it, and so now we have tomatoes, chilies, courgettes, onions, leaks, beans and lots and lots of potatoes- so bring it on, i can’t wait to eat in the restaurant 🙂

BIG BIG OMG 2 beautiful weddings in April too, which was fantastic for all of us at Woodlands Lodge, although i am going to miss seeing them. But on the morning of both weddings we had a total horse over load in the garden… normally we laugh and its fantastic for guests, but panic set in and luckily John our head chef was able to shoo them back out the gate- all i can think is please don’t eat the flowers in the path- we have photos to take today!!!! Overall the result was good, a bit of churned up earth but most of the plants and grass remain intact.

John has been in the news too, with a great write up in the Daily Echo, revealing his Kenyan training and how he cooked for Nelson Mandela- we have a celebrity chef in our midst it seems…..

We also, have taken delivery of bicycles so we can rent them out to our guests without them having to go to the hassle of driving somewhere and then going cycling, this way our guests get to take advantage of all our cycle routes in the area and can leave the car at the hotel until it’s time to go home!

It’s nice and sunny at the moment, which is just the way i like it, and i just hope it continues, as we have a fantastic selection of New Forest Ice creams in at the moment and i need the weather as my excuse to keep eating it 🙂

Take care!

Imogene Anglaret

Greetings from the New Forest April 2013

Greetings from the New Forest!

Well on the positive side of things it is not snowing today, but seriously snow in April!!! I want to get out and start walking in the New Forest!! Come on Spring…..

Despite the weather we have had a good month, and i am pleased to say our lovely guests have not been letting the weather beat them. We were very fortunate over Easter and had a full hotel and some sunshine too!!!

Disaster struck on Good Friday though and the shower in room 11 broke and not only broke but leaked into the reception with guests in the room on Saturday we went into a panic, good old Trefor our maintenance man came out and tried to help but it was a bust. So we called our guests and luckily they were ok with the problem – so lucky we have separate bath and showers and it did not spoil their break. But this week we have ripped out the whole bathroom and new bathroom will be arriving on Monday. I am very excited with room 11 as it has a gorgeous aspect over looking the garden but needed a tart up, so with the new bathroom we are going to get new curtains and a new carpet for the room too, so a stroke of bad luck has turned out very well for the room 🙂 however, room 14 may be a little delayed now.

Renovations on room 17 are schedule to take place on 21st April for 1 week, so i’ll keep you posted!

Lots of new bits and pieces this month, with new breakfast tables, not sure how it is possible to get so excited over tables but they are AMAZING!!!! Lovely wood square tables make the conservatory- come and breakfast with us 🙂 Also, on a roll we had a team upholstery morning and recovered all the breakfast chairs too.

But, most excitingly of all- the new beds are here!!!! Fabulous Hypnos beds. The Hypnos ethos is focusing on the pursuit of perfection and the delivery of a deep, energizing night’s sleep, helping to fulfill dreams for a healthy life. They are so far living up to expectations and lots of positive comments from guests. So happy!

We launched our Spring menu too, going down a storm – well done John, Sammi and Nick. We have also added an amuse bouche to the menu and a chefs surprise dessert- so definitely come and check us out soon- you will not be disappointed!!!!

We have some cracking Spring deals too, with a 3 nights for £300 and a free dinner on the first night of all 3 night b&b stays check out the Woodlands Lodge website for more offers and details. http://bit.ly/offerswl

Have a great month and lets hope that we can get our coats off and jump into Spring soon

Take care

Imogene Anglaret

Owner

Greetings from the New Forest March 2013

Greetings from the New Forest!

Well, let’s hope that the end of February is the last of the pesky snow that we will see this year and that Spring is prepared to Spring into action…… bored no leaves on the trees, come on Spring you can do it!!!

We have had a surprisingly busy month on our accommodation side of things and I think that guests have definitely been able to take advantage of some of our special offers and enjoy everything that winter in the New Forest has to offer, which is great for us too. Half term was especially busy – which was a huge improvement on last year where we did not see such a successful couple of weeks.

It was also lovely to see the restaurant look so romantic set out for Valentine’s Day and thank you to all the couples that came to dine with us and enjoy Johns sumptuous 4 course feast. Makes me wish Valentine’s day came round more often!!

We have also enjoyed some fabulous weddings and I look forward to seeing more photos very soon! We have also had  a brilliant 50th Wedding Anniversary party- where many of the guests were from the couples wedding! It was also a very international affair with guests coming from all over the world.

Kay Murrant from Pomp and Petals has also been back to the hotel to host another Floral workshop, which of course looked brilliant and everyone’s arrangements looked very professional at the end of the morning! We look forward to the next one in June….. taking bookings now!!!

It has been a really busy time of year for couples coming to look around the hotel for weddings, which made the it the perfect time of year to hold the New Forest Wedding Showcase. Woodlands Lodge hotel took part in the event and were lucky to have approximately 30 couples through the doors on the day. Already we have a provisional and a booked wedding from the event and hope to have a few more confirmations in the coming weeks. It was also fantastic to see so many of our couples to be again! Having said all this it was an absolutely whirl wind day and took me a few days to recover J Our suppliers really made the hotel look Amazing from flowers, stationery, cake, balloons and chair covers it just looked truly beautiful and I hope that they also benefit from such generous donations!

It has felt a bit slow with refurb progress this month, but I think it is all the preparation before the action and the new beds will be in on 12th March and so we can’t wait for that!!! Also, I have to thank all of the staff again for being so great whilst we were away on holiday this month- we had a great time and it was all because we did not have to worry because we knew the hotel was in safe hands! Also, news hot of the press is that we have promoted Tom Robinson our Duty manager to Assistant  Manager- so congratulations Tom!!!

That’s about all this month folks, but we hope to welcome you to the hotel soon. We still have Easter availability and some cracking mid-week offers- so check out our Woodlands Lodge Hotel website www.woodlands-lodge.co.uk

Take care,

Imogene Anglaret

Owner

Greetings from the New Forest January 2013

 

Greetings from the New Forest.

We hope that you are all having a good 2013 so far!

January has been a lot quieter than December, but we have still had a pleasing month in spite of the rain and the snow we have had!!! We have also been lucky to host some special birthday parties this month too! Congratulations to all our birthday girls 🙂

Our customer feedback forms have also generated some lovely comments this month and we have received some especially fantastic comments about the staff – Liana, Tom and Alex and as always John our head chef!!!!

We have welcomed Sammi our new Sous chef to the kitchen team as well this month! So come along and see what he can add to the restaurant!!

We have also had a good chance to start our Spring clean and sort outs. We have completed a bed audit and as a result we have ordered 8 brand new Hypnos beds. These are so comfortable- I can’t wait for them to arrive!!!! We have also been looking into getting new restaurant tables and put a schedule in place to refit room 14 and its bathroom and also room 17- it is about time that our bridal suite is given a facelift. I have to say though it is lovely to be able to plan these projects rather than the need to hurtle into a project like last year!!!

We continue on our maintenance work, with the seemingly never ending plugs and window catches to be changed and tightened up but Trefor is doing a fantastic job.

We have also had a visit from the Environmental Health Officer for our routine check and were thrilled to receive a 5 star health and safety rating- the best we can get. The new system is that you put up your sticker with your rating in an obvious place in your premises – we can’t wait for the sticker to arrive!!!!

We had some bad luck as well in January and we were unfortunately burgled for food and booze, which was so upsetting when we put so much effort into the hotel, the only saving grace was that no one was hurt and that we did not have a function the next day- so we were able to sort everything out and get more security in to stop this happening again. As an aside the police were fantastic and also the country watch team have some brilliant tools to keep out burglars- e.g. padlocks that when tampered with emit a really loud noise…. Wonderful!

In February we are looking forward to Valentine’s Day chef has prepared a wonderful 4 course menu inspired by Romance- we are open to resident s and non-residents so please come along and join us!

February half term is also coming up and the hotel is filling up fast, so give us a call and come down and visit us.

The 24th February sees us take part in the New Forest Wedding Showcase and so we have also been making the final preparations for this to ensure we have all our regular suppliers on board to create a wedding atmosphere in the hotel. Take care and keep warm!!

Imogene Anglaret Owner

Gift Vouchers now available

We have been asked several times whether we have any gift vouchers and i am happy to announce that we now have gift vouchers available! Any denomination available. Just call reception or e mail to purchase.

Tel 02380 29 22 57

email reception@woodlands-lodge.co.uk

Greetings from the New Forest December 2012

Greetings from the New Forest

We are all getting into the Christmas Spirit at the moment the decorations are up and our tree looks so good- even though I say it myself. We have gone large this year and have a 10 ft tree which almost touches the ceiling in the restaurant. We also have some beautiful over the fire place wreaths and another lovely although somewhat smaller tree in the reception. Tom and Alex are trying to put some more fairy lights in the bar and the conservatory tonight in preparation for this weekend’s party night- can’t wait- although a bit scared as we will be hosting a party for 90 guests-eeek! We have kicked off our party preceding with the lovely people from Long Down Activity farm- we hope you have a lovely evening! http://bit.ly/woodlands_xmas_tree

We have had some gorgeous crisp days over the last week and enjoyed lots of walking, although we had a near miss when one of our guests got caught out in the dark after getting lost in the forest and we could not guide them in, eventually we had to call the police! Luckily that’s where the drama ended and they turned up 10 minutes after the police arrived much to everyone’s relief.http://bit.ly/woodlands_sunnyday

The hotel this month has been good, although a lot quieter than October but again gone incredibly quickly- quick aside where has 2012 gone…. It has given us the chance to do several bits and pieces. We now have a lovely new lounge carpet, I smile every time I go into the lounge and I am sure I completely bored some of our guests with my over excitement. We also have finally re done the bathroom in room 15- we now have a shower that works well and a nice new bath, It looks a lot more spacious now the ridiculous spaceman shower has gone!! It is always good to keep moving forward in the rooms. We have also painted through the conservatories to make them fresher and the finished result looks fab. Still, as always a lot of maintenance to do, but we now have a weekly maintenance man and it has already been brilliant to see him crack on with jobs that have been niggling.

We had some frustrations though (as always) when the massive rains of November exposed some leaks in the roof- we thought we had all of these fixed so annoying we still have some roof to fix!!! Luckily nothing ruined apart from the paint on the ceiling but it did feel a little bit like 1 step forward and 2 steps back, but really I think I need to toughen up a bit and not sweat the things I can’t change and work on what we can!

Finally we also welcome Alexander on board, as our new General Assistant. He has only been with us a few weeks but already a real star and has absolutely thrown himself into all the challenges we have thrown at him!

We have a great Christmas program and NYE should be fun too, so I look forward to updating you all in the 2013!!!!

Take care and we hope to see you soon,

Merry Christmas

Imogene Anglaret

Owner

Greetings from the New Forest November 2012

Greetings from the New Forest!

Wow the forest is looking AMAZING! Orange, yellow and green literally we are seeing the colours changing daily and it is fantastic- despite the Halloween down pour- where did that come from???? We have had such a great month overall, it is so good to see our hotel one year on… and we have been loving our guests, weddings and of course the forest! We have had some fabulous weddings and the flowers have been amazing- burnt yellow and orange such a perfect complement to the changing autumn colours outside.

October has seen us try out a few new things too, which has been brilliant as this time last year we felt like we were treading water to stay on top so a fantastic feeling. Firstly we held our live music evening with Ella and Sonny, now Ella is our part time GA and Waitress and she was fantastic and blew us all away with her beautiful voice, we all had a great night, and I hope everyone else did too. We were busier than we expected and so frustratingly I feel we could have benefited from an extra waiter…. But next time we will be totally prepared and I guess that’s the catch when your waitress is an amazing songstress! xx

We also held a mums and kids pre-Christmas event, which was fun for me, Oscar and Eloise. Probably a little stressful for duty manager Tom who is not used to kids J but we had about 100 people turn up throughout the day. The experience included a pot painting stall, mini photo studio, Christmas stalls and jewellery stalls and to top it all off we were lucky enough to have a couple of Alpacas from Petlake Farm too and Kay Young from Sing time volunteered her services and did 2 great singing sessions for us. Lots of coffee, tea and cake as well as a kids menu too.

We have also had a surprisingly good month in hotel with room occupancy up and half term has seen us fully booked, which has been so exciting and we feel we are now so proud of our hotel and are creating a great atmosphere in the restaurant and the hotel.

Today we have just had delivered some lovely leather chairs for the bar- I love them , I love them! So comfortable!!!! We have also bought some lanterns for the window seal as with the nights drawing in it can look a little dark out there!!!

The garden is also looking good, and the last weedy patch has been dug up, all we need now is for the bulbs to be planted and wait to see how it looks in spring!

Lots to do before then though!!! We are now full over Christmas and have lots of great Christmas parties to host and not to mention 3 weddings in December as well. There is still a little bit of availability for NYE so do not delay come and celebrate with us! http://bit.ly/woodlandslodgeNYE

Sad news this month is that we say good bye to our General Manager Mark, who has given us the strength and skill to make the last year easy for us, although we wish him well in his new venture. And  we are taking on board the role of General Manager between myself and Robert and we welcome Lianna into the role of House Manager, and she will be responsible to assist in us the management of all the operational  aspects of the hotel.

Well, that’s about all for this month- I hope to update you on the refurb of room 15 next month – fingers crossed!

Come and see us soon!

Take care

Imogene

Greetings from the New Forest October 2012

Greetings from the New Forest!

Wow, September was a fantastic month at Woodlands Lodge, our last marquee wedding of the summer- you can see some of the glorious photos on our Facebook page http://bit.ly/wmqee . Of this and some of our other lovely weddings too.

It has been a busy month with the Southampton Boat show week providing our busiest ever week in the restaurant! And there is always such a buzz from a busy hotel. This is the first month we are able to do year on year comparisons and sadly Robert and I are addicted to seeing what a difference a year makes! All looking good so far 😉

We have had continued support leading on from our open day from local residents dining with us in the evening and Sunday lunch, it has been great to see this side of the business pick up, as in June we were thinking that we should give up on the Sunday Lunches and are now so pleased that we have persevered!

Continuing on the restaurant theme we have launched our new Autumn menu and I have to say it is delicious. Take a sneak peak on our website http://bit.ly/Restbar

We have also had a really positive response to our Christmas Package and only have one room left for Christmas Day. I am already getting excited about Christmas and have started to work on the Festive Quiz….. Thinking caps at the ready!

New Year is also available to book now – Robert and I are hosting a 5 course gala dinner and live music evening- It’s going to be great, although a lot less eventful than last year (for those who were not with us I went into labour!) so a double celebration- what are you waiting for!!!! If you need a smidge more information then the menu can be accessed through this link http://bit.ly/NYEWLmenu

But for now back to reality, and those niggles that do not go away!!! We are working through our to do list and are getting all the maintenance issues sorted that have arisen whilst we were dealing with the Summer madness, so once those areas are all taken care of I hope that we can get back to refurbing!!!!!! I have lots of ideas about what we can achieve with some new furniture for the public rooms- so just have to wait and take my time now- always the frustrating part!!!

Robert and I have been on a few courses this month too, with a course on Social Media and how to use it better and be more efficient, I think that I have really benefited from the course and hope that we can really give more info and value to our Facebook and twitter followers now! Also we went onto a business coaching course, which has also been great at focussing our minds into what we want to achieve and giving us a plan on how we can achieve it- much needed getting all our ideas onto a spread sheet rather than a jumble in our minds!!!

I have to say (apart from today when it has rained all day!) I think Autumn is my favourite season in the forest, as the leaves changing from green to orange is just beautiful!

We look forward to welcoming you all to the hotel soon,

Take care

Imogene Anglaret

PS-I thought I would include a picture of our AA Rosette Hunters Restaurant for you this month, as I seem to have spent most of this months’ post talking about it!!

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