MEET MRS. CHEEK
We have appointed our youngest general manager here at the hotel. Leanne Cheek, 35, is our third general manager in our 13-year history and has big plans at the hotel.
Lancashire-born Leanne, who joined us in July, was excited and eager to get on board when offered the job. “I thought it was too big, then quickly realised it was too good to turn down. It is a big challenge but brings together all of my experiences.” Leanne believes there are four key strengths a good general manager needs: attention to detail, strong leadership, good communication and a warm personality.
Growing up near Blackburn, Leanne was introduced to the hospitality business through a family friend who was a head chef at the famous Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons near Oxford. She loved the excitement and the social aspects, and was prompted to study International Hospitality at the University of Central Lancashire.
There have been few areas of the business in which Leanne hasn’t worked, from pot-washer to waiter, housekeeper to restaurant manager, receptionist to event organiser. And in everything from a pub to a big international hotel in Baltimore, USA, to the Michelin-starred Northcote in Lancashire. By 26 she’d landed her first General Manager position, overseeing the opening of a gastropub. She and her chef husband, Chris, moved to the north east in 2015 to be closer to Chris’s family, and together ran the brand-new wedding venue, Healey Barn, at Riding Mill, Northumberland.
Leanne has big plans to further develop the house as a destination hotel and restaurant, the latter now headed up by Great British Menu contestant Danny Parker. “I want people to come to stay for Danny’s food and the experience of the hotel, rather than because it’s somewhere to sleep. This isn’t just another four-star hotel; it has real individuality”.
Our managing director, Peter Candler, is excited to have Leanne on board and believes that “the hotel needs someone who is hands-on, is unfazed by the unexpected and who encourages staff to play to their strengths. She is keen to be out and about around the hotel, meeting guests. To me, that’s key to giving a hotel warmth and personality.”