July marks one year since General Manager Leanne Cheek joined the JDH Family.
We wanted to know more about her first year in the role and learn about what is in store for Jesmond Dene House moving forward!
This month marks one year since you took on the role as General Manager at the hotel. What have been the most rewarding moments, and with that, the most challenging?
The most rewarding part has to be the building of a strong team throughout the hotel. There were a lot of changes made as I arrived and it proved for some slightly turbulent times - with plenty training taking place and new management in many departments. However, over the months that past, we gained some fantastic additions to the team we have created a strong team here at the hotel. I am so proud of everyone for their support over the last year - I truly feel like we have built a family within these walls.
There have been some major refurbishments taking place across the hotel, including the bedrooms, Great Hall reception bar, and of course, the restaurant. Are you able to give us some more detail about the projects and what this means for the business?
Over the last year all the bedrooms have been given a face lift. We have worked with Interior Designer Karen Walker to really freshen them up and give each room a luxurious feel. To add to the luxury, we have added new toiletries by Arran Aromatics and some new additions to the minibars, from local ales/lagers by Allendale - to Snooze drinks to help guests sleep. It is all about making the rooms cosy and feel like a home.
Completion of work in the Secret Garden has added an extra feature for wedding couples – they now have the option to marry outside with the backdrop of the Dene and the sound of the waterfall flowing behind. With its own bar, it is perfect for drinks receptions during the summer months. But it isn’t just in use for weddings – it provides for an excellent gathering place for other special occasions and corporate events – how about a BBQ on a lovely summers evening?
It was wonderful to see it come together over my first few months in the role as General Manager. The team is excited and we can't wait to see what memories people will make in that space.
But that isn’t forgetting the beautiful space we have in the Great Hall and to enhance this, we have also undertaken work on the Great Hall Reception Bar to give it a more modern feel. We've used golds and floral patterns, warm lighting and fun pillows to keep things creative!
Finally, we have just finished refurbishing the Restaurant and Norman Shaw Private Dining Room. With views over the beautiful garden, we wanted to bring nature inside so you'll see tones of greens, golds and mustard colours. The Garden Room has been given new wooden table tops and a tiled floor, thus providing two different dining environments within the restaurant, whilst still providing the same levels of service.
What are the plans for Jesmond Dene House moving forward?
Danny Parker, our Head Chef, has produced a new menu to coincide with our refurbishment. The style is simple – ingredient led, generous dishes, cooked consistently well. With this more accessible offering, we hope to attract a bigger dining market; for us to be seen as a place to come for a bite to eat not just somewhere to stay.
With all the dramatic changes to the hotel, we hope to see entice more leisure guests – with a real home from home feeling and such a tranquil environment, yet only ten minutes from the hustle and bustle of the city, what better way to spend a weekend in Newcastle!
And with the addition of the Secret Garden, along with receiving the Good Hotel Guide’s Editors Choice for Weddings 2019, we hope to see a boom of happy couples celebrating their special day with us.
Last, but of course not least, is the staff. We plan to keep the family growing at the hotel. We are always on the look for new members to join us and we hope, with the newly refurbished restaurant and bedrooms, that more people will join the family and become a part of the exciting changes happening at the hotel!