Over the last months, plastics have been a hotter topic than ever before; sparked primarily by Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet. People and businesses around the world have been moving quickly; trying to help reduce the amounts of plastics they use.
Here at Club Continental things are no different. Adam (the Club Continental Manager) and his team have been busily working hard to ensure that they are doing what they can so that they don’t add to the shocking statistics. They do not want to add to the amount of single use plastic waste that ends up in our oceans.
Today, we take 10 minutes out of Adams busy schedule to hear why he feels so passionately about the cause…
We’re removing all single-use plastic from Club Continental…
As participants in the leisure and fitness industry, we have a responsibility to work with other sectors to tackle this problem head on. No one starts their day thinking that they want to add to the plastic crisis. Yet, we are all living in a rapid social climate, trying to fit so much in to our day, so because of this we look for convenience. Sometimes it’s just easier to rely on others to help us make the better choices.
Here at Club Continental we know our members want to help make a difference. Plastic has a real and direct impact on our health; the environment and all of our futures. It’s something that I feel we as a gym need to help address.
Over the last 30 years I have witnessed single use plastics becoming the norm within the gym environment. I hope that our new initiative (to be launched on the 1st September 2019) will inspire others in the industry to audit and overhaul, where possible, their own green policies in a similar way.
Things are changing…
What’s amazing is many within the sports arenas and sectors already have made significant change. We saw Wimbledon this year making a massive step. Many Premier League clubs are urging their players to use their influence to empower and mobilise their supporters to consider their environmental impact. Plus many gyms around the world are totally eradicating single use plastic from their vending machines, protein and shake bars and changing rooms.
To me it makes absolute sense for organisations to adjust their policies and strategies to support their members, staff and guests to tackle the issue. We want to make it as easy as possible for them to see that together, we ARE and we WILL make a difference.
From September 1st we will be removing all single use plastic from Club Continental. The main area of change that our members and guests will see this happen is by the removal of the plastic cups used with our water fountain.
I am enormously proud of the effort my team puts into helping people achieve their goals; they are all mindful and considerate – whilst motivating and supportive. So, when I mentioned my concerns after calculating the annual plastic cup consumption for the Club, they all supported me. When you realise that each plastic cup has a lifespan of around 35 seconds; you know things simply have to change!
Our next step as a Club is to deliver other sustainability initiatives – such as energy and water reduction. I know that I will have the support of our members and friends. I know this because I am sure they will want to help make tomorrow better than today on all counts.
Adam and his team are in the process of created an amazing resource for anyone that wants to help them on their quest. Like Club Continental on Facebook to access this awesome PDF that will be coming soon!
No matter what, your wedding day will be fabulous.
It’s a day when you are love struck; you have found your happy ever after and you are about to be part of the ‘I Do’ crew. All of the planning has paid off and you are all set for the most magical day of your life.
Many couples spend months, perhaps years even planning their day, and the first thing, once you have found you soul mate, is to find the right venue for you.
There are a number of requirements that many couples note as important to their decision making; one is definitely the location. Couples want to make it as easy as possible for their friends and loved ones to join them. Then of course the GREAT British weather has to be considered! That is why we at the New Continental Hotel are a popular choice.
But choosing a city centre location can mean that you don’t always have the grounds to incorporate nature. So how can you have it all…?
You bring the outside in!
Here at the New Continental Hotel, we have many couples who love us for our location, our hospitality and our attention to detail; but they also know that it’s really important to them to have nature too.
If you’re thinking of a wedding at an indoor venue, this can be a smart option. No weather concerns, no cold evening receptions, and they are of course perfect for winter weddings. If you are worried that you might be missing out on the beauty of the outdoors at your indoor wedding, then please don’t! There are so many ways that you can bring the beauty of nature indoors in really safe and clever ways.
Here are some fun options that we have loved seeing over the years that have cleverly brought an outdoor feel, to an indoor wedding…
Flowers are an obvious go to…
Flowers are such a beautiful way to add colour and a spot of nature to your indoor wedding.
There are endless ways to incorporate your flowers to make the inside feel more “outdoorsy.” We have seen beautiful potted plants, especially herbs as centrepieces. We have seen beautifully crafted arches and flower walls. Ceiling instalments have also been a beautiful addition to the dressing of the room, as well as floral favours with seeds. Baskets of flowers just scattered around the edge of the room and so much more.
You’re colour scheme can dictate your flowers, or your favourite flowers your colour scheme. We had a couple that loved Daisies’ as they had a real significance to their meeting; so they had splashes of yellow with hessian – simple, elegant and chic. Adding natural fabrics is a great way to add nature too. Fabrics such as hessian and linens can make great table runners and can complement an outdoor-themed indoor wedding in an instant.
The colours you choose…
When we think flowers, we naturally think colour!
The colours you choose can make a real difference to the overall feel of your wedding. If you create a palate, thinking about everything you love about the outside, it’s a great place to start. Here at the hotel, natural greens, tans, and greys, instantly transform the room into a lush, nature-filled environment. Then the rich autumnal colours, the oranges and burnt yellows adds depth and beauty. Having plenty of leaves and greens incorporated in any arrangements always makes things feel lush, natural and elegant.
Whilst both the flowers and colours you choose will all help bring the outdoors in, you don’t have to stop there!
Utilising water can also create an amazing natural feel and it’s great when lights hit and the colours are reflected on the walls in the evening…we are in Britain’s Ocean City after all!
Water centerpieces are a great option; from shallow bowls to large, wide glass vases once filled with water, you can create floating lily heavens, or rose petal ponds, or simply add small flowers to recreate a floating garden look – water is a great addition.
Natural items are also a really great way to add nature! Silk, wood, sand, pebbles, slate…the possibilities are endless and beautiful!
Let Us Help…
Having a wedding in an indoor space is a practical option, and here at the New Continental Hotel we do all we can to help your day go your way. When it comes to how you want the room to look, we will work with you every step of the way. Having your dream wedding is our intention and no two weddings are ever the same. If you are looking for a venue and have ruled our a city centre location, perhaps come and just have a look, see if we can help you bring the outside in!
We all have misconceptions in life: Long distance relationships never work; Men are better drivers than women; A good holiday is a foreign holiday; Girls are easier than Boys…the list is possibly endless!
In most cases a misconception is based on hearsay. If someone tells you something enough times, it’s like water dripping onto granite, it will eventually wear a hole! Or having one bad experience; that we then take as a given; ‘I ate out in France and it was terrible, I hate French Food!’
In life, we should never deny a bad occurrence. Yet what we don’t want to do is turn that single event into our overall perception; a perception that then becomes our perspective. Instead we should take a step back. Ask a few more questions and then make our decision on a fully rounded observation. BUT IT’S HARD! It’s just so easy for our perception to become our reality…
But why does it matter what our perceptions are?
Well! When it comes to misconceptions, they could cause us to miss out on some amazing adventures and making terrific memories. All thanks to either the words of others, or a single experience.
We need to try and have an open mind; easier said than done! We need to try and look through another lens and we always need to find out more, just to be sure!
So what are the common misconceptions when it comes to hotels?
That all depends on what stories have we told ourselves through past experiences or what we have let filter into our consciousness by others!
But here we look at some of the most common misconceptions that we hear within our industry, to hopefully help you make the most of new adventures near and far…
Weekend stays are always more expensive.
While it is true that some hotels charge higher rates on weekends, this is not always the case for every hotel.
It largely depends on the clientele that it serves. For example, there will be some hotels in a city that cater handsomely for business travellers. So they will have high demand Monday-Friday. With this higher demand during the week days, their rate card will be higher compared to weekends. Therefore this will push up prices for those busier times.
In any one city there could be numerous hotels, some much cheaper on the weekend than others purely because their main demographic is a business traveller. Other hotels may be more expensive at the weekend because their main guests are leisure guests. All of these hotels could be offering a similar location; and of course a bed for the night; but perhaps different facilities or services which attract different kinds of guests.
GOOD TIP | Many hotels would say that there quieter day is Sunday. It sees the back of the weekend, but the working week has yet begun. You can therefore find many amazing offers for weekend stays that have a heavily discounted Sunday night rate included – or perhaps even a free Sunday stay.
Here at the New Continental Hotel, we have a great many weekend offers to take advantage of – even in the Summer months.
Hotels charge for everything and you have lots of additional costs.
This is NOT always true at all; especially here at the New Continental Hotel. We have a huge amount of added value that we don’t charge our guests for. Included in the room price is of course tea, coffee and biscuits in every room and (divine) hair and body washes.
We also offer guests complimentary use of Club Continental (our in-house leisure complex with indoor pool, gyms, sauna and steam room) as well a FREE enterprise grade Wi-Fi. We do have a small charge for parking at just £3 for 24 hours. Other parking for that duration in the city ranges from £6 – £50. Plus with many there is lots of walking!
GOOD TIP | If you book direct, you can usually get more value and also more information on any additional costs that you may incur.
Your identity and credit card information is stored on your electronic room key card.
No, it isn’t. Not at the New Continental Hotel anyway.
When new technologies and room card keys were first used, there were rumours that hotels were encoding room key cards with guests’ personal information, including credit card numbers.
A prospective identity thief with a card reader could gain access to ALL of your private data by fishing your discarded room key card out of your wastebasket, your wallet or your tab holder.
The fact is that most hotel cards are like ours, simply encoded to get you into a certain room on the days of your stay. There is no room number on our key cards itself either, so if it is lost we simply deactivate the lost card remotely and with your ID activate a new one for you.
Some hotel room key cards do have an internal guest profile number and an indicator that suggests if you have a credit card on file to authorise purchases to your room. If that is the case it is always worth treating that card like you would a voucher card, and taking the hotel number with you when you go out for the day.
GOOD TIP | If you do loose you room key card call the hotel can deactivate it immediately.
A hotel uses all of your personal information to bombard you with marketing.
This is simply a VERY BIG NO!
Like all businesses, charities and organisations that take any of your data, we must all have Data accountability and be fully compliant with all GDPR laws and regulations. We use methods and practises to keep your data safe and be transparent with how and why we use and store it.
Putting all the jargon to one side, we do need to take and store some personal information on our guests for legal reasons. Also to ensure we are able to deliver a good service. BUT WE DO NOT use this information to push products or services their way.
We will send an email before a guest stays, with their confirmation. Then one post stay, to make sure everything was as they expected and hoped for. BUT we DO NOT market to them unless they have explicitly agreed to receiving our discounts and offers for future stays.
If asked we will always delete all data belonging to a guest as soon as the reason for storage no longer applies.
We ask for an email address to access our Wi-Fi, but only to verify users and guests as legitimate users. This is not automatically used for marketing unless guests have again authorised and requested that we do so.
5. All hotel rooms in a certain price range are the same.
Regardless of whether it’s a big brand or an independent hotel like ours, no two rooms are exactly the same in almost any hotel. Of course, that doesn’t mean that a hotel is lying to you when it just shows a handful of rooms on their website, it just means it is nion impossible for a hotel to show every single room – unless it is small enough to do so.
For example here at the hotel we have 99 rooms. All different and in some cases extremely so. In the extreme cases we do show these in different room types such as; Standard Double, Standard Twin, Standard Single, Superior, Four-Poster, Family. But not every room can be shown as there are just too many!
As a listed Victorian hotel, every floor has structural differences, thanks to stairways and an elevator shaft and just quirky uniqueness’s! There are different room sizes and obviously different views, but we just can’t show them all.
GOOD TIP | If you want to know what your room looks like, just ask! It may be a room on their website that they can direct you to, or they could have a picture on their booking system that they can send. If they don’t have either of these, most hotels would be happy to take a picture and send to you. We find that for some guests who suffer from anxiety they really need this, in order to know what they are arriving to.
6.All hotels have rooms with good views.
Sadly this isn’t the case.
As a city centre hotel that was built in the 1800’s, we have had many buildings pop up around us! So not every room in the hotel has a jaw dropping view anymore!
From some windows around the hotel you may see bits of our large car park or of our rooftop, others have the beautiful curve of the crescent and the south end of town. Yet what we lack in every room having a divine view, we make up for in our amazing city centre location.
With Plymouth’s breathtaking vista – you are never far from a great view. The New Continental Hotel will give you the perfect setting to explore our beautiful city by the sea.
7. Staff working in hospitality expect tip top tips.
We have all read recently that the big-name restaurants and hotel chains have come under attack for their unfair tipping policies. Ranging from allegations that management take a percentage of tips, to service charges that never make it to the waiting staff’s pockets.
Reading this opened up a big debate among staff here at the New Continental Hotel and among many settings in the sector.
Many of the staff who have worked at the hotel for years noted that they remembered a time when the tips they made enabled them to live a better lifestyle. As these tips made up a large percentage of their wages. Therefore you had staff competing on service to get the best tips possible.
Wages in hospitality are on the rise and certainly on par with many other professions now. Plus we also have a different ethos, one which is naturally more driven by passion; which together has led to things changing.
Staff want to ensure everyone gets the best possible service and experience, not driven by a cash tip, but by their own passion and purpose in a profession they love.
Within our small (but perfectly formed) teams, we concluded that there is no longer an expectation for tips. Although obviously heartening when a tip is given, staff who were asked said that they actually find a hand written note or a mention on Trip Advisor just as rewarding.
8. Hotels use white linen because they have to.
This was a real statement given by a real customer, just last week.
He was talking to a chambermaid who was wheeling her trolley full of beautifully white linens down the corridor. He stopped for a brief conversation about servicing his room. Within the conversation he mentioned how happy he was that hotels now had to use white linen!
Although we do not haveto, white sheets are one of the most effective ways for hotels to prove their standards of cleanliness. White linens also make other colours in the room pop; such as cushions and throws, art work and vases. Also, when you have to buy as much linen as we do here at the New Continental Hotel, white is just about the easiest colour to match!
Our chambermaids and housekeeping staff work tirelessly to make stays for our guests the best they can possibly be. Having all the same size, and the exact same appearance, means they don’t need to worry about matching the mattress sheets with the top sheets, pillow cases and duvets. Because there are no patterns or shades to match up – it makes it a little easier on them!
Also, you can just throw them all in the same giant washer and wash them all, then make up the beds as needed, from the same giant pile of beautifully clean sheets!
End of an era as Betty retires after more than 30 years at the New Continental Hotel…
BY | Elinor Eaton, Development Manager
From serving up afternoon tea and Sunday Roasts; to leading service on special occasions and silver serving international stars. Betty has been the Queen of hospitality at the New Continental Hotel Plymouth since the 80’s.
You ask anyone that knows Betty and they will tell you that for as long as they can remember, she has been a part of the fabric of Plymouth’s hospitality trade and community. Feeding and watering thousands upon thousands of guests’ at the New Continental Hotel hasn’t been a ‘job’ for Betty; it has been part of her very being and aside from her family, one of her biggest of passions.
The Day Has Come…
But this August, at the young age of 80, Betty is shelving her piny to embark on a well-earned retirement.
The decades haven’t all been about business for Betty though; many customers are now lifelong friends. Not least because everything that Betty has ever done has been about the experiences had by those she has served. She has always had a truly genuine desire to make customers happy and at home in Britain’s Ocean City.
Betty has been involved in hundreds of charity events over the years. From Charitable Dinner & Dances to serving at functions for under-privileged children and, on occasion, ensuring the very best of times has been had by donning a fancy dress outfit for a themed party night or two! Of course we cannot forget her infamous Mother Christmas costume. Every year Betty is in charge of ensuring little ones have the most magical Christmas at the New Continental Hotel.
It’s A Sad Day…
Bobbie Hajiyianni, Director at the New Continental Hotel explains what an asset Betty has been to hospitality in Plymouth:
“One of the greatest pleasures for me as the Director of the New Continental Hotel is our wonderful workforce. They are by far the biggest asset not only to my hotel, but for our city. Every member of staff gives 110% in a very testing sector. I feel so fortunate to have them not only as part of my team, but grateful for their passion and enthusiasm.”
Betty is no exception to the New Continental Hotels passionate team; she along with so many others is a constant engine of passion; ignited by the desire to ensure all of the hotels guests’ have the best experiences. That they are all truly looked after and cared for.
Hospitality In Plymouth…
Bobbie continues: “When my Father & Mother bought the hotel in 1984, I’m sure they could only have dreamt that 35 years on, we would still be employing staff that shared their ethos and passion for hospitality.”
Betty is not only an exceptional member of staff and family friend at the hotel, but has proved herself to be an exceptional human being, with an integrity of character that is beyond reproach. Bobbie adds: “She has certainly helped put Plymouth on the map! I have no doubt that her footprint will be felt for years to come. Betty has been able to truly make a real difference to our guests stays, and for that our entire family will be eternally grateful.”
As Plymouth canters in to 2020, tourism and hospitality will continue to be a key driver in how our city is seen by those that visit during the Mayflower 400 celebrations and beyond. In a rich and valuable sector, it is facing an ever-increasing labour shortage crisis:
“Betty is not one to be selfish with her time or indeed work in a silo. Her passion has always been contagious. Joining us with her many years of experience and knowledge, she instantly began to share her skills and passion with our teams. Betty has a gift for challenging ways of thinking; requiring us all to explore different, new and improved practices to ensure our customers are always happy and that we always strive to do better.”
A Local Hero…
Like so many in Plymouth’s Hospitality sector, the training and mentoring of younger staff has a huge amount to do with not only amazing settings like City College Plymouth, but also the people that are already in the midst of the industry.
“Betty has trained and mentored hundreds of people within the sector over the years, perhaps even thousands. Her true legacy will be what she has given to those that she has taught and inspired.
If ever there was a local hero who exemplified the highest standards of professionalism and passion within Plymouth’s hospitality sector, it’s Betty Davis. She can recite with pride the riches that Plymouth has to offer, and knows the names of all the wonderful people that have stayed with us over the years. That’s because for over 30 years she’s cared; she has been proud of Plymouth and delighted to show our city off to those visiting.
She will be missed; but she will never be forgotten by anyone she has worked with, trained or served.”
Although I have never been married myself; I have had the privilege of attending a lot of weddings in my life! So, upon reading the research from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) I thought it would be interesting to share my thoughts.
Let’s unfold together the latest changes in the way those that choose marry, choose to do so…
I love a wedding!
Not only are they full of beautiful outfits and great food; weddings are also full of so much love and laughter. And of course the odd happy tear or two! They are also full of amazing imagination and creations, helping couples express their love for each other; but also their unique personalities.
No two weddings I have ever attended have ever been the same. Odd when you think about it! Weddings in its simplest terms are two people in love joining together for a future of happiness.
Yet they are all so very different!
Like every person is different! Yet all made up of two eyes, a nose and a mouth, we are still unique beings. And isn’t that wonderful? How dull life would be if we all looked the same – and how sad it would be if every wedding was a replica.
When you see peoples personalities expressed on their wedding day, their love for each other makes even more sense. It’s like looking into their love scrapbook, seeing the pieces that unite and bond them. It’s truly breathtaking.
The venue a couple chooses also says so much about who they are as a couple and what matters to them. When I was younger and dreaming of my wedding day, I would often think of myself walking barefoot down an aisle, scattered with grape veins in a vineyard in France, strolling to the gentle tunes of Sade at dusk. Sometimes my fairy tale would take me to a morning on a sunny beach, wearing diamante flip flops and linen, saying ‘I do’ to the sound of the waves gently stroking the sand.
And interesting, I wasn’t alone!
Many others were also conjuring up the idea that they too were going to step away from a more traditional wedding.
Researchers from the ONS have provided an interesting insight into what those inaugural dreams of a less traditional take have done to the current landscape for the wedding sector.
They have reported that the UK has seen a record low in religious ceremonies. They say that only 25% are choosing this more traditional day and the rest of the couples are having a more social event.
The New Continental Hotel…
This echoes our annual report for the New Continental Hotel during the years 2018/2019. We have seen an increase in civil weddings and a rapid decrease in couples joining us for a celebration after their religious ceremony. Just 2% of our couples in 2018/2019 chose a church wedding.
This doesn’t mean that weddings and marriages are less meaningful or spiritual now; it simply means that couples are choosing to express themselves and their love for one another in other ways. More and more venues have a premise licenses, there are 20 approved wedding venues in Plymouth alone. Also, not only is the choice plentiful more couples with differing cultures and religions are coming together, and so looking for something that will fit both their beliefs, dreams and desires.
For some couples, the religious ceremonies that are conducted at churches, in front of those closest and dearest and in the eyes of God will be the perfect setting for their futures to start. In the same way that those who chose a less religious day, equally as magical and sacred, choose a civil ceremony so that they have more freedom to personalise readings
What we have now more than perhaps ever before is more freedom and choice. Personalising these special days to reflect personalities and love for each other.
Here at the New Continental Hotel we have seen a huge increase in our mid-week wedding packages. Telling us that not only are couples choosing their way and their venue – but their day too. No longer thinking it must be a Saturday but working on a day that ticks all of your boxes as you tie the knot and start your lives together as a married couple.
Love, although different for everyone, needs its own ways and roots, and with the choices we now have, love can really bloom.
Congratulations if you have found your one and you are planning your forever together. If you’re thinking of a wedding day all under one elegant roof, then talk to our amazing Wedding Coordinators today and let them show you how our hotel can be yours for the day.
Being kind is not a new phenomenon. Kindness has become a definite movement and it’s heartening to see more and more people reaching out, being nice and taking the time to make a difference. No matter how big, OR how small.
Working in hospitality, we are surrounded by ‘good’ people every day. To work in this sector you have to have many natural aptitudes; and kindness is definitely one of them.
What that doesn’t mean is that you become complaisant to kindness. When you see people taking the time to go above and beyond, taking a genuine interest, it still fills you with a warm glow.
Kindness In Hospitality…
Hospitality in my eyes, has its very own gene pool of staff. Just as we need in life to produce a happy society – with human communities made up of an array of characters and human bands – hospitality needs that too!
We have the strong and silent; the fast and curious; the nurturing and empathetic; the clever and witty; the quiet and shy; the patient and determined; the funny and generous…with the common thread throughout being kind and passionate.
From The Top Down…
From our Directors and leaders through to team members, we have a perfect and eclectic mix of characters; all who are kind and all who are generous with their time in order to help each other, our guests and our community alike.
Something that placed a clear lens over this beautiful mix happened at the end of June; and it happened thanks to a perfect stranger.
Meeting The Perfect Stranger…
They were not guests staying at the hotel, but they came into the foyer clutching a beautiful black & white photograph. Greeted by our receptionist they told of their tale, an enchanting narrative that captured our receptionist and instinctively she wanted to help.
Within minutes, the Director, our Development Manager and receptionist were busy trying to fill in the blanks with their local knowledge and of course Google!
Meet Henny Korver | New Friend and Dutch Journalist…
The gentleman was a Dutch journalist called Henny Korver. He had visited Plymouth several times when younger in the 70’s. He came to document the Single-handed Trans-Atlantic Race (STAR) from Plymouth to the USA. Inaugurated in 1960 and celebrating 60 years in 2020.
During Henny’s stay all those years ago, he frequently visited a pub in Millbay Docks. With so many happy memories and friends that welcomed him – he had never forgotten their kind hospitality and friendship and wanted to go back. He wanted to revisit the city that captured his heart and take a stroll down memory lane.
But all Henny had was his memories and a photo; he couldn’t remember exactly where it was – or what it was even called.
The idea that he might be reunited with the places he held so dear seemed impossible. Plymouth is a city that’s regeneration and changes caused Henny disorientation. With only a few hours left in Plymouth to find what he was looking for, and nearing the end of his search, he felt like he may not find his little piece of Plymouth.
Then he found us!
Resembling the image captured on the photo he came in to ask, on the off chance, if this might have been the hotel that he had stayed in during the 70’s. Then perhaps he could trace his steps back and find his memories. Sadly we weren’t the hotel, but we were keen to help!
So, using Google and our own memories of Plymouth we set Henny off with a route and a potential place, ringed in red on our hotel map!
We all hoped that Henny would find his little piece of Plymouth – but never thought we would find out. That was until we received an email from Henny Korver & Eline Verburg from their home in Alkmaar, The Netherlands.
They Did It!
In the email they shared their thanks and told us how this part of their trip, visiting Plymouth, was a real highlight of their holiday. And that Henny indeed found what he was looking for.
Although there is no ‘hard’ evidence to suggest that we are all hard-wired for kindness, here at the New Continental Hotel it’s safe to say that helping people enjoy their time in our city IS what we are hard-wired to do! Helping people and offering kindness leaves us all thinking and feeling ‘I’m so glad we did that’.
Simple acts such as holding a door open for someone, can really change someone’s day, smiling or simple human interaction makes the day a little better. Here at the New Continental Hotel, we lead by example and have Directors that empower and enable kindness and generosity because they give it so full heartedly themselves.
It’s been called the Virtuous Circle, whereby one good deed begets another and little by little we make the world a better place to live. A ripple effect occurs and little by little people become happier.
For us, receiving the email and photos from Henny & Eline was exactly what we needed to remind us that kindness takes just moments – but the happiness it gives lasts a lifetime.
To the two that were strangers and who are now friends…
From all of us here in Britain’s Ocean City to you in The Netherlands, and with the Single-handed Trans-Atlantic Race uniting us – we hope to welcome you back soon to make new memories in Plymouth.
We hear chefs talk about the pleasure of the palate; about the passion in their prep; the joy that comes from the cry of ‘service’ and the indescribable pride when someone loves what they do.
But what happens when kitchen talk takes a new direction?
The ‘food boom’ should be a joyous occasion for chefs. People eating out and knowing their ‘mustard’ when it comes to great ingredients. Knowing their mind when it comes to food choices. No longer are we as customers ordering the same meals; we are exploring and trying new things and being led by chefs creating amazing menus.
So what could chefs possibly be unhappy about…?
Paul Doidge, our Executive Chef at the New Continental Group is one of the many industry leaders who share very real concerns about ‘ The greatchef shortage’; and is working hard to try and solve the fundamental challenge for all hospitality businesses.
So, when we talk about a shortage of chefs with him, he had plenty to say about the matter …
The current landscape…
In my 22 years of cheffing, I am not sure that we have seen such a golden age for dining out. People are not just eating out for a special occasion anymore; they are making the most of spending time together and enjoying great food whilst they make amazing memories.
Yet when I talk about this ‘golden age’ I am filled with sadness and fear; why, because never before have I felt such a woe when I talk about such a happy time for my sector. On the one hand I am obviously elated, on the other hand troubled.
Knowing that people are loving what we do, the passion and energy that we install in every dish is not going unnoticed and customers are becoming more discerning. With an abundance of choice; they are choosing our settings and that is a sensational feeling. On the other hand there is a deep sadness, due to the shortage of chefs and waiting staff in our sector.
The shape of things to come…
In March 2017, we were all captivated upon reading the KPMG report for the British Hospitality Association; it stated everything that we were feeling…worried was the general consensus! Although 10 years from now; the figures suggesting that by 2029 the industry could have a deficit of more than a million workers is in no way good to hear!
We are already feeling the high levels of vacancies. In fact it was said by KPMG that we actually have the highest levels compared to any other sector. And although like in many sectors there is scope to make improvements on productivity, this isn’t sustainable and chefs will burn out. Nor are we (chefs) willing to sacrifice the finished product by cutting corners – we all know that making life ‘easy’ is not what chefs do!
I really can understand why this happens, but what we don’t want to see for our sector is that all the experienced, senior chefs leave the kitchens for the high pay of an agency. Where they become heroes, due to their knowledge, and who can fit in any kitchen confidently and capably. They parachute in and save the day, filling holes and roles to keep chains going and then migrating once again with their knowledge and experience to their next position. These are highly skilled individuals, who don’t only have pure passion running through their veins, and a love for their craft, but also so much knowledge and ability.
What That Could Mean…
If this were to happen, and we were to lose them from our kitchens, younger chefs wouldn’t have the relationships they need to have with a senior, experienced chef. They would not have access to a constant vessel to learn from. We all started with a mentor, someone we looked up to and aspired to be one day; my fear is if we were to lose these ‘mentors’ we would lose the inspiration.
What you then might also have is the commis and CPD level chefs in their mid-career, who see the benefit of agency work and agency hours, being able to take their level of knowledge and make contacts and build their portfolio. This would then create a desperate shortage when recruiting these important, young and ambitious mid-level chefs within the smaller, independent restaurants and settings. Chefs that we rely on in small kitchens.
On one hand, good, experienced Chefs are in a very powerful position at the moment; when you have a skills shortage of any kind, when demand outstrips supply, you have a monopoly. Agency work, or relief cover, becomes an amazing (and tantalising) opportunity to broaden your portfolio whilst earning really good money. But is that sustainable for our sector? With no new, young talent being incubated and captured by the fury and fire of a passionate brigade.
So, where does that leave young people who are inspired by a craft that takes time and patience as well as mentors that need to be present?
Earning & learning…
You always have to look for the solutions. Here at the New Continental Group, we have decided to start sowing seeds for our sector now, 10 years isn’t that far away before the 2029 scary prophecy. We want to make a statement within our sector and ensure that we are working in the direction that we think the future of our craft needs.
City College Plymouth…
Within our Group we have some of the best Head Chefs; with diverse experience, all with their own set of mastery and of course oodles of passion. All lending themselves to being what I class as exceptional mentors. So now, teaming up with City College Plymouth we have an apprentice in every kitchen! There are a number of other amazing settings that offer apprenticeships, Plymouth is a city that is fortunate enough to have a plethora of platforms and springboards that connect people to both a profession they can be proud of; but also a future that is rewarding and bright.
Now, we have four bright sparks all working with sensational Head Chefs who are happy in their roles and rooted firmly in their kitchen! The apprentices are growing, learning and increasing their passion for a profession that they can be proud of for many years to come.
Not only learning all the important elements of being a great chef and learning about great products; but also what it means to be part of a strong team; managing sections and working in a passionate environment.
Our apprentices are phenomenal; with natural aptitudes and a desire to soak up the kitchens in which they work. With this formula and the help of City College Plymouth, attracting and retaining passionate and enthusiastic chefs is going to mean that we have a pool of talent that knows what kitchen life can be for the chefs of the future; and Plymouth will very much be at the heart of it.
There is nothing quite like the countdown to the Summer Holidays.
Everyone is feeling the wind-down in the air and we are all busy planning our family time; packing it full of activities that everyone will enjoy.
The long stretch of the summer holiday can (more so than any other school break) create some financial stresses though. We try to keep everyone entertained week after week after week! It can not only be daunting, keeping everyone happy, but also can be traumatic on the purse strings if we aren’t too careful!
Plymouth isn’t only a remarkable city to visit because of its riches and beauty. There are the many trails and walks too; most popular perhaps along the Barbican, to the Hoe, with children’s activities and play-parks scattered like enchanting pit-stops.
Then you have the stunning area around Richmond Walk, Devils Point, Royal William Yard, Mount Batten and too many others to name! All full of beautiful areas for picnics and ball-games, friendly cafes and ice-cream vans, passing ships and statues to admire and above all else; a city famous for its warm welcome to all guests and visitors alike.
Not only is Plymouth alive with greatness on every turn, but there is also a HEAP of amazing activities, events and days out you can all enjoy and plan into the holiday diary which either won’t cost you a penny – or that are fabulously priced!
It’s true to say that there isn’t a week when you can’t do something fun for nothing; but there are also a great many amazing offers and deals that you can take advantage of too.
So Much To See & Do…
The National Marine Aquarium is the largest Aquarium in the UK, and is located here in Plymouth, Britain’s Ocean City. The NMA is run by the Ocean Conservation Trust and all money goes towards their Ocean Conservation initiatives. There are always great events and activities and you really can spend days learning, exploring and growing. Entry to the Aquarium gains visitors a free annual pass, you can then come and go as you please, and use their new garden and attend Ocean Giants without paying again!
There are amazing Boat Trips that capture the pirate in little ones whilst gently learning about Plymouth’s history. There is nothing like the view of Britain’s Ocean City that from the waves.
Culture also plays a massive part in Plymouth’s DNA. With THE premier arts organisation in the South West; the Theatre Royal Plymouth; lots of outdoor theatre; open-air cinema at Tinside Lido and so much more! There really won’t be a moment of boredom from anyone!
So, what could be better?!?
We’ve scoured the width and breadth of Plymouth and the local areas to compile a list of ideas that are free or what we think are great value and that can all be part of your holiday planning starting point! BUT don’t think that’s all that Plymouth has to offer! Here are some great places to unearth action packed days for you and your family this Summer.
In the meantime; here are some that we rather liked the look of! Don’t forget, we also have some amazing offers to stay and play in Plymouth too!
Month By Month…
The Squiggly Wiggly Giant Squid – FREE
Between May and September 2019 you have a challenge at the Royal William Yard…That is should you choose to accept it!
A playful Giant Squid has made its home at the Yard and has brought six friends along too! By collecting a free trail passport from any cafe and restaurant in the Yard, you have to find all its friends and collect six letters to spell a nautical word and then claim your reward!
A truly gorgeous setting for this fun activity that the entire family can enjoy; you can easily spend a few hours exploring and enjoying the beautiful area and art instillation; designed by illustrator Jack Viant; graduate from Plymouth College of Art. With bars and restaurants you might choose to eat out, or take a short walk to beautiful picnic spots, or a ferry back to the Barbican. So much to do, see and explore!
Shopping Is In Bloom This Summer at Drakes Circus! - FREE
The stunning flower installation is back, transforming the Centre into a spectacular meadow and spilling out onto the streets with a wildflower canopy suspended above Old Town Street.
Not only are the streets lined with petals; but there is a fun-filled summer planned too! There is a range of activities alongside that are not only unique, but great for learning whilst having fun too!
On the 22nd & 25th July you can have a go, with the help of Plymouth College Of Art at designing and printing your own tote bag or tea towel using screen printing techniques. Or perhaps you would rather do something a little more active with some Ping Pong In Plymouth; with free table tennis courtesy of the Plymouth City Council’s Sports Development Unit.
There is SO much to do – the colour isn’t only in the flowers; it’s in the memories you will make.
Elmers BIG Parade PLYMOUTH - FREE
As PROUD supporters of this amazing project we are thrilled to share this amazing free activity.
For 10 weeks this summer a parade of 40 fabulously colourful, unique elephants will be taking you on a trail around the beautiful city of Plymouth and surrounding areas. From the hustle and bustle of the city streets to the peace and grandeur of the Hoe, Elmer’s Big Parade will navigate you around Britain’s Ocean City.
You can download the APP or pick up MAPs and have an entire day of FREE fun, exploring Plymouth and finding the beautiful elephants scattered around Plymouth.
Stoke Village Summer Fun day - FREE
When we talk about ‘old-school-community’ this is exactly what we think. Bunting, stalls and happy smiles; this is a fun day like we did in the old days! A full day of entertainment is planned, bringing the village alive and offering a warm welcome to non-village folk too!
You can look forward to stalls, inflatables, live music, fabulous food and entertainment, as well as a dog show! What could be better!?
Who Will Be The Next Town Crier? FREE.
Now then! Here’s one that might not have sprung to mind without a little hint! Help Plymouth choose the best Town Crier for our Mayflower 400 celebrations! It’s on the Thursday 25 July and kicks off at 6pm with some Morris Dancers!
You don’t have to be part of the competition, nor do you have to know someone that is; this is an evening like no other! Starting at 7pm, each entrant will perform 3 elements and a panel of judges, plus the public themselves, YOU, will choose the winners. There will be entertainment and a bar and it should be a loud lot of fun!
EcoFest - FREE
On the 20th July at Tavistock Meadows, just a short drive from Plymouth, there is a free festival including eco-friendly stalls, talks, poetry, arts and crafts, live music, forest school, a film showing, drumming, face painting, yoga, children’s activities and much more.
Summer Of Fun - FREE
Enjoy a Summer of Fun in Plymouth, with free entertainment for families to enjoy taking place every Saturday in July & August 2019. Expect to find a variety of entertainers, workshops and performers appearing on the city streets.
Ocean City Blues N Jazz Festival - FREE
The Ocean City Blues N Jazz Festival returns for a third year to the Parade on the Barbican, between the 9th and the 11th August. It’s a firm family favourite and you can not only enjoy great music; but sensational food, views and an atmosphere like no other!
If you haven’t been before you should definitely go; if you’re staying during the festival talk to reception and they will help you navigate the 8 minute walk!
This is your chance to see a live brass band concerts this summer on Plymouth’s historic harbourside. Listen and watch the sensational sounds of the Soundhouse Brass, Plymouth’s award-winning brass band. They will be playing live concerts on the city’s historic waterfront in Sutton Harbour ALL summer and it’s a truly captivating experience.
Every Thursday evening in August, Soundhouse Brass will be performing on the harbourside in the heart of Plymouth, Britain’s Ocean City, for visitors and locals alike to enjoy.
Enjoy spectacular pyrotechnics that will illuminate Plymouth Sound as six top firework companies battle it out over two nights, each putting on an awe-inspiring ten minute display in an attempt to be crowned the winner.
Head to Plymouth Hoe for the best view and enjoy the show.
Plymouth Pride - FREE
On Saturday 10th August, the colourful loud and proud Pride Festival returns to Plymouth, celebrating and promoting the diversity that exists within the LGBTQ communities.
All are welcome to join them to show support and acceptance of our diverse people and talent but also have so much FUN!
The Parade departs from the Jigsaw Garden (Nr. Drake Circus) at 11am with pre parade activities starting at 10 am. The Parade will make its way through the City Centre to the iconic Plymouth Hoe for the main festival with live music, fun fair, children’s rides, selection of food, licensed bar and lots of fun activities for people of all ages.
ROLEX Fastnet - FREE
Now this is truly a sensational event in the Plymouth diary and one NOT to miss! Join in the fun at the Fastnet Race Village, at Plymouth Yacht Haven on Tuesday 6 to Thursday 8 August to celebrate the finish of this historic race.
There will be live music, family friendly activities, tasty local food and opportunities for you to try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding.
Plymouth Hoe Bike Nights - SMALL DONATION
The 2019 Plymouth Hoe Bike Nights are held on Thursday evenings from 6pm until 9pm during BST on Plymouth Hoe Promenade on the following dates: 04/04, 18/04, 02/05, 16/05, 30/05, 13/06, 04/07, 08/08 & 22/08. Where you can expect to see hundreds of different type’s motorcycles, motorcycle trade stands, fast food catering and on selected dates a live band.
You’ll have a ‘roaring’ time!
West End Carnival & 60th Anniversary of Plymouth's Market - FREE
This summer Carnival has well and truly landed in Plymouth; specifically the enchanting West End Of Plymouth as the sights, sounds and smells of Carnival comes alive!
Plymouth City Centre Company and Plymouth Market will host a day full of FREE family fun on Saturday 31 August around the West End of the city centre.
An Evening With Ann Cleeves - FREE
Perhaps not for the little ones, but this is set to be an award-winning kind of evening!
Join prize-winning crime writer Ann Cleeves, the author behind ITV’s Vera and BBC One’s Shetland.
Ann will be discussing her latest book – The Long Call – the captivating first novel in a brand new series set in North Devon.
Doors open at 6.30pm for a 7pm start. Although free you do need to register.
Park Fest - FREE
Park Fest 2019 is part of a series of events through the South West celebrating all things park life!
As well as the usual park activities from football, tennis, table tennis and rugby we are taking over Devonport Park on September 8th 2019 with a full day of Live Music, inflatables, market stalls, story telling and a whole host of entertainment!
Plymouth Seafood Festival is back for its 8th year in 2019 and is set to bring The Barbican and Sutton Harbour alive with entertainment, activities and dishes to celebrate the city’s fantastic caught seafood.
Plymouth is the first city in the world to be awarded the Fish2Fork Blue City status for its commitment to sourcing sustainable fish. Between Saturday 14 to Sunday 15 September 2019 there will be opportunities to watch inspirational, regional and celebrity chefs who will delight you with their tantalising dishes at the Cookery Theatre. Wonder the array of local food and craft stands and be entertained.
Doggy Day Out - SMALL TICKET FEE
The perfect day in the most beautiful setting at Mount Edgcumbe, Cremyll. Have-a-go activities, dog displays, live music and so much more. No need to take a four legged friend, it’s just great fun for all the family.
Wild Tribe - SMALL TICKET FEE
Let your imagination go WILD!!!
Wild Tribe Children’s Festival will pitch up again around the Soapbox Children’s Theatre in September 2019. This fun packed festival brings art, science and the environment together in the form of entertainment, workshops and activities. The theme for this year is tiny to huge exploring the tiniest things in life from insects and plankton to the bigger picture including dinosaurs and space.
We hope you found this useful and look forward to welcoming you and your little ones to Plymouth soon! Happy Holidays!
A Splash Of Colour & Some Hip Hop Dancing; What Could Be Better..?
Plymouth will have even more colour flooding our amazing city by the sea tomorrow thanks to the Plymouth City Centre Company’s plans to brighten up the West End. They have commissioned four artists to paint a carnival style mural tomorrow, Saturday 13th July 2019 on a big advertising hoarding at the corner of Market Avenue and New George Street opposite the market and KFC.
In preparation for the infamous West End Carnival that is taking place on Saturday August. This will not only be a celebration of colour and culture but also an equally proud moment for the Plymouth Market which celebrates its 60th anniversary!
The event tomorrow will be well worth a visit. Starting at 10am and going through until 4pm. There will be live music and Hop Hop by Plymouth’s talented crew at Street Factory.
Plymouth does events so well that you will be in for a treat; plus – there are so many amazing independent traders and businesses in the area ready to welcome you … in full carnival spirit.
The New Continental Hotel offers three amazing private dining and event rooms; for business meetings and family events; whether a wedding or a birthday party, a conference or training and everything in between.
The versatile Ballroom – rich in history. The wonderfully light and airy Athena Room and then the more intimate Green Room. All serviced by their own kitchens and each with their own options and ambience.
The Ballroom can accommodate meetings, breakfasts, lunches and dinners, as well as theatre-style seating and cocktail receptions, basically any of your event needs! The Athena Room is popular for luncheons and more intimate weddings, as well as family functions and smaller conferences and dinner & dances. The Green Room is perfect for board meetings, training sessions, smaller ceremonies and events.
Whichever room you book, a dedicated events coordinator will be available to assist with every aspect of your event. Our chefs are also on hand with amazing menu ideas that they can create with you or for you. They always use on the very best locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. They can work with budgets and nothing is too much trouble for our talented chefs.
For our dinner and dances of a certain number there is no room hire charge and we offer complimentary place card printing and of course free enterprise grade Wi-Fi.
Whether you are looking for a city centre space to do great business or a family owned hotel that know the importance of every family celebration; no matter what your event or occasion we have a room for you!