New Continental Hotel, Millbay Road, Plymouth, PL1 3LD

Tel: 01752 276798

New Year; Striking New Suggestions…

The dawn of a New Year comes striking new suggestions for the hospitality sector from New Continental Hotel staff and customers…

Trends have to start somewhere. Change is made by people with passion. The future is bright when you have the right vision.  

We talk to our teams and our customers about what they want to see from our hotel and in the hospitality sector as a whole in the coming year; for 2020 and beyond.

There are two very different sides to hospitality; the side the customers enjoy and experience; and then the side the dedicated staff see!

We fuse the two together and look what beautiful patchwork we would both like to see for the future in hospitality in our New Year BIG SIX!

High AT ONE!

Plastic FREE

Plastic Free!

Both our staff and customers agree, seeing the straw being pulled from the nostril of the sea turtle on the BBC’s Blue Planet II made us all stop and think about the damage we are causing, without realising in most cases, to the planet.

Now, more united as a race than ever it feels, we all want to take stock and take action to try and undo and get smarter about the way in which we go about our day to day life. But not just that, 78% of the customers we asked said that they still want to be environmentally thoughtful when on holiday.

Single-use plastic was the main concern for travellers and our staff. Although massive steps were made in 2018; not just by us but many restaurants, hotels and bars, there is so much we can all still do.

The eradication of plastic straws was an amazing start. Led by Our Food & Beverage Manager Simon and his team, we were one of the first to make that stand. As a business we continue to assess what we are doing, what we could do and always ask if it’s really essential for business.

We have made bold pledges to phase out as much single-use plastic items as possible, both front and back of house.  Eradicating plastic completely we know might be a pipe-dream, but we are committed to continually asking the right questions.

Like many businesses and organisations across Plymouth, we at the New Continental Hotel were all super proud to be a Plastic Free Pioneer and a small part in Plymouth becoming the first UK city to be accredited by the global charity Surfers Against Sewage with Plastic Free Communities status for its waterfront district.

Here you can find our Environmental Policy

At TWO!

boy with goggles swimming in pool

Bobbing About On Your Holibob!

56% of customers asked said that one of the reasons they chose the New Continental Hotel was because it had a gym, pool, sauna and steam room. Now, we have never claimed to be a ‘spa’ hotel, with fancy pebbles and wicker furniture – and nor should we as that isn’t what we are.

What we are and what we have is a hotel with a leisure club that cares; inspires and installs confidence in everyone’s individual’s ability.

Our team of talented staff, led by Adam our Club Continental Manager don’t only have knowledge and experience, they have the passion. There doesn’t have to be fancy in life, there has to be generosity. Our Club Continental team are not only able, but also always willing to give unconditionally and always go above and beyond.

The time they give to both members and guests is truly incredible, and we know that this will continue to grow throughout 2019.

Wellness as an overarching concept is nothing new in travel and hospitality, but from our conversations with customers, we believe that 2019 will see a big rise in the number of people travelling and choosing very specifically to stay, or to get fit.

Find out more about CLUB CONTINENTAL 

In AT THREE!

Make Hotel Restaurants Great Again!

When you are on holiday in a new city you want to explore; especially if you are only in Plymouth for one or two nights.

As our Executive Chef, Paul Doidge says that he believes part of the exploration of Plymouth is the exploration of our cities amazing restaurants threaded throughout it’s DNA.  He admires the plethora of amazing and diverse restaurants in Britain’s Ocean City, and always encourages guests to try as many as possible.

We all understand too well that for our hotel guests there is a time and a place for hotel restaurants. Yet, knowing how talented our teams are; 2019 will be a year that we give Steve’s Brasserie the platform it deserves, as we would if it was a standalone restaurant.

Our Head Chef, Rob Dunne is working hard this year to really amplify the narrative about the greatness of his and his brigade’s food; and although a restaurant within a hotel he knows it too is worth trying!

Fighting At Four!

holiday packing

In The Air With Airbnb!

At the end of 2018, Airbnb was riding high for travellers as one of their main tools to book their holiday accommodation, and that doesn’t look like it will change in 2019.

Some hoteliers view Airbnb as a big threat; and yes, for some time many have either viewed it with downright hostility, or just ignored it with an ostrich mentality!

Here at the New Continental Hotel things are a little different, as we are not only hoteliers, we also have our sister company; Strathmore House Apartments too. We use Airbnb as a really successful tool for booking our 1,2,3 and 4 bedroom apartments on Elliot Street. Knowing how the platform works, having used it for some time successfully with our apartments, we decided to give it a go in 2018 for our hotel.

Prompted partly by an open letter wrote by Airbnb in March 2018. Here they tried luring hoteliers to step away from the major OTAs, enticing them with their lower fees and global community.

For six months we used Airbnb for our hotel; looking at it not as a rival, but as just another distribution platform. It just didn’t work for us as a hotel.

What it has done, is it has made us view things a little differently though.

There will always be a market for a wide selection of accommodation providers, and there will always be competition. What we believe, is that being part of success is success. We appreciate the guests that choose us, but we also appreciate there has to be choice.

Showing Willing At FIVE!

black and white phot of people toasting at a wedding

Getting Wed!

For over 30 years we have loved being part of couple’s special days. That will never change, but what we have noticed in 2018 and 2019 is that couples are stepping away from the traditionally popular ‘Summer Wedding’.

Now we see more and more couples opting for Spring and Winter Weddings instead.

What’s more there has also been a really large addition to the wedding calendar; mid-week weddings! . These have been great fun for us, as we get to see even more amazing couples, brides, grooms and wedding guests in the finest of fashion, filling the hotel with an atmosphere only a wedding day can bring.

TAXING At SIX!

IPhone and IPAD with pen on bed with wit

TAX Is Going Digital!

When hospitality talks tech, it’s usually in relation to technology  for the guests; features like keyless entry, room control systems and check-in and out technology. But back of house function are also really important and will no doubt speed in developments throughout 2019.

Keeping up with new and dynamic pricing software and AI booking engines can be a minefield at times, but let’s not forget about our poor accounts departments too – and we don’t just mean due to the techy invoices!

There is going to be a surge of energy in all accounts departments across all sectors gearing up for the ‘ TAX GOES DIGITAL’ manoeuvre in April.

Designed to be more efficient and to transform the tax system by 2020, this was the UK government’s original goal.

The plan is to introduce digital record keeping while also bringing in quarterly updating for landlords, the self-employed and businesses, covering self-assessment, corporation tax and VAT.

Wowsers right!?!

We have a headache just thinking about it! Whilst Development Managers and Marketers battled GDPR in 2018; 2019 TAX GOES DIGITAL looks like it may be a very similar fight for many Account Managers!

The year will no doubt be a full and fun one; with advances, changes and BREXIT! (You thought we had forgotten didn’t you!)

Whatever happens, there is one thing for sure; you can be certain that we will be here, doing our best to give our guests the best for yet another year.

HAPPY NEW YEAR. 

Just how important an ingredient is catering at your conference..?

Planning an event in 2019 ? This will make you hungry!

Venues who care about their guests experiences; care about the food they offer for their delegates.

To find out more, we ask our Head Chef, Rob Dunne what factors he considers when looking at his conference menu planning. We find out just how he has managed to maintain his 100% success rate…

man sat at table in chef whites

Knowing your produce and passion; they are the key elements to any form of menu planning…” explains Rob.

“… food is like fashion, it will always be dependent on trends and new craze’s, so we take a look at not only local, but global trends. Just as importantly though, we continually converse with our hotel event co-ordinators, as they have the direct relationship with the organisers and know from them what they are looking for.”

2017/2018 trends…

“Interestingly, in 2017 and 2018 we saw that catering was by far the key consideration when planning a conference. Not only because it’s mainly the largest expense for the organiser, but because the food signals the break-outs, it’s where the delegates get to discuss the event but also network – plus it is always the one thing that everyone can agree on!”

“Food helps create the right atmosphere and the way we love to do that is by taking inspiration from local, seasonal ingredients, as well as talking to the planners and really listening so we can accommodate their vision.”

So, whatever you are looking for, we have the answer!

We have it all! From old school comfort food in the form of Creamy Seafood pasta with parsley and Parmesan, served and enjoyed in our restaurant; a hot fork buffet with succulent Devon beef stew and herb dumplings; a sensational buffet with home-made quiche and an assortment of fresh fruits and delicious treats; all the way through to a post conference canapé party; with smoked salmon and dill blinis, mini Caesar tarts or perhaps some pink local Lamb, beetroot rosti and redcurrant jelly.

The New Continental Hotel’s chefs know that the art of a great menu is all about the ingredients; the talent; the choice but just as importantly…the listening!

We always listen to feedback and ensure our menus have everything that discerning delegates want to find. Be it the food being sourced locally, plenty of vegan and vegetarian options or just plenty of everything! We know how to create great menus, with everything you want, on your budget  – we have it all and we will keep listening!

Has this left you hungry for an event..?!

Call now to find out more; we’d love to feed you!

 

The Best Of Friends This Christmas…

A Friendship Built To Last..!

Over the Christmas period, these guys have got pretty close! Elmer and our Polar Bear (known as ‘Little White’ amongst staff) have really bonded! They have seen people come and go, had selfies taken with visiting friends and even been kissed under the mistletoe (no..really!)

If you haven’t stopped by to say Hi, you still have time!

Elmer will be leaving us soon, but Little White will be with us until March 3rd.

The Polar Bear Explorer trail is a great way for the whole family to enjoy Plymouth’s stunning waterfront, and if bottoms without an elasticated waist band are proving a bit of a struggle, the trail is a great way to walk off the indulgence of Christmas that many of us entered in to!

From now until March 3rd, 20 Polar Bear cubs have been let loose across Plymouth’s Waterfront. The cubs are hiding in Sutton Harbour, The Barbican, Hoe, Millbay and Royal William Yard. Each cub will have a Bear Fact with them, telling us about the Arctic and the oceans, how plastic is affecting their home and how we can all help.

Once you’ve found all 20, complete the Explorer form (we have plenty of forms if you would like to start your trail here) with your details and make your pledge to help Polar Bears by reducing single-use plastics at home, at school and in the workplace.  You will receive a special certificate. There’s also a chance to win big prizes!

For more information on the trail and to download your entry form click here!  And here to find out about Elmer’s Big Parade 2019  and all the planned fun!

Good Luck – Elmer and Little White hope to see you soon!

 

P-P-Pick Up A Penguin!

Plymouth City Centre Company’s brand new Christmas Trail…

We are so excited! They have arrived!! Our very own Plymouth LEGO brick penguins have landed in city centre today!

There are 19 life size Rockhoppers and one very impressive Emperor penguin. All  hidden in shops and businesses across the city centre from today, the 3 December 2018 to 3 January 2019.  Each of them will have a penguin name that you can collect in order to be in with the chance of winning some amazing prizes!

The Prizes & How To…

It’s really fun and so, so simple. Just follow the trail map to find the names of all 20 LEGO brick penguins. The prizes are amazing and include  a weekend family trip to LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort, courtesy of Plymouth Citycoach, or a Penguin Feeding Experience at Living Coasts for four people!

The closing date for completed entries is Monday 14 January 2019 – so you have bags of time! 

PLUS! There are special offers and discounts from  participating Plymouth businesses. So take a look out for the shop window stickers with details on the offers available.

For all downloads and much more information visit: visitplymouth.co.uk

Five Minutes With | What An Event..!

New Continental Hotel, PlymouthFor us, our teams are an integral part of how and why we do what we do.

We know that there is no way we would be able to achieve and deliver without a truly passionate bunch of people supporting, empowering and enabling our objectives.

Our staff are our backbone and we take five minutes to talk all things ‘events’ with one of our Events Co-ordinator.

Five Minutes With Katie | lady sat on a rock in the sun surrounded by green grass

How long have you worked in the Tourism & Hospitality Sector?
It has been over 4 ½ years now. It has gone by so quickly and I have learnt so much.

How does it feel being part of the New Continental Hotel Family?

Just that! – Part of a family! Because it’s a family run business, you are made to feel like part of a large, supportive family. This gives you an even greater sense of pride in everything that the hotel achieves. It’s the main reason I love working here. I know for a fact it’s the main reason that so many members of staff have been here for so long. I feel I’m amongst family and friends.

There are lots of changes planned for Plymouth in the gear up to 2020, how might this affect you and your department?
Hopefully in a very positive way! It’s an exciting time for the city bringing in a lot of new and exciting opportunities. I feel the hotel is a major part of Plymouth’s rich history and hope this alongside our excellent facilities and central location will entice potential new clients for us as well as older ones who want to hold their events in an iconic Plymouth destination.

What does your day look like..?

Tell us about a day in your life?
No day is the same as no event or function we hold is ever the same so the preparation and planning varies on a daily basis. On a typical day I will be preparing for an upcoming event- creating place cards, table plans, creating function sheets so that each department knows what needs to be done for this event. Communicating with the function organiser to make sure all their needs are being met. I also show around lots of potential wedding couples and event organisers- showing them our function rooms and what we can offer to their event- going through menus and printing etc. Always researching or working on the next blog too!

What’s the most rewarding/enjoyable part of your job?
Seeing an event successfully come together; whether it is a wedding, corporate event or any other type of function.

Knowing we’ve all worked together to make sure every aspect of the event either matches or exceeds the client’s expectations. I also love seeing a wedding couple that I have been working with and getting to know get married and say ‘I Do’. It’s a huge honour to be part of someone’s big day and helping to create wonderful memories for them.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I’m not very good at looking too far into the future. I’m a very ‘of the moment’ type of person but I hope to be happy, healthy, providing all I can for my family whilst doing all the things I feel most passionate about. Plus working hard to achieve my goals whilst supporting others.

What’s your advice for those wanting to enter hospitality..?

What advice would you give anyone looking to get into our sector?
A positive and friendly ‘can do’ attitude will help you go far in this industry. A willingness to do all you can for people plus be willing to go the extra mile for customers. Good customer Service is essential. Bing able to think on the spot to resolve issues quickly whilst providing excellent service to all clients and guests is key.

Festive Fun Doesn’t Mean You Have To Pile On The Pounds…

Adam Domyslawski, Club Continental Manager, talks Christmas ‘Trimmings’!! 

I know you want me to say that this is Christmas; the green light is on to overindulge and eat whatever you want whenever you want…but no, sorry!

But don’t worry, you can still enjoy the festivities of Christmas and get through the days and nights without too much impact on your health or waistline!

Alcohol units can really mount up over Christmas. I’m not saying don’t drink at all, but there are some really simple tips, like replacing tonic waters with soda, and going for light beers that will really help.

Sadly, it will pretty much always come down to self –control! If this is a problem and you find it hard to stop once you’ve popped the drinking cherry (!) then you want to aim for low-calorie options; perhaps less-flavoursome drinks, but they will be by far the safer option!  If you have good self control, I would always say indulge in what you love, but just one or two!

Remember:

It’s not just the calories it’s the antitoxins and carbs too; make sure you have some days off alcohol to detox your body. It will really help that foggy, stodgy feeling! Inferably, a hang-over also leads to bad food choices the morning after too – so pace yourself and be mindful!

Christmas Dinner can contain anything up to, and over, 3000 calories – more than the entire recommended daily intake for a grown man!! This gigantic festive feast not only stacks up your daily Christmas calories, but can also contribute to other things too.

If you over indulge on Christmas Dinner you are far less likely to feel ready, willing or able to burn any of it off – even a game of charades may be asking too much! Not to mention the lethargy for the rest of the day, the indigestion and heartburn!

It’s worth remembering it takes your brain a while to register that your tummies are full!  Start with a small portion, meats and vegetables then give yourself some time and see if you are still hungry!

Remember:

You can still have the trimmings – it’s Christmas! But the sauces, stuffing and pigs in blankets are there for taste – not for filling!

TV Snacks are hard to avoid! Chocolates, nuts, dried fruits and anything else that dons the Christmas shelves at the supermarkets who then tell you your Christmas will only be good if you buy this box of cheesy puffs!

Again, it’s about self-control, and if you don’t have any, make sure you have loads of fresh fruit in the house and try playing games and keeping busy!

Remember:

Being busy having fun will stop your hand feeding your mouth!

The most important thing of all is to have a Merry Christmas, with great choices and happy memories.

 

Staff Share Their BEST Things About Christmas…

Christmas Time In Hospitality…

Spending time with your family and friends surely hits everyone’s top spot! It’s true, you may get tired of hearing the same embarrassing stories about the time you did ‘that’ thing when you were five; or the stubbly kiss from your Great Aunt Winnie; the forced feeding of sprouts and then that deep, dark cringe when you hear ‘you’re next’ – for the annual game of charades!

…But, this all being said, there is something magical about Christmas and the way it makes us all warm up inside with fuzzy excitement at the very thought. Whether you have family traditions, cosy days in or you take it in turns to host; Christmas holds something very dear to everyone, including all of us here at the New Continental Hotel.

Working in hospitality means Christmas is busy, but staff at the New Continental Hotel LOVE Christmas. The twinkly lights, the smiley faces, the late night shopping and everything in-between and we love nothing more than sharing our Christmas with friends; both old and new.

Top Five…

We wanted to share our top FIVE favourite Christmas things, things that have already got us excited about the coming weeks!

At FIVE: Dec the Halls! We have so many beautiful Christmas Trees and decorations scattered lovingly throughout the hotel from November, with carols playing softly in the background and lights down low; the dark nights and warm hotel glow spell ‘Christmas’ to us all!

At FOUR: The Smell of Christmas! The best and truest of all treat for the senses; the smells from the kitchens! So hard to describe but oh so good! The mix of mulled wine simmering, stock bubbling, meat roasting and just love lingering; when it hits your nose, your brain instantly realises that it’s almost time! It’s almost Christmas!

At THREE: Friends gathering! The foyer is full, the bar is packed and friends and family unite. The love felt during this festive time sends pulses throughout the hotel and we LOVE it!

At TWO: Christmas Party Nights! When you see the glamorous entrance of those who have worked hard all year round and are now celebrating the successful end of their year together with fine food, great company, dancing shoes and the odd pop of a champagne cork! They are the nights we remember!

At ONE: Christmas Day! When people choose to crack their crackers with us! Christmas Day at the hotel is by far the most magical day of the year. Even Father Christmas chooses to spend an hour with us!

 

Christmas Party

Be A Polar Bear Explorer…

Plymouth is a city full of many wonders; and now we can add 20 beautiful Polar Bear Cubs to the list!

From November 25th through until March 3rd, 20 Polar Bear cubs will be let loose across Plymouth’s Waterfront. The cubs will be hiding in Sutton Harbour, The Barbican, Hoe, Millbay and Royal William Yard and they NEED our help!

As Britain’s Ocean City, the Polar Bear Cubs have chosen us to bring an important message to Plymouth this winter. Each cub will have a Bear Fact with them, telling us about the Arctic and the oceans, how plastic is affecting their home and how we can all help.

Polar Bear in water

So, What Is It All About..?

Your task, should you choose to accept it,  is to become a Polar Bear Explorer and find each of the Polar Bear cubs with their Bear Facts!

You can download the Polar Bear Explorer brochure here and using the Explorer form on page 11, you can write down the key word from each of the cubs’ Bear Facts.

WWF, Greenpeace and the National Marine Aquarium have each helped to inform the Bear Facts, so they are both interesting and factual. For a little extra help, you can also download the map here.

Once you’ve found all 20, complete the Explorer form. Just add your details and make your pledge! Your pledge is  to help Polar Bears by reducing single-use plastics at home, at school and in the workplace.

Deliver your Explorer form to one of the Arctic Post Boxes at either the National Marine Aquarium, the Barbican Tourist Information Centre or Bistrot Pierre.

You can also mail it to: Polar Bear Explorer, Plymouth Waterfront Partnership, Ballard House, West Hoe, Plymouth PL1 3BJ or enter online here.

polar bear cub statue

What Might You Win..?

Your completed form will then be entered into a draw to win one of the great prizes on offer to include:

10 x Family tickets for the National Marine Aquarium
5 x Blue Planet The Collection box sets
3 x Polar Bear Adoption Packs with WWF
A family ticket to Dartmoor Zoo
Lunch for 4 people at The Lookout (at the Mount Batten Watersports and Activities Centre)
4 x Create Your Own Sundaes at Valenti’s Gelato Venue
A £40 Voucher to spend at Steve’s Brasserie
A viewing of the Mount Batten Tower for up to 12 people
A 3 course Sunday lunch for 2 people at The Fig Tree @ 36
A dinner for 2 voucher (up to £45) at The Duke of Cornwall Hotel
2 x B-Bar Comedy Night tickets
A 6 Months Club Continental Gym Membership

Illuminate 2018 – Plymouth Shining Brightly

Proud To Be The Official Hotel Partner…

What we love most about our beautiful city is the people so passionate about making it shine…and shine it really will this weekend! And what’s more – you still have two nights to enjoy it!

Royal William Yard | FREE ENTRY | 17:30 – 22:00

Illuminate is a spectacular light-based festival that connects all of the Mayflower 400 destinations across the UK and internationally.

In 2017 Plymouth’s Illuminate celebrations saw parts of Royal William Yard turned into a spectacular display of light-based art installations and projections. This year, we truly believe, it’s even brighter!

In 2018 Illuminate has definitely grown; it’s showcasing projections and light art installations from local, national and international artists. It provides a vibrant, fun and inspiring experience for everyone. It has become a signature event in Mayflower 400’s programme; and an annual large-scale light festival that will be a highlight in Plymouth’s event calendar.

This weekend the Royal William Yard is lit up with light installations, immersive visual art and light projections. Illuminate, an event marking the anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower, has grown for 2017, and taken on a new location in Plymouth’s historic former victualling yard.

If you have yet to experience it, then it’s a real must see event in Plymouth. Crowds  have the chance to walk around and see some fantastic light installations and projections around the yard as well as being entertained by music, food stalls, glowing candyfloss and the amazing settings offering food and fun around the yard.

For more information visit the Illuminate Festival website and you can download the Illuminate Map here!

Have a bright weekend – and be lit up by Plymouth!

Train Like A Strongman…

 

Adam is our Club Continental Manager; but in addition to this he is also a competing athlete in his own right.

This year Adam has taken part in three competitions around the UK; and his fourth one will be this Sunday 18th November in Caerphilly, Wales.

We talk to him about what it takes to compete and more..!

This is going to be a very basic question to start the ball rolling! What is a Strongman Competition?

“Strongman competitions normally range from 5 and 6 events over the course of the day. They are designed to test static strength, explosiveness and muscular endurance. This means that training has to be adapted to accommodate all these qualities. Strongman competitions differ from other strength sports. It’s not like weightlifting or power-lifting, these only have two and three disciplines respectively. In power-lifting and weight-lifting the athletes have to be very strong in specific movements where as strongman demands a much more general level of strength and fitness”

Why do you compete?

“It’s a question I get asked all the time! There are so many reasons. Most of the exercises in strongman force you to use most of your muscle groups at once. It gives me a focus for my training and goals to strive for. I really enjoy the periodic tests that I put myself under to see how I’m progressing and improving and I thrive on the challenge. The journey that I go on in the training is amazing, it can be several weeks or months in advance, and I can feel my body and mind getting ready.”

So it’s not just because you like to flip tyres, pull trucks and throw balls?

“Perhaps a little (he laughs!) The ‘balls’ you mention are Atlas Stones!”

Most of us grew up watching the World’s Strongest Man on TV, with giants from all around the world moving insanely heavy and awkward objects! How many people will be competing on Sunday and is there a lot of rivalry between you all?

“This one is a Strongest Man Novice competition and there will be 20 people competing.  Like any sport, you all go in wanting to do your best. It’s what we train for and it’s a passion. The thing that makes strongman so accessible is that anyone can train for it, which is always exciting to be part of.”

What will the lead up to Sunday look like?

“My family and friends are hugely supportive. They understand that I love a challenge and the chance to push myself to my limits. It can be quite stressful; even though I love it!  Although I know that me pushing myself to my limits – can at times push those closest to me to theirs too!

Being in pursuit of excellence and perfection means early mornings and lots of training and ‘fuel’ planning. On Saturday I will eat well all day, really carb up and have a big meal in the evening followed by about 6-8 hours sleep and then a light breakfast in the morning.”

Good luck Adam! Thank you for sharing and happy training!

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