I made a great blog trip together with other awesome travel bloggers to St Albans a while ago. You may have seen it on Twitter with the hash tag #blogstalbans. We all had a lovely time and Gail from The Black Lion Inn was a big part of that, because she was our host at our hotel. She did an amazing job making us feel welcome. So I decided to get to know her a bit better by asking a few questions and learn what it`s like to run a hotel.
When did you take over the hotel?
I bought the hotel in April 2006.
What`s it like to run a hotel? What are the main things you have to take care off?
The main focus of running a hotel is all about creating a positive experience for every guest. This can be as simple as giving a guest a recommendation of where to visit in St Albans to something a little more serious such as ensuring that a couple’s Wedding Day runs smoothly and that their day is memorable. It’s a tough industry from which you gain your rewards from meeting fascinating people.
How was it to have a group of international bloggers staying at your hotel?
It was great fun to host you all. I normally make a point of interacting with guests but obviously with you chaps I spent quite a lot more time with you which was enjoyable. It was interesting learning about what you do and where you have been to. I love your hunger for travel experiences… there is so much to see. It’s made me realize that I need to travel more!!!
Did you have fun exploring your own hometown?
It was great to actually take the time out to explore St Albans. I never take the time to wander around and there is so much to see right on your doorstep if only you remember to look!!
Any nice anecdotes about guests or things that happened in the hotel?
There are so many things I could say… the best bit of running a hotel is meeting lots of wonderful people from all over the world who are doing loads of interesting things.
We had a couple stay about 3 years ago who are from Bondi Beach in Sydney… they were on a world trip and had travelled through the far east and Europe and came to visit St Albans because Therase had visited here as a child. While staying with us Charles was taken ill with DVT and could not fly or continue their trip until he had recovered. They ended up staying with us for 3mths!! and we become firm friends. I am hoping to visit them this next year out in Australia…
We have a German guest; Thomas who spends a lot of time with us in the hotel. In fact we have arranged a surprise party for him in Jan 2011 to celebrate the fact that he has stayed 365 days in the last 3 years which is an amazing length of time… We have invited business associates and other guests who have got to know him over the years to come… it should be a great evening!!!
There are dozens of funny stories and I suppose that is what I love about this job… no two days are ever the same and every guest has something to share.
If you could say just one reason why people should stay at the Black Lion Inn, what would it be?
If you want to feel at home in a hotel stay at The Black Lion Inn….. we try to make everyone feel as welcome as possible.
I have one guest who stays most weeks and when he arrives he always throws his coat onto the sofa in reception and leaves his bags there. He then walks into the bar and has a drink or two and only once he has chilled does he check in and get changed into casual clothes… it always reminds me of what you do when at home. Come in, dump your bags and coat, grab a drink and only after that do you get on with your evening.
For more information on the Black Lion Inn, you can visit their website.
Thanks again Gail for this interview and a lovely stay!