Patrick Jones, general manager at Tewskesbury Park tells us about his first job, the best pieces of advice he ever received and where he sees himself in five years’ time.
Highlight of your career so far?
Genuinely, when I first embarked on the challenge of Tewkesbury Park, I doubted myself. Turning this ship around has provided the most satisfaction.
If you could choose three guests, dead or alive, to dinner, who would you choose?
If it couldn’t be my wife and kids, then let’s go for Kylie Minogue, Micky Flanagan & Michael Palin.
Last hotel you stayed at? The Beach Suite at the Cary Arms in Devon was fab but honestly, I was pressganged by friends into staying at a bothy recently. Lovely sea views and back to nature, but sleeping on a wooden board with no room service takes the biscuit. Thankfully my tactic to snore means that they don’t want to do it again.
Best piece of advice you ever received? Two pieces of advice: Peter de Savary insisted on the “24-hour” rule when reacting or making decisions. But my dad always offered much wisdom, the best of which was, “when you’ve dropped a clanger, just leave it because it’s better that everyone think you a fool, than open your mouth and remove all doubt!”
Biggest service bugbear? Some say that leaving the cruets on the table after the main course should be punishable by death and standards are very important but I think that overly-commercial, inauthentic and stuffy service styles are against the true spirit of hospitality.
If you went on Stars in their Eyes, who would you portray? Elton John – great glasses, great singer and great musician.
Which other company (inside or outside the industry) do you most admire and why? Virgin. It’s all about the “can do” spirit; having great fun at work; being a bit cheeky and being an entrepreneur.
What’s the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning? I walk the property to get a sense of how things are, then check the sales figures – boring, I know, but that’s what I do.
Your first job? You never forget your first job. Mine was when I was at secondary school and I lugged wheelbarrows around a wholesale market garden business for 55p/hour.
If you weren’t a hotelier what would you be doing? I feel very fortunate to not have any regrets about my choice of career. I nearly went into horticulture but many say that I should have gone into politics.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? Hopefully, we’ll be reaping the rewards of hard work and investment in Tewkesbury Park, so that I can launch The Hotel Doctor, offering advice and support to independent hotels.
Your dream job? As I have dual British/Swiss nationality, I’d have loved to be a mountain tour-guide in the alps.
Something you wish you knew before joining the industry: If only the internet had come along 10 years earlier…
In one word…
Favourite food? Spaghetti with ragu sauce
Favourite UK city? Liverpool
Favourite request on the jukebox? You’ll never walk alone
Favourite drink? G&T
Favourite holiday destination? Switzerland
Favourite film? Mamma Mia!
Favourite gadget? Swiss army penknife
Favourite thing you own? Corkscrew – essential!