A Day in the Life

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Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival Launch, Hotel du Vin Brighton. photo ©Julia Claxton

Hotel du Vin is one of the city’s most iconic properties offering a sophisticated retreat from the bustle of the beach and the Lanes. Nick Mosley catches up with general manager Ben Haynes on what a typical day at the helm of the hotel looks like.

The first thing I do is check on overnight emails when I wake at 6:30am. Then whilst having breakfast with my three year old, I read the night managers log which reports back anything of interest that has occurred in the small hours. Brighton still amazes me, as it’s a 24 hour city!)

I generally do the nursery run in the mornings whilst my partner, who is a teacher does the pick-up, and this works well for the ever-challenging life balance.

Normally I get into work between around 8:15am. I have a walk around the hotel and check all is in in order, chatting to the staff on duty and checking service levels. I like getting in to the kitchen early and helping with the deliveries, especially the live crabs and lobsters, which are a real favourite on the menus. Thankfully none have escaped on my watch.

After that I am around reception checking on guests as they leave ensuring they have had a great stay. At 10am we have a daily meeting where a member of staff attends from each department to discuss the day before, business levels, and what VIPs and events we have arriving today.

From there I pop to see the head housekeeper, and we chat and check rooms for around 45 minutes. Housekeeping is probably the hardest job in the hotel, but out of the limelight. It’s a vital team than can be forgotten.

Unfortunately there are the usual emails to deal with, but I like to keep the office time to a minimum. I like going out and seeing customers and building relationships, but it’s even better when I can entertain them in the hotel as that lets us show our wonderful spaces like our unique wine tasting room and beautiful Dome ballroom. Also whilst having lunch with them in the Bistro I can taste the menu and review the service at the same time. I find multi-tasking difficult, but it helps when you can do a couple of things at the same time.

Around 5:30pm we have a briefing in the Bistro, and talk through the evening and what chef has got on the specials menu. Robin, our sommelier, normally has some wines to taste to go with new dishes that chef samples up, and with over 200 wines to choose from we often have some passionate – if good natured – discussions.

I am in the hotel some evenings, but I have a very good team of managers and staff so I can confidently head home full in the knowledge that I’m leaving the hotel good hands until the morning.

Hotel du Vin, 2-6 Ship Street, Brighton BN1 4AD. 01273 718 588. www.hotelduvin.com

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