Tuesday, 28 April 2015

It's a team effort for the Belfast Marathon 2015

It’s that time again in Belfast, when you are guaranteed to see nothing but keen runners out on the streets morning, noon and night. Yes, it’s Belfast Marathon time when thousands of runners take to the streets on May Day come rain, hail or sunshine – usually one of the latter since we’re in Northern Ireland!
This great day out has become a fixture on the calendar for both the serious marathon enthusiasts and the many amateur runners who take part in the team relay. In 2014 there were close to 4000 participants who enjoyed a road run in glorious sun shine. For the last five years our manager, Nora Douds, has entered 3-4 relay teams’, raising money for various charities from Parkinson’s UK to the Children’s Kidney Fund. In 2015 the official charity of the Belfast Marathon is Marie Curie with many relay teams running in support of this wonderful body who provide support for people with terminal illnesses in Northern Ireland.
People run marathons for many reasons – for some it’s a once in a lifetime event, for an elite few, the serious athletes, it’s an opportunity to win and for others it’s another marathon completed in a long list of marathons. There is no doubt in my mind that running 26.2 miles is an amazing feat and one to be celebrated. The Belfast Marathon has also become a great team relay event and there are so many reasons why it has become so popular with fun runners. For our teams it’s a day to get together to run as part of a team while raising money for a worthwhile cause. Not all are serious runners but they all set themselves a goal to work towards whether a quick 3.1 mile in the glory, finishing leg or the punishing 7.2 mile run up the Antrim Road. The team spirit created is invaluable – our team member’s sense of achievement at the finishing line is exhilarating, even in the pouring rain! The whole process has the great added benefit of making exercise a fun and social activity.
The discussions of running times, team finishing times and the excitement of the day last long into the evening. Of course the celebration BBQ with drinks is always a great way to enjoy the success of the day.
Belfast Marathon day has had a great impact on the team spirit of our company, Tara Lodge Belfast. The owner of Tara Lodge, Conor O’Donnell is a regular participant, our chef Colin Douds a leading fixture, our manager Nora, the chief organiser and regular team mate and Pauline McCullough, our Front Office Manager is also an occasional team athlete. Our breakfast waiter Dave Quinn ran the whole marathon in 2011 – a feat not yet matched by any of our Tara Lodge team but as they say, never say never…..
The Tara Lodge hotel team has benefited greatly on a personal level from the Belfast Marathon. At Tara Lodge hotel we know that this race is a marathon not a sprint. Are you taking part in the Belfast Marathon this year and need a place to stay where we understand your needs as an athlete? If you would like to benefit from the wonderful team spirit and customer service that our Tara Lodge squad provide why not book one of our boutique hotel bedrooms
We still have some rooms available on Sunday 3 May, the night before the race and we can offer you some of our famous Power Porridge with banana and honey that will provide you with rocket fuel for the race.

Why not book with Tara Lodge later this year to experience the great, award winning team spirit that we offer for the benefit of all our great guests. Contact 028 9059 0900 for a pep talk or beat the rest by booking online at www.taralodge.com.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Three times lucky!

Tara Lodge winners of NIHF Housekeeping Team of the Year 2015
Reda, Audrone, Ernesta, Adriana & Edyta with owner Conor O'Donnell and Manager Nora Douds
I would like to think I am a dab hand at keeping my little two up, two down, Belfast sanctuary spick & span.  I’ve been known on many occasion to utter the words ‘honestly, I couldn’t cope with that mess, I think I’ve OCD’!  In my own little bubble I genuinely did believe this… right up until one morning in February 2015.  This particular morning (distressingly before I had consumed my 2 double strength Douwe Egberts traditional blend coffees) I spent 30 minutes showing two members of the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation around Tara Lodge on a surprise inspection of our hotel bedrooms. They picked three rooms at random and inspected the common areas throughout the property. 
I have always known our housekeeping team at Tara Lodge were something special but even I had to hide my amazement and admiration that morning.   The inspector was under tables, on top of wardrobes, behind toilets, even the hinge on the bin in the bathroom was inspected.  An Arachnophobe trapped in a bedroom with a money spider could not have been more thorough!  Try as she could not a watermark or a speck of dust was found.  Ernesta, our Head Housekeeper, stood cool as a cucumber throughout, showing 100% faith in the absolutely fabulous team she works with.  I on the other hand, always did have a slightly nervous disposition…
I needn’t have worried one iota.  The result of this ‘clean sweep’ of an inspection was that our girls; Reda, Audrone, Ernesta, Adriana and Edyta (pictured above with General Manager Nora Douds), won NIHF Housekeeping Team of the Year 2015, in the under 90 rooms category, for no less than the 3rd time in four years!  They received this well-deserved accolade at the prestigious Gala Dinner on Wednesday 25th March at the Holiday Inn, Belfast on Wednesday 25 March 2015.

The NIHF Housekeeping awards, which are now in their sixth year, are fiercely competitive within the Northern Ireland accommodation sector.  The competition begins with an off-site assessment day designed to be fun and educational.  Fellow finalists Galgorm Resort & Spa, Salty Dog Hotel & Bistro and fellow winners Belmore Court & Motel offered strong competition this year.
Sparkling clean bedroom at Tara Lodge, Belfast
‘Our Girls’ are the backbone of everything we do at Tara Lodge; an elegant 34 bedroom, four star, boutique hotel in the heart of the super trendy Queens Quarter of South Belfast.  Our exquisitely decorated hotel bedrooms are displayed to their very finest every time a new guest walks through the door.  The reason behind this?  The pride Ernesta and her team bring to work each day.  Immensely self-critical, to a fault, there is not one member of the team who is not 100% invested in doing the best job possible, every day.  They are all the best of friends and support each other fully in all aspects of their essential roles.  The results delivered by the tight knit team are clearly evident to colleagues, industry professionals and to our guests in particular.
Reda, Audrone, Ernesta, Edyta and Adriana with chef Colin Douds
Our General Manager Nora Douds said of the accolade ‘the Tara Lodge housekeeping team have not only adorned our walls with their NIHF awards from 2012, 2013 & 2015 but without this amazing team we could not have consistently retained the coveted accolade of TripAdvisor’s No. 1 best hotel in Belfast since 2007 or been listed in the Top 25 Hotels in the UK, TripAdvisor’s Travellers Choice 2011, 2012 & 2013.’

Our wonderful team and guest reviews have consistently kept us at the top spot for many years, making everything we do, in all departments of our little gem of a hotel so very worthwhile.  If you speak to any member of the Tara Lodge team, we will confirm hand on heart, that we all love coming to work!  We are so unbelievably proud of our housekeeping team and want to say the biggest thank you to them for everything they do!

If you would like to meet our team and experience what the Number 1 Hotel in Belfast has to offer, just click on the link below and book your stay today!  https://www.taralodge.com/  Follow us on twitter at @taralodge4star or Facebook at taralodgebelfast.  ©Pauline McCullough, Tara Lodge