A budding future
In the early 1980’s I discovered the power of flowers. I was managing the Angel Hotel in Abergavenny
that is now famous for its afternoon teas.
The hotel did not have the best reputation at the time and I had to work
hard to win over the local market. I
decided to get involved with Wales in Bloom and support the town’s entry. Despite not having a blade of grass in the
hotel I created a fantastic floral display.
There were colourful window boxes, a courtyard with a fountain and
recordings of bird music, and around the car park I built up the walls and
filled them with flowers. Hanging
baskets added to the floral experience.
We won the hotel section for Wales in Bloom two years
running. During that time we had a
massive increase in sales and the investment was paid back many fold. The PR was fantastic and Abergavenny did win
the town section of Wales in Bloom. It
transformed the hotel’s reputation and the Angle Hotel became the social hub of
During this period I noticed a huge increase in guests from
America. One day I was talking to an
American guest about this situation. He
quickly asked me – Do you know why? I
had no idea. He then produced a half
page article in the New York Times about the flowers in the hotel and how
welcoming it was.
The reason for writing this is to remind hoteliers about the
importance of visual impact. I have
driven past hotels while looking for a room. On many occasions I have driven on because I
don’t like the look of it. And nowadays
we can look at pictures on the hotel’s website so it is more important than
How well does your hotel facade promote your hotel? I suggest if you have a country house hotel
in lovely gardens the solution is already there. Chewton Glen for example is in a magnificent
setting but it still has a team of gardeners ensuring the grounds are well
In my opinion City hotels need to do much more to make their
outsides look better than the competitions.
You need to catch the eye of the passerby but instead I see no window
boxes full of spring colour in lovely hanging baskets, often just weeds or
flowers dying from lack of water. I know
they can be costly but I firmly believe the investment pays off. We frequently say we eat with our eyes and I
believe the same applies to the way hotels present themselves and how guests