Torquay’s Top – 10 reasons (and more) for a family holiday or weekend break in Torbay!

Torquay Harbour and MarinaTorbay and the English Riviera – at times – a tropical dream holiday without the long-haul flights, costly/worrisome travel, mosquitoes and other weird bitey critters and sticky nights of still and humid non-moving air (though with our recently good spell of weather the Bay is perhaps not quite so many miles from the tropical beaches of the Bahamas or deepest darkest African jungle as one might imagine!). There is certainly an equal amount of exploration/discovery opportunities in Torbay as you’d find abroad, whether it be wonderful, magical scenery or the study of the unusual habits of the local natives that you seek.

Picture it… No more whirring and clicking of slightly unbalanced ceiling fans – an aid to a good night’s sleep in those hotter climes – nor the constant whoosh of the air conditioner – great by day but both helps you to sleep at night and also wakes you up with frostbite in the early hours. No more worrying about whether you can eat the salad… whether it was washed or not – either a possibly dodgy option- nor spending hours in airports scowling and tutting at others as their kids run riot, your angels sitting quietly only after threats of being left at the airport if they don’t behave! … oh wait… 10 reasons to visit Torquay not 10 reasons not to travel abroad… I digress!…

Children playing in rock poolTop reasons to visit Torquay (a big part of Torbay) – palm trees, ice cream, cream tea, beach huts, sea swims or burying Grandad in the sand, perhaps… or maybe the parks, gardens, cliff walks, sea views or beaches and coves there are to explore. With its mild climate and a sheltered Bay the possibilities for visitors and holidaymakers to Torquay and the Bay are endless, whether for a family holiday in the UK, a stop-over for cliff walkers or those in search of themed or package holidays.

Torquay’s proximity to Paignton and Brixham – themselves very picturesque and desirable holiday spots – but also to Dartmouth, Totnes, Exeter and Plymouth, mean it’s in easy reach of a number of wonderful holiday areas and the benefits of attractions and sights that make all of these places popular holiday destinations.

Now to the top ten reasons to visit Torquay… in my humble opinion:

  • 22 miles of coastline with cliffs to walk and 19 or so beaches and coves to explore
  • Spectacular views across Torbay and out to sea
  • A palm-lined promenade for romantic evening strolls and home to the Princess Theatre for those wishing to take in a show
  • Pavement cafes, pubs and restaurants galore – from Pizza Express and similarly well known chains to the more Torquay based Alberts Bar, Hanburys award winning fish and chips and Aztec Bistro
  • An endless array of seaside activities and water sports to enjoy (surf, swim, fish, sail, hire a kayak or pedalo, go rock-pooling, build sandcastles or study the natural wildlife).
  • Hundreds of attractions in and around the area – Prehistoric caves at Kents Cavern, Babbacombe model village, Paignton Zoo Environmental Park, Becky Falls, Dartmoor – to mention but a few!
    (Local attractions discount scheme for TLH Leisure Resort guests)
  • A bustling shopping centre
  • Busy, picturesque harbor and harbourside
  • Plenty of accommodation and holiday packages to suit every budget, be it a B&B, 2/3* or higher hotel or leisure resort you are after
  • Festivals, carnivals, fetes and fairs – including such things as Agatha Christie Festival, Torbay Carnival, Paignton regatta or Paignton Bike Festival, all events that often include spectacular fireworks and often the wonderful sight of the Red Arrows display team.

Whether to re-live fond memories of family holidays past, to build new memories with your own children on a family holiday or perhaps a romantic getaway, Spa break or other specialist break and countless holiday packages consider Torquay, it has so much to offer, any time of the year!

Summer fun and entertainment on your holiday at TLH

TLH Entertainment programmeSummer is a really busy time for us here at TLH Leisure Resort in Torquay. Now the schools have broken up and we’re into the main UK family holiday season, our Summer entertainment programme is in full swing with discos, our own Team Show, visiting cabaret acts, everyone’s favourite – Kevin from KB Sounds, quiz nights and karaoke in Alberts, fancy dress competitions, talent contest for under 15’s, al fresco party night on Thursdays (weather permitting), plus plenty of daytime activities too. There’s the daily Toby Club activities, TeenZone stuff for the 10+ age group, loads of family competitions and games, wet n wild and our Summer Fun Day on Wednesdays by the outdoor pool.

We put in loads of work behind the scenes too so we can put on our best performance when we’re on stage in the Starlight Lounge.You can take a sneaky look at us here rehearsing “Play that Funky Music”

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Wish upon a STAR – customer care training.

What do we all wish for when we go on a UK holiday? Nice weather? Good Food? Comfy rooms? Lots to see and do? Attentive service?

Well, here at TLH Leisure Resort, we can’t guarantee the weather, but we can make sure that you have the best holiday you can wish for!

Our own in-house TLH STARs Customer Service training programme has gone from strength to strength over the past 18 months. It only seems like yesterday we were discussing the design of the course with our teams, yet here we are, nearly18 months later and we have just run the first batch of refresher sessions!

We wanted to make sure that our teams were motivated and enthusiastic about providing that consistently excellent customer service we are known for, even during the busy summer months. So, to make sure that we covered everything we needed, we asked staff what they wanted to be included. The feedback was amazing, with everyone supporting the idea of refresher sessions. So with comments in hand I started to design the session. Running for 2 hours I included information on product knowledge, a customer experience exercise (to get everyone thinking like a customer), how we interact with our guests, showing how much we care, teamwork, internal customers and finally those all important last impressions.

The first session was on the 29 June with the last one on 27 July. During this time there were 20 sessions being delivered to nearly 300 staff, covering all departments from kitchens, bars and restaurants to recptions, accounts, sales and marketing. I got them into the restaurant for their coffee break where they witnessed excepionally good and bad service, working in groups to identify how we can get to know our customers more and how we can demontrate good teamwork between different departments, and finally interviwing each other to find out more about different each other and people’s different roles in the business.

The feedback has been fantastic, and I love it when I hear reports from staff and guests at how everyone is putting the session into practice. It’s also nice to see staff that didn’t know each other before, chatting to each other during the day!

Customer service is so important to us here at TLH Leisure Resort that we are constantly looking at ways to improve. I hope everyone agrees that these STARs sessions have really had an impact on the service all of our guests receive. I’d like to take all the credit, but without the support, input and enthusiasm of all the staff here, the training would not have been a success.

The picture below shows some of our teams enjoying a good experience in our lovely Victoria Hotel Restaurant.


Customer Care Training at TLH

Outstanding service in the Victoria Restaurant

New Laws – “Starting an End” – what are the repercussions

The World Indoor Bowls Council has decided to scrap the rule of giving the jack away after you have won an end. This rule will be revoked for the coming indoor season and is thought to be rolling over to the 2011 outdoor season of World Bowls.

What does the rule mean?

At the moment, having won an end, you have the option of keeping the mat and casting the jack, or giving it away to the opposition and having the last bowl of the following end for yourself. (Notice I said ‘cast the jack’ – where did this awful expression ‘throw the jack’ come from?)

What were the repercussions?

When this new rule was first introduced several years ago it was deemed radical and many older players found this to be a very intimidating way to play bowls, and, as the rule was usually implemented by the ‘youngsters’, I will go so far as to say that it may have been this rule that branded the youngsters as arrogant in some cases. There were no end of witterings in the early days and I recall an incident on the green not long ago that I found abhorrent. I was playing with my mother in a club social game, so this was not serious competition, just social bowling. Having lost an end the jack was given to her by the opposition. My mother asked if this was the norm in such a minor situation and was told that ‘she needed the practice’. The person concerned in this incident had only been bowling for 2 seasons against my mothers 35 season bowling career. It’s small wonder that this rule is unpopular with the older generation.
More coaching would be the answer to that one.

The Argument

There is an argument to could be tabled, that if you have won an end you deserve to make the decision about the following end, and that the better player should be rewarded for winning this end. What piffle this is. Any bowler worth their salt will tell you that a drawing bowler will win 99% of the time, so to be drawing and playing well and have someone’s last, straight bowl come howling up the green and destroy all your hard work, just because they couldn’t draw a wood (even if you gave them pen and paper) is somewhat depressing. What’s more they can do this to you every end. Does that seem fair to you? No of course it’s not. As the better bowler, by drawing ability, which, let me add is the corner-stone of this great game, you are being beaten by someone with no skill except to heave a straight bowl up the green to scatter the head. That’s not skill, its hardly clever either, it’s more luck.
Again coaching would be the answer to this one.

On the other hand, I can only recall a game that I played last season when some wag, after taking 2 shots from me on the first end, mistakenly said ‘you can have the jack’. Every end after that I changed the length of the jack from short to long alternately, never dropped another shot, kept the jack, and won the game in the next 10 ends.

I am a firm believer that if you are casting the jack you have a good idea of the changing pace of the green. Giving the jack away does not always pay, as illustrated by the game outlined above.

Someone mentioned that we all love the underdog to win. Again this is nonsense. We all love to watch a skilled bowler in action, and even our top International bowlers will not fire unless they are in a desperate situation. Yes, sometimes the underdog wins, but it is playing against better bowlers than ourselves that gives us the experience and teaches us the lessons. The rules, whatever they may be, are there for everyone, not just the best players or the most aggressive players. It’s supposed to be an even playing field.

Giving the jack and mat away has always been confusing to the spectators, as they cannot distinguish between the person winning the end and the person casting the jack. However, when were rules ever made for the convenience of the spectator? So reverting to the old rule could make bowls a better spectator sport once again.

Terri with her umpire's hat on!I feel sorry for Umpires and Markers as there are several other rules that are to be revised, and just coming on to the Umpiring scene I realise just what a minefield it can all be.

Watch this space for any updates to rules and regulations.

That’s all folks

Going greyer by the moment.

Food Glorious Food

One of the great things about staying in a hotel is having tasty meals prepared and cooked for you – and no washing up either. As well as the quality of our meals, here at TLH Leisure Resort we’re serious about the safety of the food we serve to all of our guests. So with this in mind I decided to run a food hygiene course specifically designed for our restaurant teams. The course covered all the knowledge and skills our teams needed to make sure that the food they serve is of the highest quality.

It was a great session with the teams staying on after breakfast service to attend. Although we covered a lot of important information, I made sure that we had some fun as well. We looked at all the different areas of food safety, covering contamination, cleaning, personal hygiene and more.

19 staff from all 4 of our restaurants attended, and they all passed the exam at the end of the course! Well done to you all, you can see some of them proudly showing off their certificates in Level 1 Food Hygiene in the pictures below.

Food hygiene training is a regular feature of our annual training calendar, and from September, Darryl Patrick, Restaurant Manager at the Carlton Hotel will also be involved in the delivery of these sessions as he’s just passed his Professional Trainers Certificate…. Well-done Darryl!

Training July 10

Ashley Isaac & Maria Angeles de Cabo Perez with Barrington James from the Victoria Restaurant

Food hygiene training at TLH

Carlton Restaurant Team with Darryl Patrick