Wedding Fairs Galore!

Where can you pick up ideas for wedding invitations, wedding cakes and wedding dresses, as well as sort out your hen party? A wedding fair of course, and that is just where we have been lately. First off it was the Toorak Hotel displaying its wares at the Real Brides Show at Newton Abbot Racecourse. Next the Aztec Spa went along to the Autumn Wedding Show at Westpoint in Exeter.

The country may be in grip of a recession but it seems nobody told these brides and grooms to be! There was no shortage of visitors at either events and with dresses in their hundreds, if not thousands of pounds for sale, couples are still looking for the traditional ‘full on’ wedding.

That said, there is a move towards something a bit different with hog roasts, unusual venues and karaoke being asked for. The Toorak can now offer a twist on the usual celebrations with its contacts with Torre Abbey. You can have your ceremony in the atmospheric, historic Abbey and then stroll through the gardens and across the road to the Toorak for the wedding reception, for example. This idea certainly had several couples interested.

When it was the Aztec Spa’s turn to be in the limelight, at the Autumn Wedding Show, we noticed a definite shift in the hen party trend. No longer are girls looking for a cheap boozy weekend in Marbella, these days spas are the way to go! Who doesn’t love a spot of pampering? There may still be alcohol involved, but it will be the chilled and sparkling kind, served in a relaxed and sophisticated setting. The Autumn Wedding Show exhibitors couldn’t get enough of our All About You spa packages, perfect for a girly get together of all ages.

So, an interesting and informative few days out of the office, which gave us an insight into what our customers are really looking for.

At the end of this month, Affordable Dreams will be holding their wedding fair at the Victoria Hotel and next June, the Toorak will once again be holding their very own wedding fair. It seems romance will out and despite the doom and gloom, couples will always be ready to tie the knot!

Learn to dance Strictly in Devon, like Ann Widdecombe who is watching the new series of Strictly Come Dancing cannot fail to have noticed Ann Widdecombe who for this series has taken over from John Sergeant – last year’s ‘one that has limited dance talent’ – and relies on the viewer’s votes to be kept in the programme each week, aahhh!!!

She may not be the judges favourite to win but her popularity with hundreds of fans has lead bookmakers to lower their odds on Ann winning this series of Strictly from 66-1 to 40-1. Ann and Anton’s unique version of the Salsa attraced more that 8000 views on YouTube within 24 hours of its showing!

Ann has been taking dance lessons with her professional partner Anton du Beke down in the South West of England at a dance studio in Newton Abbot, Devon. Newton Abbot and the surrounding area is a part of Devon offering a host of dance opportunities. In fact just a short drive from this Newton Abbot dance studio is TLH Leisure Resort in Torquay, one of the UK’s leading dance holiday destinations.

TLH Leisure Resort run a programme of dance holidays throughout the year and offer dance genres to suit all tastes. Holidays cater for all abilities from ‘learn to’ as a beginner through to improvers and advanced. Check out our website to see what we have to offer – Ballroom, Latin, Sequence, Jive, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Salsa, and Northen soul to name but a few – a feast for all dancers! There are 4 hotels to choose from on the complex, and 7 ballrooms!

So if you aspire to being able to dance (like Ann Widdecombe – or perhaps you fancy yourself as another Strictly star) then take a look at TLH’s dance holiday programme as Devon seems to be the place to learn how to dance right now… according to Anne anyway, you would be in good company!!!

Have a look, and remember… keep dancing!!!!!

Commonwealth Bowling Victory – It’s great to have famous friends.

I am absolutely delighted to be able to congratulate my friends from the South West on their successes in Delhi during the Commonwealth Games. Three of my chums were playing and they were brilliant.

I watched most of the finals on BBC during my working day on my computer. Good job I work in bowling here at TLH Leisure Resort, or it may have seemed a bit strange for me to be urging on woods and groaning when a particularly good shot was played against our team members. My office mates who are not bowlers must have wondered about all the noises, but bless ‘em, not a word was uttered. They know I am in serious danger of becoming a bowling anorak and fortunately they just let me get on with it.

I have had the pleasure of bowling with Natalie Melmore who won Gold in the Ladies Singles in Delhi. Nat is a great bowler and a very nice person. She has matured into a splendid adult and is a pleasure to be on the green with. I remember her younger years when she started at Newton Abbot Bowls Club and Teignbridge IBC, and you just knew that she was a star in the making

Putting her education at Plymouth University on hold for a year whilst training and playing for these games, was probably one of the best decisions she has made, and what a pay off.

Nat “You are brilliant.”

I have to feel for Sam Tolchard, another splendid player and also from Kings BC here in Torquay. He, is a great team mate. I lead for him in the Egham final last season and we were the only winning rink from our club. However, Sam must have been bitterly disappointed as he was the only player from England coming home without a medal. Don’t worry kiddo, we still love ya.

But Sam, you played really well and deserved better. Don’t be disappointed, we all think you are a great bowler and at the very least, it was a wonderful opportunity and honour to represent you country. Well done.

Lastly, I wish I could hug Sian Gordon. Coming home with a Bronze was just superb. Playing with Sian was Jamie Lee Winch and Sandy Hazel. Jamie had a great game but Sandie looked to be struggling with her line. But well done anyway.

I was waiting for someone to call out, “chalk that bug, it’s a toucher”. What a night for moths and beetles, and a scorpion as well. Nasty creatures, and me a bit jittery around a daddy longlegs.

It was with Sian that our 4’s team were England Champions and then British Isles Champions in 2009. Sian is a great skip, very encouraging and a pleasure to play with, even if we do get the occasion master class in cussing.

It’s great to know you guys, keep in touch. Good old Facebook.

I am so pleased to know you all. Long may you shine.

Signing off now

Keep practising. Terri Kennard

Toorak in Bloom

It must be a sign that I’m truly a grown up, in that I really enjoy gardening these days. In fact I’d rather potter around in the vegetable patch than hit the shops on a Saturday afternoon. So I was secretly quite pleased to hear that the outdoor swimming pool at the Toorak Hotel was to be filled in and landscaped, mainly due to changes in pool legislation. I know many guests mourned its passing, but what is now there instead is just as lovely and probably a whole lot more practical.

Although still in its infancy, the new ‘inner’ garden area has developed well and it’s raised beds are displaying some vibrant autumn colour, with much still in bloom, especially since we have had a week or so of an Indian summer.

The inner garden and the existing garden areas are looked after by Ace Garden Services and their hard work this year led to the Toorak being awarded a first prize in the Larger Hotel category in the Bay Blooms competition, run by Torbay Council. Just last week, Nigel Beck, the Toorak’s General Manager, picked up the trophy and certificate at a special awards evening at Paignton Zoo.

You can find out more about how Ace prepared the gardens prior to the judging last summer here

The Toorak gardena are a real treat, if only my own garden looked as well tended!

TLH Shortlisted for Springboard Award

Customer Care Training at TLH

Outstanding service in the Victoria Restaurant

We’re celebrating here at TLH becsause we’ve just found out we’ve been shortlisted for a national award – the Springboard Awards for Excellence 2010 in the ‘People Innovation’ Category.

Springboard is the national body that promotes careers in Hospitality, Leisure and Tourism. Now in their 8th year, the Springboard Awards for Excellence celebrate and reward inspiring people, organisations and initiatives – those that work hard to elevate the profile of the hospitality industry as an employer and attract and retain talent. TLH Leisure Resort have previously won the Best Employer category in 2004.

Our entry centred on their new Customer Service Training Programme -STARs. Personnel and Development Manager, Gary Brenton, explains ‘We began to develop our new training programme about eighteen months ago. All of our staff were involved in the design of the course, they have all gone though the training and helped us to evaluate its success. We have seen real business improvements in customer service as a result. Our staff have been fantastic, they have really engaged with our training and to be shortlisted for this category, which is all about how our people have made a difference, is recognition for everybody within the company’.

We will find out if we have been successful at an awards ceremony in London on 29th November. We will keep you posted.

Anyone for Champagne? – new Autumn spa break is launched.

Spa breaks are a great excuse for some “me-time” and self-indulgent pampering – and why not. The new All About You  spa break at the Aztec Spa in Torquay is available now and this season spa treatments include the following:

Elemis Frangipani Body Wrap
Traditional Swedish Back, Neck and Shoulder Massage
OPI Juicie Minicure
A session on out therapeutic massage beds
Lunch in the Aztec Bistro
Use of the 25m swimming pool, sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi!

All About You can be booked as a spa day or an overnight spa break with accommodation in the 3 star Carlton Hotel. This has been our most popular Spa package for the past 3 years and this Autumn we are making it even better by adding Champagne as an option to the menu!

Champagne anyone?

Girly gossip on a spa break

Spa breaks are really popular for a hen party or birthday treat, or just a girly day out with you friends, and you can make them even more special by pre-ordering champagne or wine to help your celebration along. This will be served whilst you are chilling out in our relaxation area.  And the best part is if you bring 7 friends you go absolutely FREE!

For more information about our Spa packages or to book, call 01803 400190 or check out our website .