Award winning hotel’s Dunkirk Spirit keeps guests smiling
When the power went out over Derbyshire last week, it was a case of ‘watts up’ as one award winning hotel drew on some old fashioned ‘Dunkirk Spirit’ to ensure it was business as usual for its guests. East Lodge was subject to the power cuts that plunged the Peak District into darkness but staff rallied round to ensure guests still had a stay to remember for all the right reasons.
“We don’t let the snow stop us, so we certainly weren’t going to let a power cut close East Lodge down,” said East Lodge deputy managing director Iain Hardman. “We channelled a bit of “Can do attitude” instead and all the staff and guests ensured it was a case of ‘keep calm and carry on!!”
Hundreds of candles illuminated the former hunting lodge, recalling days of old and on Wednesday evening a cold buffet was arranged in the restaurant – bringing an all new meaning to the term candlelit dinner! However, the hotel was determined that the award winning breakfast would still be served, power or no power and it was – courtesy of a camper van in the grounds!
Hotel owner David Hardman’s own van was drafted in to ensure that guests would still receive their hot breakfast and the improvisation was a great success – if a challenge for the East Lodge chefs, who had to swap their new £¼ million kitchen for a camper stove for the day.
“It was important for us to keep the home fires burning and soldier on and we did just that,” added Iain. “Unsurprisingly the blackouts forced many businesses to close but it is our policy never to let our guests down if we can avoid it. Dinner by candlelight was an amazing experience and we hope added to the atmosphere of East Lodge for our guests as much as us! We are all very thankful to see normal service resumed to focus on recharging our visitors’ batteries rather than our own.”
“As we heard it, the power cut was due to an explosion at a local sub-station. However, it’s a poor workman who blames his tools and while one of the best kitchen’s in the country is a big advantage for us, all the brigade are talented guys and we pride ourselves on being able to deliver first class results in any circumstances,” explained East Lodge head Chef Simon Bradley. “We decided on a cold buffet on Wednesday night but breakfast just had to happen, so we called in the camper van.
Our sous chef Ben [Wilkinson] had his work cut out – we couldn’t all join him in the van – but while we wouldn’t want to cook it like that every day, breakfast was still the business.”
East Lodge is owned by the Hardman family and the AA’s three red stars place the hotel in a select bracket of the top 150 hotels in the whole of the UK and this exclusive venue remains one of just 48 hotels in the country presented with a Visit England Gold Award.