Meet the team: Jeremy
As we approach the festive season and the team at Wildhive are getting ready to welcome our Christmas guests, we sat down with General Manager, Jeremy to ask him about his role at Callow Hall. Not only has 2023 seen Callow Hall establish itself as a much loved hotel in the Peaks and be awarded 'Peak District & Derbyshire Hotel of the Year 2023' but Jeremy married his partner Ella on a beautiful summers day in July.
My career plan was to become a Restaurant Manager, but I was keen to learn more about the industry and in doing so I ventured into Hotel Management, starting my trainee role at Careys Manor and within 7 years I was Hotel Manager of their sister hotel, The Montagu Arms.
I loved spending my time in the New Forest and for a while believed I would stay at the Montagu Arms for the rest of my life – but I wanted to challenge myself and believed I could achieve more.
In 2021 I was given the opportunity to move to Ashbourne and open Wildhive Callow Hall as General Manager. It has been a fantastic success so far and we have lots of exciting ideas for the future.
Everyone knows you to be a very happy and smiley person, what makes you get out of bed in the mornings?
The passion and love for hospitality. I love what I do. I love meeting new people. I love challenging myself. It doesn’t feel like work to me because it really is a love. I never watch the clock and that shows me how much I really enjoy my job!
What gives you the most satisfaction in your job?
Making sure the team and guests are happy. The hotel family is very important because you spend a lot of time together, we are a great team and all get on very well. I believe that’s because we share in the same philosophy of taking care of the guests first and foremost.
"The role of the GM is a busy one – you are at the centre of operations at the hotel. From one minute greeting the guests and overseeing the delivery of a breakfast hamper to one of the Hives, next, welcoming a corporate event such as Nespresso who recently held a product launch at Wildhive. But this variety is what makes the role of a GM so interesting."
You recently got married, congratulations! We understand you met your wife, Ella, who was also working in hospitality. How do you balance a relationship with the hours that being a GM of a hotel demands?
In accepting the GM position at Wildhive, this was a move from the New Forest in the South to Derbyshire where Ella’s family live. Ella saw this as an opportunity to start a different career which would give her a bit more flexibility. As you can imagine, there is a lot to consider with a new hotel opening. In the initial 18 months of establishing the hotel, I was happily committed to working long hours to ensure the team were trained and supported and the guests were relaxed and having a wonderful time.
Now we have an established team (the Wildhive family) and trained deputy General Managers in place, it allows me more flexibility. Not only has this been helpful with having some time off to get married this year but allows me to spend time with Ella and our wider family.
We have also welcomed a new puppy, Roo, into our home as a friend to our existing lab Margot. I can now work from home one day a week whilst she is being trained. Once she is a bit older, Roo will be able to join Margot and come to work with me at Wildhive as we are super dog friendly.
Since opening, Wildhive has achieved several awards, including Sunday Times Best Hotel. What do you think makes Wildhive Callow Hall a special place to stay?
I believe that Wildhive is special because of the team at the hotel. Each and every one of the team at the hotel are friendly and flexible. Saying ‘no’ is just not something we believe in. We always want to look at what we can do for the guests.
There is quite a magical feeling when you arrive at Wildhive Callow Hall. The accommodation (especially our woodland Hives) and Best of British seasonal food of course helps make it very special, but I truly believe that without the team the hotel would not have the same feeling.
Who do you admire most in the industry and why?
In the industry a lot of celebrity or famous hoteliers are chefs and the GM and MD generally don’t get the praise they deserve. There are a few people that I look up to; firstly, my old Managing Director James Hiley-Jones (Montagu Arms Hotel) for believing in me from the word go and always giving me the opportunities to succeed. I always looked up to James and believed that one day I could be as successful as him.
Others are; Danny Pecorelli (Exclusive Collection), Andrew Stembridge (Luxury Hotels) and Sue Williams (previously at Whatley Manor and is now a Sustanability Consultant).
And of course, Wildhive founders, Ed Burrows & Charles Randall (pictured right). Ed and Charles have established themselves in the hotel industry, formerly at Barnsdale Lodge and now launching Wildhive. Their desire to always explore new ideas and to create a happy and fulfilled team, they have achieved something very special at Wildhive. The future is so bright for the company, and I truly believe that.
"It was a big decision to move from the south up to Ashbourne, but as soon as I met Ed and Charles via zoom I knew there was something special about their vision for Wildhive. Having been established at the hotel for a couple of years now, I feel extremely grateful that they put their trust in me, allowing me this amazing opportunity. Without them, I wouldn't be running one of the best hotels in the country!"
The hotel is located at the gateway to the Peak District National Park, the oldest park in the UK. Who would you most like to hike across the Peaks with and why?
There is nothing better than spending time with my wife Ella, we have two lovely dogs who we really enjoy going on walks with - even if we have muddy paws to wash when we get home!
What is the most important thing you have learned so far at Wildhive?
I have learnt how to be a successful General Manager. To be the helicopter of the hotel rather than trying to do everything myself. Making sure that the right team members are in the right departments and how to make Wildhive as special as it can be for the guests. To have conviction in your decisions and believe in oneself.
What is the strangest guest request you have had (so far)?
If I’m honest I don’t believe in strange requests because I will always do my best to achieve what is asked.
QUICK FIRE QUESTIONS
Where was the last hotel you stayed at? A relaxing stay at Whatley Manor
How do you relax? Walks with the dogs and playing football. Going to see friends and family who are very important to me. I have 3 brothers and 3 nieces and I catch up with them whenever I can.
Which football team do you support? Southampton
Favourite Food? All fish - I love fish!
Favourite Drink? Old Fashioned
Favourite place in the world? Wherever I can ski. Skiing is one of my favourite, very special holidays that guarantees you switch off.
Favourite room at Wildhive? Bedroom 7 is a lovely mix of old and new, light and airy with views over the secret garden.
Favourite film? Lord of the Rings