Louise Bolton is a director of The Coniston Hotel Country Estate & Spa, where she spends her days overseeing the strategy and day-to-day running of the business, as well as leading meetings, mentoring staff and ensuring the guest experience is the best it can be
There’s no typical day for Louise Bolton, director of The Coniston Hotel Country Estate & Spa, the award-winning hotel and venue where she has worked since she started out as a trainee receptionist.
Most days Louise is up with the lark ready to check emails, review how the evening shift went and say hello to guests who are checking out. She will then attend team strategy meetings to discuss industry trends, tactical day to day details and upcoming events.
“As you might imagine, there really are no ‘typical’ days,” explains Louise. “For example, when there’s a big breakfast rush, it’s all hands-on deck and everyone steps in to help clear tables and greet our guests – it’s all about teamwork. I like to think I wear a lot of hats. I really do enjoy taking responsibility for the overall ‘feel’ of the hotel and guest satisfaction. As you can tell, I am passionate about the role I play which requires a variety of skills, from critical thinking and financial knowledge to organisation and communication, all playing a part.
“I also schedule ‘guest time’ and ‘staff care’ into my day. It makes me happy and reminds me why I got into this role in the first place,” says Louise, who was born and brought up in Sawley in the Ribble Valley.
Educated at Bowland High School, she began working at The Coniston in 1998, shortly before the hotel officially opened: “My grandma saw an advert in a local paper which stated that The Coniston was undergoing a major development of a 40-bedroom lodge-style hotel and were on a major recruitment drive for apprentices. A few of our family friends had worked for the Bannister family back in the early farm shop and tearoom years and I felt it would be a great opportunity for me to join this family run business,” says Louise, who was made a director in 2013.
“I feel so proud to have been a part of the hotel since the very beginning, seeing all the monumental developments which have taken place over the last 23-years. It’s been an incredible journey,” she says of her time at The Coniston which is set in a 1,400-acre private estate and now boasts 71 bedrooms, two luxury cottages, The View Restaurant, Macleod’s Bar & Lounge, an award-winning spa and an array of activities such as 4×4 driving experiences and clay pigeon shooting, as well as weddings and events.
For Louise The Coniston estate, which is owned by the Bannister family, remains a very special place: “The family led influence really does support and enhance the overall growth and innovation of the business. Personally, my passion is delivering great customer service by leading a friendly and dedicated team that always go above and beyond – this is the core of our business philosophy.”
Louise is also a keen advocate of corporate and social responsibility, and she leads the hotel in its sponsorship and support of various local and regional causes such as Manorlands Hospice, hosting fundraising events such as The Coniston’s Annual Yorkshire Three Peaks Walk, raising over £1.2 million over the past 11 years.
She has also played a part in the many, and varied, awards won by The Coniston including Welcome to Yorkshire’s White Rose Awards ‘Best Large Hotel’ and ‘Business in Tourism’, The Catey’s ‘Newcomer of the Year’, the 5 Bubble Rating from the Good Spa Guide for their spa and a 2AA Rosette accolade for one of the restaurants.
“I’m definitely not one to take the glory, it is a real team effort. I strongly believe that each employee contributes to us winning,” says Louise, who comes from a farming background and in her spare time enjoys cooking: “On a personal note, at home I am often the one that is found in the kitchen cooking up a storm, of course with a nice glass of wine!”
Over the past year, Louise and the team at The Coniston have been working hard on new projects that saw the hotel introduce alfresco dining, new walking routes, an enhanced fishing offering and e-bikes during the first lockdown. The hotel also refurbished its restaurant, The View, with beautiful décor to match its breath-taking outlook.
“We hope all the work will stand us in good stead for when we reopen in just a few weeks’ time. Here at The Coniston, we are always looking at ways we can improve, and have been using our down-time wisely by working on some exciting projects. Our spa is undergoing major redevelopment and will open from 12th April 2021 with a new name – Nàdarra Spa – and some incredible new experiences, including an enhanced thermal suite, private spa areas such as our spa garden with two outdoor baths as well as an extended terrace with infinity pools, outdoor bar and of course the most spectacular views over the estate.
“All of our attention is now focused on the engagement of our team, keeping them motivated for when we come back, the continued implementation of our Covid procedures and health and safety protocols as well making sure our ever-loyal guests feel looked after, reassured and ready to re-book for when we reopen. We very much look forward to welcoming back our customers, colleagues and community!”