Why did it take me nearly 40 years to visit!!??

I am embarrassed to say that up until mid-2016 I had never ventured north of the border into Scotland. Then a client of mine started some projects in Perth, Dundee and Aberdeen, and before I knew it I was becoming a bit of regular visitor.

I also enjoyed a holiday in September 2016 to the Ardnamurchan Peninsula (West Coast) for a week – and experienced the true beauty of Scotland. I had a fantastic time, and thought this couldn’t be beaten, that was until recently when I made a 500+mile trip to visit The Torridon hotel (Pride of Britain Hotels) in the Scottish Highlands. I was blessed with the weather for my whole trip, so I got to see the scenery at its best – but cannot believe there is a more beautiful place in the British Isles than here.

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The Torridon

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Bedroom Views don’t get much better than this…

Breath-taking views; still lochs; snow topped mountains; an abundance of wildlife; stunning sunsets – and above all, complete tranquillity. I have never been anywhere so relaxing. There was something satisfying about not being able to download emails whilst hundreds of feet up a mountain. After all, you wouldn’t want it to disturb the enjoyment of listening to the gentle trickle of water through the hills, or the occasional cuckoo.

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The British Isles has some wonderful locations – but this area of Scotland, has to top it for me. Will I be back?…..without a doubt!

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Pride

Some might say I have the best job in the world working for Pride of Britain Hotels……I would have to agree. I take my ‘Brand Compliance’ role (or the Brand Police!) for the collection very seriously, and I am immensely proud to be part of this wonderful collection. I thoroughly enjoy visiting the properties; learning about the hotels and the local areas; and working with a great bunch of hoteliers that really do believe in great hospitality.

This week marked a landmark for me. I can now proudly say that I have visited all of the current members in the collection – in England, Wales and Scotland. No easy task, and one that may not have been completed by many others (if any). Thousands of miles, but each and every one worth it, when at the end is a stunning Pride of Britain hotel member.

Pride of Britain Hotels is a collection of (never more than) 50 independent, mostly family-owned hotels in some of the most beautiful locations around the British Isles. Each has its own distinctive style and character, and all are run by people with a passion for great hospitality.

I genuinely believe that the Pride of Britain brand is more widely known now through my gentle persuasion and commitment, and I am passionate about growing the awareness further to help our members.

Should you not have stumbled upon this collection, I will forgive you, but waste no time in checking out the beautiful properties on offer https://www.prideofbritainhotels.com/

Do I have a favourite?….. I couldn’t possibly say! ;o)

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It’s the little things in life (or a room) that matter….

Whether it be for work or pleasure, I have spent many nights’ away at B&B’s and hotels all over the UK in last 12 months. I get used to being away from MAUN HQ, and have most things I could need in my overnight bag. I’m never without my phone charger, spare clothes to cover most occasions, or
my shoe shining kit – all just some of my stay-away-from-home essentials.Although I plan and prepare, one thing I have noticed during my visits, is the difference in bedroom designs and amenities offered in the rooms. It makes me wonder whether the designers, or even the owners/proprietors stay over at the establishments and experience it as a guest? Perhaps only then would they fully understand the true feedback of a guest stay, and the possible need for some simple solutions…..

  • How about a kettle that actually fits under a tap, so it can be filled easily. Or even a plug near the tea/coffee tray so it doesn’t mean backwards and forwards to the cups with hot water.
  • What about a plug socket next to the bed? People with Apple devices will appreciate the need to charge your phone on a regular basis (overnight) to maintain enough battery power for the next day. 
  • Bath towels big enough to do a proper wrap-around of your body (I could understand this would have been a bigger issue for the old ‘larger’ Stu, but surely the slimmer, leaner Stu should not have issues?).

On a positive note – I’m easily pleased. If I am welcomed to a room that offers fresh milk as standard (for a nice MAUNing cuppa) – that’s always a bonus! I’m sure I’m not the only one that hates the milk in the ‘jiggers’.
I once stayed over at my parents house, and offered them (cheeky) feedback of how to make my ‘business’ stay there more enjoyable. Needless to say to say they took all my comments on board and made changes for my next stay the following week! Admittedly the rate offered there was much more preferential than other establishments I have stayed at this year!! Haha.

What are the things that you like/dislike the most when you stay away from home?
Who gets it right in your opinion? Do tell…. 


A month of shows!

July has been a very busy month for me – working away with Pride of Britain Hotels – manning the exhibition stand at The Hampton Court & Tatton Park Flower Shows. It has certainly been fun!

Long days, and on my feet from early until late – but really rewarding to meet so many great people – both visitors to the stand and also the co-exhibitors. There was so much to see and do for visitors, and so much for everyone to spend their hard earned pennies on in the Country Living Pavillion where I was situated.

I came away with a new housey items from my friends Rimsky & Vilija at So Cosy and had a great laugh with Lauren and her team from Country Living. I couldn’t wait to get home after the show though – not only to see Kaylie (obviously!)… but also to tuck into the Cheddar and Dark Chocolate Cheese from The Truckle Cheese Company. Delicious! I can also heavily recommend the Heck Sausages too for your BBQ this year!

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It’s been a blast – and I look forward to working with the PoB Hotel members again in late August when we visit the Burghley Horse Trials to exhibit (see you there if you are attending!).


End of an era…

Over four years ago, I set up my own company – MAUN Consulting. At that time I concentrated on social media management – looking after a number of accounts and going out and training clients. With this came 24/7 work! Constantly looking at my phone, my iPad, my laptop. Today sees the last social media account I manage handed over to another agency.

My business is still going strong, in its fifth year of trading, but times change. I’m still very proud of the clients I work with, the work I do for them, and the value I add to their business. Long may this continue.

You’ll still catch me on social media – the odd post on Facebook, the occasional tweet – but for me a bit of ‘social media down-time’ is welcomed. It gives me a chance to concentrate more on other new projects I am currently working on – and they are just as exciting.

I’m looking forward to not having to constantly reduce things down to 140 characters!  :o)

Perhaps this mean I might actually talk to people face-to-face a bit more now!


A Stay in a Boathouse on the River Frome, Dorset

I was lucky enough recently to stay at The Priory Hotel in the beautiful market town of Wareham, Dorset, whilst completing some training with the team at the hotel. I was aware of the hotel, and have been for some time, as it’s a member of Pride of Britain Hotels.

What a truly delightful location and hotel. I was treated exceptionally well during my stay – even upgraded into the Boat House which sits on the banks of the River Frome.

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The hotel is somewhere where ‘the past is always present, and where peace and tranquility prevail’. It stands in four acres of lovingly cultivated English cottage gardens, and even has its very own ‘Pod’ in the grounds where guests can relax, and watch the boats pass by.

The only bad thing…..I was there to work! If that means that I have to return another time with Kaylie, so we can both relax and enjoy this wonderful hotel – then so be it!……


“So when do you finish?”…..

It’s that time of year when the majority of the country are on ‘wind-down’, getting ready for Christmastime; looking forward to spending time with loved ones; and more importantly leaving the daily office tasks behind them. Nearly every conversation I have had recently involves people asking me the question: “so when do you finish?”…..

When I took the decision to go self-employed nearly four years ago, I knew that I would never actually ‘finish’ work when national holidays came round – especially as some clients are in the (never sleeping) non-stop hotel industry. Do I mind? Not at all! I’m sure I will find some down-time over the festive break – and although I can’t guarantee an iPhone/email/tweet free day on the 25th, I will definitely make sure I devote plenty of time to enjoy this special time of year.

Wishing you all a very relaxing, enjoyable and safe Christmas.

Thanks to all of those who will continue to work hard over the Christmas period in so many different industries – hospitality, retail, emergency services (and many more). Keep up the good work folks. All the best for 2015!

Merry Christmas