When you step into Rufflets or leave it, one of the first and last faces that you might encounter belong to a new addition of the team. Katie Steven joined Rufflets at the beginning of June directly from University. We caught up with Katie just before she graduated to find out what led her to a career in the hospitality industry.
Tell us what attracted you to the hotel industry?
My initial attraction started at a young age. Since I was 8 years old my mum ran a Bed and Breakfast from our family home. I enjoyed meeting visitors travelling to the Kingdom of Fife from all over the world and many became regular guests When I was 13 I got my first part-time role at a local members golf club. I enjoyed learning about each member and their individual requirements and this was when I became passionate about wanting a future in the hospitality industry.
Did you study hospitality or hotel management?
Yes. I studied International Hospitality Management at Robert Gordon University. My 4 years at RGU gave me endless opportunities which I feel I fully made the most of including a period of study overseas at Cape Breton University in Nova Scotia, Canada which was an incredible life experience.
Why did you choose that programme?
I chose to study Hospitality Management to learn more about the business aspects behind the industry. My favourite module over the 4 years was Hotel Operations Management which gave me first hand insight into the functional aspects of many different hotels, small and large.
Have you worked in the hotel industry prior to joining Rufflets?
I helped my mum in her Bed and Breakfast when I was younger and I was really fortunate to do my first work experience at the 5* Marcliffe Hotel and Spa in Pitfodels, Aberdeen. I was also selected for a university placement as a butler at The Carnegie Club, Skibo Castle which taught me a tremendous amount about service and team work. Rufflets is the first hotel I have worked in.
How did the opportunity at Rufflets arise?
Being on my door step I was always fascinated by Rufflets- the beautiful turreted Country House mansion set in my favourite part of the world, it seemed too good to be true when I saw a job vacancy advertised. After an extremely lengthy and friendly chat with Stephen Owen (General Manager) I knew I would feel comfortable and happy as part of the team at Rufflets. I was over the moon to be offered a position as Front Office Administrator straight out of university.
Can you sum up your role in 50 words?
Interesting. Exciting. Rewarding. My role as Front Office Administrator entails a variety of tasks such as greeting guests, taking reservations for accommodation, Afternoon Tea and Seasons Restaurant. I enjoy making sure guests feel at ease and make the most of their stay and time in St Andrews.
What elements of your new role are you enjoying most?
I enjoy coming to work every day knowing that I will be meeting guests from all over the world with wonderful stories and exciting plans. I am grateful to have joined a fantastic team which translates into more effective communication between departments to ensure a seamless service for guests.
If a guest has 48 hours in St Andrews what would you recommend they see?
I am extremely proud to live in such a beautiful part of the world and trying to condense all the amazing things Fife has to offer into 48 hours is always tricky.
As a huge foodie I have to recommend visitors begin with a big appetite. As a local my ideal 48 hours would begin with a trip to Balgove Larder for brunch – this is one of my favourite one stop spots. It has a flower shed, deli, shop, cafe and steak barn and is a perfect out of town venue to meet up with friends, find some wonderful gifts and eat delicious local food from all over the Kingdom. Assuming the weather is in their favour I would then take a drive into town and to The Old Course, however if like me the thought of 4 hours on a golf course doesn’t take your fancy then a swift 18 holes at the Himalayas Putting Green is fun for all. After a competitive game on the green, a trip to Janettas Gelateria is well deserved and is a must when in St Andrews, from here a walk down to the Harbour pier and East Sands Beach past The Cathedral ruins showcases some of the town’s most beautiful scenes. For the evening, I highly recommend a hidden gem called Little Italy (book in advance), followed by cocktails at The Adamson Bar. After a well-earned peaceful and luxurious rest at Rufflets I would recommend a trip to Cambo Estate, especially in Spring when the snowdrops are in bloom. For lunch my all-time favourite is the Cheesy Toastie Shack at Kingsbarns Beach which serves the ultimate Mac n Cheese Toastie! To work that off, a trip down to the stunning East Neuk of Fife stopping at Crail, Anstruther, Pittenweem, St Monans and Elie where there is endless exploring to fill more than an afternoon. Finally, to top off your trip head back to Rufflets for a fantastic meal in Seasons restaurant and enjoy a cosy night’s sleep.