Last Saturday we took the unprecedented decision to close the hotel – the first un-planned closure in our long history, but the impact of the pandemic had been felt many months prior and now as people are confined to their homes we are facing something totally new and totally different.
So much has already been said, and in fact what had may have been current yesterday has already changed today – we are having to understand and adapt to new information daily.
It has been so heartening to see how everyone connected to Rufflets are positively approaching the situation. When lives have been turned upside down in such a short time period, everyone’s understanding and patience has been very helpful to us. Some of the messages of support that we have received have been so warm and very much welcome.
Mothering Sunday is an occasion our team look forward to fondly each year, it’s an opportunity to spend time together as a family and one of our busiest on the calendar. It was with a great deal of sadness that we had to cancel afternoon teas, many of which had been booked for several months. Never a team to shy from a challenge, we were able to arrange for many afternoon teas to be collected from the hotel to spoil your mothers and grandmothers at home and for one client who was unable to leave her house, afternoon tea complete with sandwiches, home baked cakes and scones were delivered to her door.
We know that there will be a point when COVID-19 will no longer be dominating our lives and preventing our guests from returning and although there is some uncertainty when this may happen, we are focused on supporting our team and wider Rufflets’ family so that we can be positioned for when the recovery that we know will happen, arrives.
It has been a strange time for our reservations team, ordinarily tasked with handling accommodation bookings and now managing a reverse flow as international travellers first began changing or postponing travel plans. With the hotel closure at the end of last week, our team have been busy reaching out to guests holding accommodation bookings in April, and starting to look at May and June.
We understand that this is a stressful and difficult time for couples that had been planning 2020 weddings. Our events team (able to operate from home) are handing agonising conversations with couples that are forced to postpone spring and summer weddings – for many the postponement of a dream and with an ever changing scenario future planning is complicated. Most of our Spring and Summer weddings have been moved to dates in Autumn and Winter and to Spring and Summer 2021.
In the garden, while our planting schedule may have switched focus to crops that we can harvest in several months-time, there continues to be work that Phil needs to do (he can’t do it from home after all) so that when we are able to re-open, the gardens and grounds will be looking as good as ever.
Moving forward we will be keeping this blog going, and letting you know what is happening at the hotel, and for the time-being, wish you and your families all the very best.
Stephen Owen, General Manager