A shining star within the Lake District Hotels family and the friendly face of our Skiddaw Hotel, 2020 officially marks 20 years since Maria Quigley, our Skiddaw Hotel Sales Manager, joined the LDH clan.
Well known for her welcoming nature, warm spirit and commending efforts when it comes to raising money for our past and present Charities of the Year, Maria is a figure who is widely respected across the board and the past 20 years have been somewhat an adventure for the now Sales Manager.
From starting work with the company part-time at the Loft Nightclub to working as a sous chef, when it comes to experience within the hospitality industry, Maria has certainly been a jack of all trades.
Now recognised by locals and visitors alike, a trip to the Skiddaw is not complete without seeing Maria’s signature smile; and if you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Maria, get to know her a bit more with us…
Get to know Maria…
- What date did you start working for the company?
I started working part-time in the Loft Nightclub on the bar when it first opened back in November 2000. I then moved to work at the Skiddaw Hotel in December 2001 and I’ve been here ever since.
- What was your first job with the company?
I like to consider my first main role within the company as Sous Chef at the Skiddaw Hotel – the role I accepted when I moved to the hotel.
- How have you progressed over the years?
After working in the kitchen I have progressed to front of house roles. At first I was on reception after having my daughter, and from there I have advanced to Sales/Duty Manager which is the role I do now.
- What is your favourite thing about your job?
My favourite thing about my job role is the flexibility – every day is different and each day brings rewarding challenges.
Another excellent aspect of my job is being able to work with longstanding staff members who have been here for a long time such as Jan, Johnny, Kevin and Nash. It’s true that we have become a little Skiddaw family!
- From all your roles, which did you enjoy the most and why?
I am enjoying the role that I am in. I like organising future bookings for functions and getting coach tours booked in.
I also enjoy the fact that I can help out on reception, in the bar and in the restaurant when needed too. It means I get to speak to all my different colleagues and get the opportunity to meet customers across every aspect of the hotel.
- What are a few of your favourite memories from the past 20 years with the group?
I have many different memories over the past years. Despite it not being the brightest of circumstances, one of my favourite memories was being able to help during the Keswick floods in 2005 and 2009.
I got the opportunity to work in the evacuation centre and it felt very rewarding to do my bit for others who were much less fortunate in those dreadful conditions.
- Are there any special guests who are particularly memorable to you?
Of course! There are quite a few memorable guests including Mr & Mrs Lewis, Mr & Mrs Smith, Mrs Lille who comes on every Ulsterbus trip and always likes a certain room, as well as Mr Rhodes who comes to stay with us every Christmas.
- If you could do any other roll within the group, what would it be and why?
To be perfectly honest, I am very happy where I am and wouldn’t want to trade roles with anyone!
- What attracted you to work for Lake District Hotels?
The previous hotel I was working at was a much quieter establishment and more of a fine-dining hotel which I did enjoy working at, however I was ready for a new challenge.
I knew the Skiddaw Hotel was a much-loved hotel by both locals and tourists and I liked the idea of working in a hugely sociable environment. The hotel had that charm about it that just pulled me toward it – a charm we still have to this very day!
- What has kept you with the company for so long?
Having the chance to progress through different roles during my time here is definitely a huge contributing factor toward my longevity with the group. By changing up my different career roles it has kept me motivated.
I was cooking in the kitchen for 7 years, then worked on reception after my 2nd child where I began to take on more responsibilities which ultimately led to my promotion to Sales Manager. I have been doing that role ever since.
- What do you consider your biggest achievement has been?
My biggest achievement was definitely being promoted to the Skiddaw Hotel Sales Manager, as my previous experience had been working in kitchens which I had done since I was 18 years old.
This just demonstrates the valuable skills that the group have equipped me with and the exciting experiences I was given to get me to this point.
- Can you give any examples of things you have influenced over the past 20 years?
I definitely think that I have influenced my own career development by being proactive in my roles and trying to adapt with the industry. I always try to learn new ways and I think that it has really paid off.
- Who has been your biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspirations have definitely been all my General Managers throughout my working career who have each motivated me to be the best version of myself I can be at work.
- How do you feel Keswick has changed over the past 20 years?
Keswick has definitely changed over the last 20 years. First of all, when I first came here you could drive and park in front of the hotel which you certainly can’t now!
I also think trends have changed to on how people socialise with one another, which you get to see with working in this sector. I’m especially excited to see how these trends adapt furthermore, now we have a beautifully refurbished hotel, with so much to offer to guests.
- Where do you see yourself in another 20 years?
It’s hard to say… but whatever I’m doing, I hope I’m happy!
A new Skiddaw Hotel experience
2020 is not only an important year for the Skiddaw Hotel as it’s Maria’s 20th anniversary, but it is also the year we completed an amazing ground-floor refurbishment!
Our stunning Skiddaw makeover has recently come to an end, providing guests with a comfortable, yet opulent environment to completely unwind in. Step indoors to an elegantly transformed interior which has stylishly modernised the look of the hotel with a more contemporary demeanour.
Based in the heart of Keswick’s Market Square, we are now offering a delectable savoury Afternoon Tea for two, an impressive selection of new cocktails and we’ve even recruited a new head chef, hot off the press, to bring you a unique dining experience in our brand-new restaurant – Brasserie 31.
Stay at the new Skiddaw Hotel
If you would like to meet our hospitable Sales Manager, Maria, and discover the style and charm of our newly refurbished hotel, book and come stay with us.
We’re at the heart of all the action should you wish to take to the fells or explore the stores. Or if relaxation is what you seek, watch the world go by in our airy conservatory or put your feet up by the fire.
Maria and the team guarantee to make your Lake District retreat a memorable one.
Stay on a Dinner, Bed & Breakfast basis from as little as £140 per room.