A blog post by Jonathan Sloan, Managing Director, recalling a visit to Cliveden House – a real trip down memory lane to.
Everybody has a bucket list and I just managed to complete a big, massive tick off my list this month.
25 years ago, with a dream of growing up to be a General Manager of a swanky five star hotel, I secured my first job in the hospitality industry, as a Junior Footman at Cliveden in Berkshire – www.clivedenhouse.co.uk. Cliveden is the only Stately Home hotel in the UK and is steeped in history, power, politics and scandal but more on that later!
I worked at Cliveden every summer for five years as a Junior Footman based on the front desk of the hotel, ensuring guests were greeted, cars parked, luggage delivered, shoes cleaned and papers delivered in the morning, along with anything else that the guests needed during their stay. A great introduction to the industry, how service should really be delivered and the tips were amazing too, particularly for a hard up student.
25 years later and a charity auction got the better of me and I bid for an overnight stay at Cliveden, as it felt the right time to go back and I had promised my wife we would go one day. To be able to drive up the impressive drive and be greeted at the door, instead of doing the greeting, was surreal but also such a treat. I had dreamt of this stay for so many years and Cliveden didn’t disappoint. The service, style and glamour of the House hasn’t changed in 25 years, but refurbished rooms, a new head chef and a few simple changes have improved the experience even more.
To be able to have a drink in the library before dinner overlooking the grounds and River Thames, use all the facilities and actually stay overnight in one of the rooms (we were in Sutherland, in the East Wing – amazing refurbed room), was an incredible experience. The weather was kind too, so most of the afternoon was spent by the outdoor pool, which is famous for the antics of Christine Keller during the Profumo scandal – www.clivedenhouse.co.uk/hotel/profumo-affair.aspx – which happened at the height of the Cold War.
Testament to Cliveden, as a few of the staff that I worked with 25 years ago are still there, including one of the Senior Footman I worked with, Michael, who is now the House Manager and still enjoying life at Cliveden as he did when we worked together all that time ago. Will I be waiting another 25 years to go back and stay at Cliveden – absolutely not and we are already looking for any excuse to return.