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For Helen, working at our New Forest hotel is so much more than a job – it’s a profession. Her humour and love for her role as Head of Housekeeping are infectious – read our interview and you’ll feel like you know her already…

  1. Hi Helen, thanks for taking some time out to talk to us. Let’s start with a question everyone will want to know the answer to – how long have you been at The Bell?

Hi! Well, I’ve been working at the hotel coming up for 6 years this year.

2. Can you tell us a little bit about an average shift?

I arrive at 7am and organise the listings of the rooms for my girls. It’s important that I do this so they know who is staying and departing in each room. I then check the rooms that haven’t been used to make sure they don’t need addressing – after this I usually hold a team meeting. As the girls are working on each room, I normally carry out tasks such as descaling kettles, maintaining in-house laundry – this includes dressing gowns for rooms, filling up cupboards with clean laundry, ordering, stocking up cupboards and deep cleaning rooms that are not in use. After all that, I prepare staff rotas! When all the rooms are cleaned, I sign them off to make sure they are to our standards, check the corridors are clear of dirty laundry and make sure everything is away in its proper place. Then? I’m ready to get going the next day!

3. We have a lot of choice on the menu. Working here means you must get sneak peeks in the kitchen, so do tell us – what is your favourite dish?

Without a doubt the butter roasted fillet of Chalk Steam trout, salsify & samphire, new potatoes and salsa verde.

  1. You are clearly passionate about what you do every day and where you live. Can you tell us what draws you to the New Forest?

It’s probably the same reason why all our guests decide to join us out here; the peaceful atmosphere and the beautiful surroundings you can only find in this part of Hampshire. Not to mention the wide-open spaces for the animals – I have a real love for all the animals and love nothing more than seeing them roam before or after work!

  1. Out of these New Forest wild animals, which would you choose to be and why? Pig, Cow, Horse, Sheep, Duck, Hare or Pheasant.

That’s easy – a horse. They get so much freedom and can spend their days roaming the land.

6. We know this is a difficult one, but what is your favourite work memory?

I couldn’t choose one! I have many happy memories of my time at The Bell, and I am looking forward to making many more. I have to say that being involved in our wedding showcase was very special – I was able show off my pride of our lovely rooms during the tours and I love seeing all the couples prior to their special day.

  1. Helen, you’re a real ray of sunshine. For guests who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting you yet, can you tell us a little more about you? Why after all these years do you still love your job?

That’s easy. On my very first day, owner Robert welcomed me personally and almost six years later I still remember how nice that felt – that genuine personal touch. Working for a privately-owned business makes all the difference; I felt the warmth of The Bell the moment I walked in and the friendliness of all the staff is second to none. I just knew this was the place I wanted to work! I have always loved my job and have worked in hospitality all my working life. I believe everyone who comes through our door at The Bell Inn is special and I have amazing job because all I have to do is be nice to our lovely guests. My team are all great and work very hard, I like to make the working day a happy one so we always have plenty of giggles in our lunch break. I spoke to a guest recently and they asked me something similar – I had to be honest, for me this is so much more than a job, it’s a profession.

Thank you for talking to us Helen. If you want to experience the high standards of our accommodation in the New Forest for yourself, we have a room with your name on it.

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