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a blog by Chris Barrow


It can just take one person to make or break your business and very often that person is answering your phone and/or manning your front desk. Take my check in experience at The Mount Somerset Hotel – 21:30 last night I arrive after an evening presentation to Lloyds/TSB customers in nearby Taunton. It’s dark and one of those country house hotels that doesn’t appear on the SatNav and is approached along windy lanes under a moonlit sky. I pull up outside the front door and walk in with my bags. In the entrance hall is an attractive young girl at a desk in the main reception area, a winding staircase behind her. “Mr Barrow?” she asks and when I confirm she adds,’I was getting a little worried that you had been delayed.” Already I know I’m in the right place – in the first millionth of a second she has popped herself into the “competent and cares” box. She escorts me to my room – a long walk to the rear of this Regency pile – and engages me in conversation all the way, asking how my day was, whether I would like a wake up call, newspaper, breakfast timings. I ask what time the hotel doors normally open and, on hearing 07:00, ask if they could be opened at 06:30 so I can take my morning run. “No problem, leave that with me.” I ask for an iron and ironing board. “No problem.” She (Kaley I now discover) asks if I would like early coffee or tea – and a few minutes later she arrives with an individual tea tray set out for the morning. Having delivered the iron and board herself, she wishes me a pleasant evening. This morning I return from my jog to find her sat there, dressed well, made up, hair done – and ready for another day of outstanding customer service. An ambassador for her employers – I hope they know. Kaley, you are a lynchpin and you deserve to go far. All this and a lovely environment (my room was superb and this morning I relished a monsoon shower after my run) – for £120. This morning I asked for porridge (not on the menu). “No problem” replied my waitress. Get here for a weekend break.

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