The Hotelier Edit: Josh Chadwick, General Manager of The Tawny
Nestled amidst the picturesque countryside of Staffordshire, The Tawny Hotel stands as an idyllic escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With its charming cottages, treehouses, and serene spa, The Tawny offers a haven of tranquillity and indulgence, inviting guests to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature and savour the simple pleasures of life.
The team speak with Josh Chadwick, their General Manager, a hotelier with a passion for creating memorable experiences for his guests. Through our interview with Josh, we'll uncover the secrets behind The Tawny's success, explore its commitment to sustainability, and discover the unique offerings that make it a destination for travellers seeking rejuvenation and relaxation.
Tell us about yourself and your experience in the hospitality industry
It was just by chance I got into the industry really! I was 16 and looking for my first job, which is when my aunty who worked in a hotel told me they were looking for some housekeepers. I got the job, and instantly fell in love with the industry! Before I knew it, I was working in several departments, and getting ready to complete my degree in International Hospitality Management. Over the last few years I have managed to work in some great award winning hotels, and even run the events department at a Theme Park!
What does a great customer experience look like at your hotel, and what makes it unique?
For us at The Tawny it’s about going above and beyond and listening to our guests. The team are well drilled now, to ensure that if there is a special occasion such as a Birthday or Anniversary, we make it a stay to remember, even if the guest might have not told, we always try to find out! Our porters are a great asset and are often helping guests in need, whether it be their car has broken down or we need to drop them off at The Train Station because the taxi service hasn’t turned up.
What inspired the unique concept of having accommodation spread across boathouses, treehouses, shepherd's huts, and more?
Our owners and directors, didn’t want your generic hotel, especially for this site. The site we are occupied on is the Consall Hall Estate which has so much heritage and history. They wanted the guests to be within the estate, not just looking at it. There are quite a few hotels abroad that have this style concept, and they wanted to be the first in the UK. No stuffy corridors, just wonderful views and your own private spa bath to soak up the nature.
What are some of the most popular activities and amenities that guests enjoy at The Tawny?
We have quite a variety now, which include free Bike Hire, our Folley Trail, Yoga, The Heated Outdoor Pool and seasonal events just to name a few!
How do you ensure that The Tawny is a sustainable and environmentally friendly hotel?
Sustainability is key for us, and we have just invested a lot of money into Solar and Batteries which are almost complete. This will reduce our carbon footprint significantly and make us an A++ accredited business. We also work closely with local suppliers, recycle as much of our waste as possible and ensure our suppliers also have a sustainability policy.
Can you tell me more about the mindful experiences that The Tawny offers, such as stargazing and Kombucha workshops?
Absolutely! We like to offer a range of seasonal activities for our guests, that encapsulate wellbeing and the estate around us. Our Kombucha workshop teaches you the benefit of the brew, along with how to make it at home and you even make your own during the workshop. Out stargazing and foraging classes are also very popular allowing guests to increase their knowledge of our universe or the wild herbs and vegetables which can be found around our wonderful country.
How do you ensure that each accommodation type is comfortable and luxurious while still maintaining its unique character?
We use the best suppliers for all of our elements. Our wonderful Hypnos Beds ensure a great night's sleep, and our choice of pillows which you can pick before arrival, to bespoke comfort to your stay. We put in as much as we can in the rooms to ensure nothing Is forgotten, whether this be robes, our Land and Water Toiletries, games, books and more!
What is the greatest piece of business advice you’ve ever received?
That a great culture, will help achieve all business goals. Ensuring you have a well-motivated and happy team, creates great customer service which in turn ensures you have repeat guests and great occupancy. Our team always go above and beyond for our guests, and our reviews often show it!
What is your approach to recruitment and retention of staff?
We are a National Living Wage Foundation employer, so our basic rate of pay is always above what the government sets out. Our Tawny Academy also allows our staff to take a number of free courses, to expand their learning, and our staff social events are always a success too!
What do you think are some of the major opportunities and challenges in the hotel market this year?
The cost of living crisis is of course still our number one challenge. Inflation is high, our suppliers have increased prices and the interest rates are also largely impactful. Businesses are having to ensure that they can pay their bills, and try and attract customers who are already watching their purse strings. It is sad to see some of the businesses disappearing each week.
I would say there are opportunities though. With all the doom and gloom we see, guests are still searching for escapism. Guests are looking to improve their health and wellbeing, so we try to provide tools and stays that suit this wherever we can.
If your hotel had a theme song, what would it be and why?
Ooo a tough one, it would be ‘Be our Guest’. Fin, Thrilling and Legendary! The lyrics are exactly what we do here at The Tawny, and I can already see our team breaking into song and dance with this song, including myself!
Why do you attend the Independent Hotel Show London?
It is not only a great way of meeting new suppliers, it is also a great way of catching up with the ones you use, as we all know how busy everyone is. There are always insightful talks to expand knowledge and it ensures that you are in the know of what is going on in the industry.