While New Year is typically a time to look to the future, we thought it would be fun to look back on 2018 and our first full year at Barend and do a little recap of our journey to 2019…
We started off 2018 feeling very motivated! We went through every lodge with a Visit Scotland representative for our grading and learnt a lot. He was able to give us a better idea of why certain aspects of properties achieve a higher grade than others, for example a 3 Star lodge may have a 4 Star kitchen and bathroom but has just missed out on the 4 Star grade overall due to another area. Having all of this explained has helped us to differentiate between lodges and encouraged us to introduce our new price bands for 2019 (see our blog post on that here).
February may have brought ‘The Beast from the East’ but we made sure our guests were kept cosy with all new duvets and pillows for each lodge! We know everyone is different so each bed now has a choice between ‘firm’ and ‘soft’ pillows.
It was full steam ahead with lodge renovations in March! Lodges 16 & 21 had brand new kitchens fitted and lodge 13 continued the trend of installing a walk in shower in the main bathroom. One of our goals in 2018 was to keep people updated when lodges have work done and there are plenty of upgrades pending for 2019 so watch this space!
Spring brought some lovely fresh linen! April saw us switch suppliers and upgrade to a higher quality linen and some bigger, fluffier towels and the feedback has been fantastic! We also introduced a little welcome bag of local goodies as a treat to the guests of our 4 Star properties.
In May we were finally able to launch our new website! We wanted to make it easier for people to find which property best suits their needs and provide as much information as we can to help make the decision. We have been keeping people up to date on special offers and what has been happening at Barend via this blog – feel free to suggest any further blog post topics you would like to see! The website is still a work in progress – we are working on our FAQ section and adding more information on accessibility to each lodge for those with mobility concerns.
In June we swapped genders! Work continued on upgrading the swimming pool and surrounding areas, the female and male changing rooms were swapped over, new floors laid, new sinks and toilets fitted and new benches and lockers installed. We also began our partnership with Craigieknowes Golf Course at Kippford, offering our guests free golf for the duration of their stay.
July was very hot! Those staying at Barend certainly made the most of the tropical temperatures, Sandyhills beach resembled the Costa del Sol (they don’t call it the Costa Del Solway for nothing) and reception sold out of ice cream! The swimming pool provided some much needed relief from the heat and the introduction of our Aquafit class proved to be a very popular way of getting some exercise while staying cool.
Understandably, the housekeeping staff weren’t too keen on the raised temperatures and even reception staff cracked and attempted to work outside on several occasions, to varying degrees of success (and sunburn)! Regardless of this, we have our fingers crossed for some summer sun again this year!
August was busy! We don’t have a whole lot to say about August other than it being a blur of arrivals, departures and changeovers – we are expecting the same this year so if you are thinking about booking a summer break and have an idea of which lodge you would like – don’t hesitate!
In September we had a bit of a makeover (on paper)! September saw the arrival of our new welcome folders, information booklets, welcome envelopes and feedback forms. We are thrilled with how these came out and hope anyone who has stayed at Barend before will agree that everything is looking a lot more modern and fresh! Next on the list are some new leaflets for us to send out to those not big on internet use and for our guests to take with them.
In October we helped save lives (hopefully)! After being approached by our local First Responders group we fitted a wall mounted defibrillator machine outside the swimming pool and bar.
November saw more lodge upgrades! While we took advantage of the November lull to do some carpet cleaning and kitchen and bathroom deep cleans, some of our lodges underwent some bigger projects! Lodge 41 had a lovely new bathroom fitted (complete with walk in shower) and lodge 29 had new flooring fitted throughout, a new suite and a brand new kitchen. Some projects already planned in for 2019 include; new heating systems, new bathrooms and new en-suite bathrooms with showers for upstairs – keep an eye on the blog and Facebook for updates.
In December we had a real life makeover! Before the Christmas and New Year madness began, we were hard at work giving reception some TLC, new carpets and a lovely new desk (reception staff were relived to hear they weren’t also being traded in for a newer model)! The swimming pool was closed for a few weeks to facilitate the installation of the new showers and changing room doors and new drainage and pool surround and a fresh lick of paint! There are still some jobs planned in 2019 but as these don’t require the draining and refilling of the pool, we hope to keep any further disruption to a minimum.
Thank you to everyone who made 2018 such a fantastic year for us, we can’t wait to get stuck in to 2019 – Happy New Year!