There are times in life where the words, “Thank you,” are so insignificant the ability to convey the level of gratitude I have for the people who have supported me over the past month.
Today is one of those days.
On Friday night I was very fortunate to attend the Highland and Islands Hospitality Awards.
I was one of the three shortlisted for the Hospitality Hero Award, which was a great honour for me.
I attended this event with my boys, my partner Iain and my amazing son Luke.
I would like to first thank you all for your kind support and generosity in the build-up to the Hospitality Hero Awards.
I was overwhelmed with the social media response I had and the amazing reviews and wonderful letters of support I received from friends, family, vendors, suppliers and of course my clients who have been to the Lodge.
Over the past 35 years in the service industry, I have been on a journey of self-discovery. I was always trying to figure out what I want in life and where I would add the most value in my working world, it came as no surprise to me, as I celebrate 18 years of hard work and dedication here at The Lodge on Loch Goil, that I have been on the right path.
When you’re young, the journey of self-discovery can be quite confronting, especially when all arrows begin to point in the opposite direction to the way you’re going.
It can also lead to making some really tough calls which I have done over the years, but! this year even more so.
My mum has been watching my amazing son Luke for over 14 years of his life, so that I can work and run every event at The Lodge with no interruptions.
In June this year my mum was diagnosed with terminal cancer, but very suddenly passed away after just 10 days of being diagnosed, which was totally devastating for me and my family.
But I carried on working right through and never had a day off work, I even surprised myself that my commitment to this industry is second to none…
As you can imagine I’ve made countless memories throughout my 18 years here at The Lodge.
Every wedding is different, people having different needs and aspirations on what they wish to receive on the most important day of their life.
I just want to express how much I appreciate over the years, the wonderful reviews and cards of Thanks that I have received.
I would like to share with you some of the amazing letters of support which has totally blown me away.
Words are powerless to express my gratitude.
You’re all seriously amazing human beings…
My name is Amy Grantham, and I am writing on behalf of my husband (Graham Nash) and myself to ask that you please consider Alice Gill to win the Tourism & Hospitality Hero Award for this year. It is hard to condense into words all that Alice does to make a guest feel special at the Lodge.
Graham and I were fortunate enough to experience her incredible gift for hospitality firsthand this summer. I had booked us into the Treehouse restaurant at the Lodge on Loch Goil for my birthday which was August 10th. At that time I thought that we would simply be having a special dinner there and that would be that. My first interactions with Alice were via email and it was clear straight away that Alice brings warmth into every exchange she has with a potential guest to the Lodge. She went above and beyond to make sure that all of our dietary requirements would be met, and put so much care and consideration into making sure that my birthday dinner would be a night to remember.
As it turned out we ended up needing lodging on our stay and Alice came through for us in the most remarkable way! She was so incredibly helpful in talking with me, working with our travel plans, and really going the extra mile to make sure that we not only had a place to stay when we needed it (and at the last minute too) but that we felt welcome and at home the entire time we were there.
From our arrival at the Lodge, we were warmly greeted by Alice and her staff. Both of us felt instantly at ease the minute we set foot in the Lodge. Alice had truly put so much care into making sure that our stay would be a memorable one and indeed it was! Within the first hour we were there Alice had a high tea set up for us and made us feel like we were home. No small feat when you have two weary traveler’s who are so far from home.
Each day that we woke up at the Lodge we felt like we had a centre, a home. That is all down to Alice who checked in with us to see if we might need anything special for our days, gave us so much wonderful information about the area, arranged a boat tour of the loch (!!!), showed us a lovely spot for walking through the forest, and even helped to arrange a tour of Mount Stuart House for us that was as memorable as it was mind-blowing!
We loved that Alice was there when we needed her, and yet we always felt that we had space to explore and reflect on our own each day. I must tell you that Alice was so incredible that on the very last day when we were set to leave I almost broke down in tears at the thought of leaving what felt like a new friend behind. That is how great she is at what she does. Every single person who visits the Lodge feels like a part of a family and feels like an old friend.
I hope you will consider Alice for the award. In our eyes she is so deserving of this for all of the hard work, love, care, and concern that she pours into every day, and into the experiences of each and every person who visits her at the Lodge. You come as a traveler, but you leave as a friend.
Thank you very much for your time.
All the best,
Amy and Graham
Please find below our reasons why we feel that Alice Gill of The Lodge on Loch Goil should be awarded the Tourism and Hospitality Hero Award 2018.
‘Alice is exactly what every wedding venue should have. The time and dedication that she puts into every wedding is amazing. She makes all weddings seem totally unique and is always available for whatever you need on your wedding day.
As registrars we have been visiting The Lodge for over 10 years, we all find it an absolute joy to work with Alice at the ceremonies, she makes us all feel like part of her team as soon as we arrive at the venue.
We have seen her help brides with their hair, sew up dresses, take photos and even act as a witness for many elopement weddings. She always has everything under control and puts the wedding parties at ease and helps make the day stress free.
We believe Alice should win this award because we have never met someone like her before, she is exceptional at all parts of her job.’
(Registrar and Assistant Registrars of Argyll and Bute Council)
We are delighted to hear that our wonderful wedding planner Alice Gill has been nominated and shortlisted for the Tourism & Hospitality Hero Award 2018.
My husband and I would love to share our personal experience why Alice is already the winner in our book.
Despite this being our only wedding to use as a comparison, we both come from a hospitality and customer service background, and know how much work and attention to detail is required during the months leading up to a wedding.
I am Dutch, and not a native English speaker. Due to the language barrier, something was lost in translation on my end which caused some commotion on the wedding day itself. Alice was the first one to notice and within an hour she had come up with a solution, fixed it and literally saved our wedding day. Her emergency plan B was even better than our original plan A.
The wedding went off without a hitch. Because of Alice and the wonderful staff at The Lodge on Loch Goil we had a fairytale wedding that we will never forget.
Attached is the photograph of Alice showing her solution to us both. As you can see the photograph captures her dedication beautifully.
We hope you will take our experience with Alice into account when making your decision.
Thank you in advance for your time,
Jurgen & Andrew Gambill – Bruijnius
I saw that Alice Gill of The Lodge, Loch Goil, had been nominated and subsequently shortlisted for your Tourism and Hospitality Award.
I felt compelled to write to you in support of Alice and to demonstrate why I believe her to be a more than worthy winner.
I first met Alice back in 2009 when my partner and I were planning our wedding. We found “The Lodge” and thought it looked like a quirky venue with some character but we hadn’t banked on what we would find in Alice.
From the moment we met, we felt at ease and quickly knew that she would endeavour to help us achieve absolutely everything that we wanted from our special day.
Her absolute devotion to what she does can’t really be explained in words…you almost have to witness it to truly understand the depth of it.
When it comes to weddings, partnerships, vow renewals – whatever the occasion – She treats every couple and their guests like royalty…whilst remembering each individual has their own likes, dislikes and needs. She made our day absolutely exceptional and, despite some challenges, didn’t allow an ounce of stress to come into the equation for us or any of our guests…it felt flawless.
The Lodge has grown, over the years we have know Alice, into a venue that can offer so much more than weddings. It is because of this that we have been regular visitors. We particularly enjoy lunch and dinner where Alice works with her Chef to source the best local food, making The Lodge a fantastic place to sample some very creative, Scottish meals.
Having become regulars, Alice now treats us as friends and we have become even more aware of the long hours she commits to being the best in the business. She works exceptionally hard to build a committed team at The Lodge, too. She sets very high standards for them but she gives them the training and mentoring required to meet them whilst demonstrating exactly what she wants through her own actions.
As a result, her team show her a great amount of respect and, when she isn’t around, they all speak very highly of her. Always a true accolade when you are the boss!
But, beyond that, Alice is a tremendous advocate for the local area and actively promotes other local businesses and events to her guests to help them make the most of their time in the area but also to garner support for other business owners and their staff. She creates relationships with other fantastic businesses and only recommends those that she knows will provide a quality service or experience.
Alice has been in the business for more years than I am sure she will care to remember and her experience really does show. Her attention to detail and ability to shine and smile through every single moment – happy, sad or downright disastrous – is infectious. She makes things happen and rainbows appear before anyone even notices it had been raining.
She is simply wonderful as a person, too and I genuinely cannot think of someone more deserving of the recognition this award would bring…she truly is a hero.
Thank you for your time and I wish you every success for the event when it comes around.
Dear Alice and Team,
We wanted to send you a hart felt thank you for making our wedding with you so special.
We really appreciate all the hard work and the be hind the scenes duties that you did to make every thing run smoothly.
We and all our guests were blown away with the venue and really enjoyed the exceptional food and hospitality that was shown to us. You really did take care of us all and the little ones too!
Our wedding couldn’t have been as special as it was, if it was not for all your help and assistance! You really did all go above and beyond our expectations .
Thank you so much for helping me set up the arts and craft room and the tree house in the way I wanted to. For you to have been so accommodating to all our requirements made our wedding day and our stay with you so personal and perfect. We really couldn’t have wished for any thing more!
We will always cherish our memories of our wedding day and it could not have been as perfect if it was not for all of you!
Thank you again!
Amanda and Gary Knight.
I read the award categories/nominations on your website yesterday and noticed that someone who hosted us in June, Alice Gill of The Lodge Loch Goil is nominated for “Tourism and Hospitality Hero”. I wanted to share my appreciation with you.
I live in Toronto, Canada. In June this year, I traveled to Glasgow for my mother’s 80th birthday. To celebrate, I booked afternoon tea at The Lodge for myself, mum, sister and niece. We arrived to be met by Alice, who had a gift for my mum in one hand, a teapot in the other and a big smile on her face. We got settled into the beautiful treehouse, and had the most wonderful afternoon, Alice going all out to make sure everything was perfect.
I found out during the course of our afternoon that Alice had been told that morning that her own mother had days to live. We would have completely understood if The Lodge had called to cancel us due to these tragic circumstances, but they did not. Alice did not want to let us down.
If this is not a hospitality hero, I don’t know what is.
I hope that my story is considered with regard to Alice’s nomination. We will never forget this beautiful day, and Alice’s welcome during her own personal difficulties.
Diane Scaramuzza, Toronto, Canada.
All blog images © fotogenic