Why a pandemic can’t halt passion

By Tarnia Robertson, Ufford Park Woodbridge

Coronavirus has hit family-run businesses harder than ever before – but for Ufford Park, a passion to build on the Suffolk hotel’s successes was never in doubt, as I have a love for life in the hotel industry.

Published in Suffolk Director Magazine, Winter 2021|22
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Sharing Experience: Tarnia Robertson, Ufford Park

Like businesses in the hospitality industry nationwide, the coronavirus pandemic has been a difficult time for Ufford Park – although we are emerging again on track for a bright and exciting future.

Our passion for building a hotel, golf course and spa for everyone to enjoy has not been dented, with the business now instead looking to boast its highest turnover ever.

That success in the face of adversity comes down to the passion and dedication our team brings to the table every day.

Three national lockdowns only narrowly prevented us from achieving our ultimate goal of 3-Star Gold status from Quality in Tourism (QiT), while other awards have been retained. But to me, awards and accolades are not what drives our pursuit to make Ufford Park the best it can be – it is our passion for providing customers with the perfect, relaxing getaway.

Where does my passion come from?

Much of that passion comes thanks to my parents, Colin and Shirley Aldous, who opened the hotel in 1992.

Although Mum and Dad have long since retired, I have not lost sight of the family-focused ethos which makes Ufford Park such a unique place to work and stay. Staff at the hotel are treated like members of our family, with a key focus placed on both their wellbeing and progression within the company through training opportunities.

Before taking on the role of managing director, I shadowed every department in the company to help get a better feel of how they work and how their working life could be improved. That has helped us to create a happy and helpful team, always on hand to assist customers with a smile – be it at the reception, the restaurant, or on the golf course.

A shared passion

The successes are also bringing with them a boost for the environment, thanks to our united passion for making Ufford Park an eco-friendly place to stay. Water on site is provided by a reservoir, making the golf course entirely self-sufficient – while a new reed bed has been introduced as a wash down area to prevent fertilisers reaching the watercourse.

The extensive renovation is also now nearing completion after pandemic delays, and we have already completely transformed the Park Restaurant and Park Bar and the hotel’s 90 bedrooms. Soon we will be unveiling an Ufford Park fit for the next generation.

However, for now, our focus remains on gaining 3-Star Gold status and building on the gains we have made in recent years.

Every leader should be aware they cast a shadow – and it is in everybody’s interest that they cast a positive one.

Tarnia Robertson is Managing Director at Ufford Park Woodbridge Hotel Golf and Spa, an independently owned family business with a Quality in Tourism 3-Star Silver accreditation. For more information visit uffordpark.co.uk

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