A job with bags of opportunity at Ickworth Hotel

There's no time to be bored, not when you're <br/><br/>a hotel porter says Robert Fryatt

There’s no time to be bored, not when you’re a hotel porter says Robert Fryatt

It’s amazing that on July 1, 2009 I will make seven years at The Ickworth Hotel as Front of House Porter. I actually started here a week before the hotel opened in 2002. The role of porter is so rewarding as you meet so many different people, some quite famous, so I can honestly say I have enjoyed every moment of it. The Ickworth, its staff and guests are my family, it’s like home for me.My day starts here around 9am, and what a way to start the day, The Ickworth is such a unique place to work. Formerly the home to the notorious Hervey Family, it was handed to the National Trust in the late 1950s and is today a 39 bedroom, luxury family hotel run by von Essen Hotels. The mile long drive in is wonderful passing the sheep and the big trees to suddenly reveal the stunning Rotunda, which always takes my breath away.Check out is by 11am so I spend the morning running up and down the stairs collecting the guests’ luggage and packing their cars. I reckon on a really busy day I can climb the two flights of stairs up to 60 times. We do have a lift but I save that for the really heavy bags. I’ve never managed to lose anyone’s luggage to date but a few days ago I did have an incident where I got the cars mixed up. Two separate guests both had identical Audis. One of the gentlemen asked me to collect his luggage and pack his car, which I duly did. But after he’d checked out he came back to reception asking where his luggage was, “in your car sir”, I replied. It was at that point and to my horror I saw the other Audi about to leave, complete with the wrong luggage!After checkout I grab some lunch. Staff lunch is at 11:30am so the chefs are all free for the guest lunch from 12 to 2pm, then I run errands for the reception team and help out the girls in housekeeping removing the large sacks of dirty laundry. It’s a great way to stay in shape. The new guests can check in anytime, though officially it’s 3pm but I’ll store their luggage until their rooms are ready so the guest can just go and enjoy all the amazing facilities available here.We are a family hotel and often the whole family turns up – including the family dog. They are allowed anywhere in the hotel except the restaurants, but we are very happy to look after them in reception and I love taking them for walks across the estate. The children are the best, they just love the freedom here, they literally have the run of the place.The guests drive to the front of the hotel to check in, I’ll take their luggage and am very happy to park their car for them. This can be anything including a Bentley or even a Maserati. I love cars but am not ever likely to own anything grand myself, so I was so chuffed when one of my guests offered me a trip in his Austin MartinDB9. He took me to Newmarket. It was amazing and we overtook cars that seemed to pass like a puff of smoke.  One day last week I parked a car for a gentleman and could have sworn I gave him back his keys but later in the day he asked me where they were. I frantically looked everywhere I could think of, I even called the local garage to get a cost for a new set. Later that evening he casually mentioned he had found them in his dressing gown pocket. He’d left them there for safe keeping whilst he went swimming.We welcome non residents for spa days, lunch and afternoon teas and I love to show them to the lounge and fetch them a cup of tea or coffee whilst they wait for their therapist to collect them.Today I took one of my frequent trips to the post office to post a parcel containing items left behind by our guests – you can’t believe how many shoes the ladies forget to pack. And then there was a check in with so much luggage. Mr and Mrs Scott are staying here for their last night in the UK and setting off for Italy tomorrow. Ten suitcases and bags I had to remove from their 4x4 and take to their room. The best part is, I’ll have to fetch them all again tomorrow and repack them!My day typically should finish about 5pm but it rarely works out that way as many people, especially our corporate guests often check in early evening. Today I’m hoping to get away about 6pm and as you can imagine I’m pretty tired – it’s not surprising after all the running around. Tonight I’m looking forward to going home to my old friend, Bourneville, my 10 year old cat. We love nothing more than to sit and listen to a bit of Simon and Garfunkel. I love reading too and have a few pages left to go of Nicholas Nickleby, the last book in my volume of Charles Dickens novels.

The Ickworth is a family hotel with facilities on offer to both residents and non residents including an OFSTED registered cr�che available free to all our guests. To find out more about the facilities, restaurants, spa days, room rates or corporate rates please contact reception on 01284 735350.

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