Happy New Year, from Mrs Way & The Way Family
Wishing everyone reading this a Happy New Year! Don’t you think that this familiar seasonal greeting has suddenly taken on much more significance? I feel sure that most of us are looking forward to a Happier 2021 more than any year in memory - some will still remember the desperate war years of course but since then 2020 is a year that we will be more than happy to put behind us.
Let’s hope we can all look forward to better things in 2021 and a Happier New Year where we can appreciate getting back to normal life. Hopefully this year will bring us freedom from unknown fears and we can enjoy the routine pleasures of life that the pandemic has disrupted so dramatically.
Life will never be the same for us in the Way family - the combined life changing effects of leaving behind our 2 special hotels in South Devon and the pandemic spectacularly hitting within weeks of the completion, we found ourselves living a completely different life together - living in a Mid Devon ‘support bubble’!
Despite mask wearing and strenuous safety routines, in December we were able to enjoy a few weeks of being open at both the Luttrell Arms and Porlock Weir Hotel. We enthusiastically decorated for Christmas, not knowing what was ahead and welcomed a greatly reduced and Covid safe number of happy guests for the Christmas period. Following that brief period of trade we suddenly found ourselves closed again for the third time on 27th December. Luckily we had anticipated what was likely to happen and already decided to cancel plans and bookings for the New Year and January - this decision saved us from buying and subsequently wasting lots of valuable food following the official government shutdown. The costs and disruption involved in completely closing the hotels at short notice and then re-opening again at a later date are massive and unprecedented.
Fortunately, our decision to close as soon as we said farewell to our Christmas guests, in anticipation of the government decision, also gave us the opportunity to speak to guests personally to let them know the situation and our thoughts . Many were obviously very disappointed, but it made us realise how lucky we are to have so many guests who have over the years become friends and keen to continue to support us by postponing their visit until it is safe for us to open our doors again in this new year.
In the last year there are several words and expressions that have suddenly become part of everyday language – ‘Furlough’, ‘social distancing’ , ‘Covid safe’, ‘support bubbles’ being examples of several that everyone is now familiar and somewhat fed up with hearing! ‘Click and Collecting’ is something new for us and the routine shopping procedure has now become one of the highlights of Nigel’s week, with much time spent rummaging in fridge and larder before meticulously planning and implementing the compilation of the order. Choosing the optimum ‘time slot’ for collection of shopping becomes a subject of keen discussion and nobody else in the family is considered qualified to undertake this important logistical task!
Another result of all this is that we have watched more television together in the last few months than in our entire 40+ years of marriage. We have eventually managed to master the skills required to operate the extra gadget (that I purchased ages ago and have never had time to utilise) that gives access to the magical world of Now TV , Netflix and ‘streaming’. ‘Streaming’ has led us to an unfortunate new addiction and the discovery that neither of us has any self control over our viewing habits - when we do actually find something we can agree we both want to watch, we find ourselves gleefully watching episode after episode culminating into multiple time wasting hours of couch potato indulgence. Sometimes these tv watching sessions last into the early hours and lead to the following morning being completely ‘written off ‘ - as we are both exhausted and grumpy through lack of sleep - a sort of old persons ‘hangover’ experience I guess!
Talking about TV viewing, we did get interested in a medical programme earlier this week which was about improving the immune system and protecting oneself against infections such as Covid. It was encouraging to learn how valuable a massage is to our health whilst still being a pleasurable indulgence. It has been proved that enjoying a relaxing massage will improve the health of your immune system in a similar way to which we all know healthy eating, peaceful sleep and getting outdoors for regular exercise will do. Actually they also mentioned ‘taking a cold shower’ could help but I decided to forget that bit! Anyway I am sure you will agree that It is nice to know that just for once something enjoyable is also good and healthy – the things I personally enjoy most are not necessarily ones that the doctor would recommend – ie wine and chocolate!
This year, in an attempt to combat the obvious detrimental effects of the wine and chocolate, I decided to make a New Year Resolution to stem the deterioration and restore some health and beauty routines to my poor neglected body. I had a plan that involved me spending time in January discovering and enjoying the luxuries of the hotel salon – officially for research purposes of course, but actually for some personal self -indulgence! - It had appeared initially that as were placed in Tier4, whilst the hotel was forced to close, our salon could remain open for business as usual. Although Sarah, our wonderful beauty therapist, still had appointments booked for her local clients, she would have no hotel guests to concentrate on and I hoped that her skilled talents would perhaps be more available to me than usual!
I have been longing to try out the amazing Elemis Biotech machine that everyone raves about and makes one look years younger – Getting carried away with this idea, I dreamed of massages, facials, pedicures, manicures and and personally sampling everything on offer, the whole salon to myself, lots of personal pampering and the added bonus that Alan, our amazing hairstylist may now have time for my hair! - I would be the envy of my friends! - it would be like having celebrity facilities available at home! - A dream come true! - A new me!
My New Year dream of course came to an end and I abruptly woke up to reality when it was announced that beauty salons and hairdressers would also be closed when suddenly Tier 4 went to Lockdown status. I am now reluctantly resigned to reverting to the usual DIY approach to my resolution. However, this disappointment has made me more determined to make more use of the advantages of having these valuable facilities on site when we open again, especially now I know how beneficial massage is to the immune system!
I promise this is not intended as a sales and marketing strategy but it does lead me to point out that a visit to us in beautiful Exmoor can be viewed as a very healthy as well as a pleasurable option for those who are hoping for a New Year boost when we open in a few weeks.
When visiting us our guests can expect delicious food, nights of great sleep, professional friendly service, unlimited and spectacular walking opportunities (whether you prefer a stroll like me or a hike like Nigel!), within the wild and natural beauty of Exmoor National Park, together with warming log fires and spacious relaxing surroundings. At the Luttrell Arms there is the added bonus of the ‘in house’ hair and beauty salon on site tempting you with a range of massage and beauty treatments. All this is enjoyed without venturing from the hotel, surrounding gardens, countryside and famous historic village. At Porlock Weir, the unique waterside location and surrounding wide open spaces, ensures that guests can enjoy all the delights of being at the water’s edge. Here, overlooking the water, with the massive expanse of unspoiled natural beach to explore, and a footpath directly to Exmoor at the back door, ‘social distancing’ will never become a problem! A recipe for a Happy and Healthy New Year.
See you soon...
Wow - I might take up a job in marketing instead of hospitality in my next life! Let’s hope we all continue to keep healthy and this sad period is soon over, in the meantime we look forward to welcoming all our customers and friends back here to Dunster and Porlock, whether for a first or return visit to Exmoor.