Four BNC members and their partners (plus one lovely little three-year-old son!) were invited to stay the night at Marston Hotel’s newest property, The Nottingham Belfry, courtesy of Club contact, Sue Massey, Sales Executive for Marston Hotels.
The focus of this site inspection was to experience a leisurely weekend at a recommended BNC property. The emphasis for our group was to discover the hotel in their own time, dine when they chose and enjoy the spa and sports facilities at their leisure – a proper getaway experience and a welcome antithesis to the normal high-pressure, fast-paced fam trip!
The highlight of the weekend was meeting Chris Scragg, the Chairman and Managing Director of Marston Hotels, and watching him qualify and compete in two races for the Heritage Grand Touring Car Challenge at nearby Donington Park.
Thrill-seeker Chris, who jointly owns the Aston Martin DBS used in the weekend’s event, also competes monthly at either Brands Hatch, Silverstone, Snetterton or Oulton Park. He describes himself perfectly on his website www.chrisscragg.com ‘Hotelier by profession, competitor by instinct’!
Chris’ partner is Tom Butler, owner of Status Properties. Tom’s company built Marston’s Cambridge Belfry Hotel in 2004, The Nottingham Belfry in 2006 and currently the racing partners are working on two future projects together. Hence, the name ‘Team Belfry’.
Our BNC group, hosted by John Cotter, Director, and Treda Shotton, Senior Hotel Sales Manager, Nottingham Belfry, watched ‘Team Belfry’ come fifth in two races, topping speeds of 84.35mph on a particularly wet afternoon.
What the Club members thought
Laura and Anne report:
Meetings Manager for Euro RSCG, Laura Cain, says that The Nottingham Belfry is a modern hotel that has a warmth to it. What she liked about the property was its close proximity to the motorway (junction 26 off of the M1) and the “flexible meeting space with a loading bay on the same floor providing excellent access for crew and equipment delivery.”
Laura discovered helpful, friendly and professional staff in every department and what particularly impressed her was the hotel’s non smoking policy and high standard of catering. The bedrooms were also a big hit.
“The Nottingham Belfry provides a relaxing stay for any guest. Its bedrooms are a dream with extremely comfortable beds and designer TVs. The hairdryer and mirror combination and the fact that you can make yourself a proper coffee into a white china mug just makes you feel at home.”
Anne Joyce, Head of Events for Moneyfacts Group, says that the hotel was of good quality and that it has a certain calm about it. Anne suggests that the hotel’s biggest asset is the catering. “The food was very, very good,” she reports. As with Laura, Anne discovered that the staff stand out above and beyond other hotels. “They went out of their way to solve a couple of issues that we had - very helpful.”
Anne feels that The Nottingham Belfry is an ideal business hotel that is a “step above” other properties in the same field, offering a refreshing alternative to other conference hotels.
Laura thinks that the hotel has a great incentive package to offer groups. An organiser could combine an overnight stay with a day at the race track followed by spa treatments at the hotel, which, incidentally, Laura labeled as “beautiful and immaculate”. Also, “The fact that the hotel has two dining facilities - a la carte/brasserie would allow for a longer stay,” she continues.
So this site inspection with a difference was well received by our group of nine – and the event at Donington Park made for a memorable weekend, as Laura testifies. “The atmosphere at Donington Park is electric with the sounds and smells of engineers far and wide. Donington Park is very easy to navigate and from most stand points you have an excellent view of the track and the ability to take part in the atmosphere of the day. The buffet served at lunch was of an extremely high standard and portions were more than sufficient.
“Overall my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole weekend. The hosts from Marston Hotels were extremely friendly, helpful and generous throughout the whole trip.
“This was my first trip with The BNC and it was lovely to meet some great people and useful contacts for the future. Everyone could not sing the praises of the club enough. I have only just found The BNC and so far I have found it extremely informative. The weekend was fantastic and thank you once again.”
Anne echoes Laura’s comments, saying that the opportunity to meet other BNC members was “ Brilliant.” It was her first BNC event and she admits that it was a weekend well spent. “This was my first trip with The BNC and it was so nice to talk to others - events can be a lonely job!” Anne is keeping the Marston portfolio in mind for future events and now not only is she a Marston Hotels fan but a race fan and she hopes to catch up with Team Belfry at Snetterton in July!
The four-star* Nottingham Belfry hotel was opened on 1st February 2006. It has 120 guestrooms (including 10 suites and 23 executive rooms) and there are twelve conference and banqueting rooms, the largest two can each seat up to 320 delegates.
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