Well, what a year we have all had! Where on earth do we even begin? It all started with doom and gloom back in January – Covid was still a huge threat to the nation and the vaccine rollout was in the very early stages. Christmas had just been cancelled due to ‘tiers for fears’ and we were all feeling a bit sorry for ourselves, truth be told!
Whilst we technically remained ‘closed’ during the long and cold winter lockdown in early 2021, we certainly didn’t waste this time. Behind the scenes we were beavering away, planning and generally getting on with it. It was a rubbish situation for all in hospitality, but we refused to be defeated. We set a marketing plan and got on with takeaway meals, which were very well received. We also used the time to commission seven brand new bedrooms, and refurbish others too… all whilst awaiting the Boris ‘roadmap’ with bated breath.
We finally reopened to the public in April – outside at first, with a giant marquee in tow. We had two awesome weeks welcoming people back in the glorious Peak District sunshine… until in true ‘Britain in April’ style, the heavens opened for the next three weeks, drowning trade and dampening spirits all round!
A new member of the family
Roll onto May and what was an interesting month for all at Longbow. We were delighted to welcome guests into our newly refurbished hotel rooms, and we even had the pleasure of being able to host small weddings of up to 15 people!
The most exciting news, however, was taking place behind the scenes at Longbow… as we took over the famous and historic George Hotel in Hathersage. Crossing all of the T’s and dotting all of the I’s to get this over the line certainly kept us busy!
Summer came around and thankfully restrictions eased further. It looked like ‘steps’ out of lockdown were finally coming to an end (unlike the 90’s pop band, who just don’t seem to ever go away). Our signature large weddings finally got the green light, and huge plans were on the horizon for a full refurbishment and rebranding of the George.
The end of 'tiers for fears' and awards success
The big day arrived and all legal restrictions were removed. Covid was a thing of the past. (or so we thought!) The final step of the ‘roadmap’ meant we could throw open our doors and welcome the masses once again (not quite Black Friday at Tesco style, but equally as exciting). We were open with no restrictions, weddings were brilliant and plentiful, room occupancy was fantastic and behind the scenes we were at full throttle, planning the big launch for The George in September.
And what a launch it was! We got off to a flying start, surpassing all of our expectations. We were both pleased and proud by the reaction, and truly feel we have created a home away from home for locals and for people from further afield, serving great food at a reasonable price in a comfortable environment. But then again, we would say that… check out our TripAdvisor reviews for a less biased take…
More good news followed – were absolutely delighted to take home the ‘Readers Choice’ awards at the Westside Bars & Restaurants Hospitality Awards 2021 for The Maynard. It was a wonderful night, and much deserved recognition for the team in what had been a tough year. A huge thank you to everyone who voted for us!
The leaves fall but the tension rises...
As the leaves started to fall in autumn, phase two of our refurbishment at The George began, with more rooms being brought up to our usual high standards. Whilst wedding season was winding down at the Maynard, we started to adapt our offer with steak nights on Wednesdays, wine evenings on Fridays and many other offers.
But then, with planning for Christmas in full flow, The dreaded Covid decided it wanted one final say on our year. ‘Omicron’ reared its ugly head… and whilst we have decided to ‘carry on regardless’ (as sung by a much better 90’s band, The Beautiful South) we have understandably been hit by cancellations.
However, we remained hugely upbeat, with awesome events taking place at The Maynard throughout December, including party nights, pie & peas suppers with a brass band and a wine tasting event. The George powered on too, with exceptional take up on our festive bookings. We are now looking forward to an amazing Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.
And there we have it. What a rollercoaster year! We would like to extend our warmest thanks to all of our customers, suppliers and staff. It hasn’t always been easy this year, but we have come through it together. Without you, we definitely wouldn’t have.
Here’s to an even better 2022… hopefully a year we can finally go back to ‘normal’!