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Sunday, 20 April 2014

Award win ‘a great privilege’ for Lakes hotel

BARNEY Cunliffe, 45, is managing director of the Gilpin Hotel and Lake House.

What was your first job?

General dogsbody, various hotels, from 14.

How did you get your current job?

After a hotel career in London for 10 years, my wife and I decided to join my parents at Gilpin. Their initial plans of semi- retirement running a B&B were not turning out as expected.

Describe the company you work for in one sentence.

We are a family-run business and the team are an extension of our family. Like all families we have days of joy, sadness, excitement, frustration, understanding and misunderstanding. We are never bored and we make a lot of people very happy.

How many hours do you work a week?

As every hotelier knows, it’s a 24/7 business.

How many people are you responsible for?

Sixty.

What’s your greatest achievement?

Business-wise, winning the Catey (Caterer and Hotelkeeper Awards) in 2012 was a great privilege, because it was all about the hotel industry recognising the entire Gilpin team. I was particularly delighted my parents picked up the award. It was really a recognition of their amazing dedication.

What gives you the biggest work buzz?

It’s the creativity I love and the fact it’s all about creating something really special for people. Whether that’s great interiors, food, service or gardens, it all adds up to a great experience that guests remember.

What’s your motto at work?

We have succeeded when guests want to come back.

What’s the best thing about being a boss?

Visualising where the business needs to go and being in control of making that dream into reality.

What’s the worst thing about being a boss?

You are responsible for the welfare of a lot of people in tough times. You can never truly relax.

What’s your favourite website?

I don’t have a favourite website as such, but I love surfing the net to explore ideas. It’s amazing to discover how creative humanity can be.

Your first car?

A Renault 5 we called Puddles.

How do you relax?

Sailing with my wife and daughter, a great anchorage, sunset, BBQ, single malt and preferably not raining. Heaven.

What’s the best thing about doing business in Cumbria?

The people, definitely. Developing those close working relationships across the county is just so important, and it’s an interesting contrast to the “dog eat dog” attitudes I experienced down in London.

If we arrived at your office today, what item might we be surprised to find on your desk?

I don’t have an office! The iPad is genius.

Something your employees would be surprised to find out about you...

I’m the lousiest fisherman in the world and get no end of stick from my family for catching the outboard motor. But I have all the kit, so I look the part.

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