Andrew Nicholson is the General Manager of Storrs Hall on the shores of Windermere.  He credits his time as a chef for providing him with all the skills needed to run the prestigious hotel.

He says: "I’m from Wakefield originally, where I studied catering and hospitality management at the local college. Whilst studying by day, I quickly found a part time job at night, working at “Sloans” a 1920’s American themed Italian restaurant in the city centre run by a local businessman, which was a very popular dinner time venue. I loved the atmosphere, the fast pace, the highs (and lows) of the kitchen – and ‘fell into’ being a chef because of it.

After gaining my Diploma, I headed down to London for a proper job as a chef, and worked for Sheraton Hotels for a few years, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I then moved back up North and was involved in a new hotel opening in Leeds city centre, Crest/Holiday Inn for 18 months before making the leap to an independent hotel, The Devonshire Arms, at Bolton Abbey. I worked through the ranks of the kitchen, becoming Head Chef at 26 until I was around 35. Then the opportunity arose to move to front of house, the MD of the hotel floated the idea, I had personality, was organised, smart, kept a team, motivated people, knew the culture, the business and he thought I could bring something more to the operation. I was ready to make a change so gave it a go, and now have over 20 years of front of house management.

When I left the kitchen, it was a challenge, and to this day I’m still drawn to it – I see it as the engine room of the hotel – the heart of it. But I’ve enjoyed how I’ve been able to use the skills I gained as a chef in my role as a hotel manager. Not many people make the transition from kitchen to front of house, but I believe the skillset is similar – you’re still managing people, managing expectations, creating a product. Working in a kitchen you’re all in it together and as a team you become close – this has helped me develop a good understanding of the psychology of people and their personalities, which is beneficial in my role today.

Having worked up to Operations Manager at The Devonshire Arms, my first GM role came at Linthwaite House Hotel, Bowness on Windermere, followed in early 2017 by my arrival at Storrs Hall.

What I’ve loved about Storrs Hall is that when I started here, it was ready for change, I’ve been able to help steer it through several developments, building the team, improving the product, attention to the details, the brand and what it stands for. Creating and opening of our luxurious Lakeside Suites, refurbishing the bedrooms in the main house, adding Abigail Leah - the hotel’s slipper launch boat - as an experience, opening the new Bistro, launching our lakeside terrace food truck, and more recently, acquiring Lindeth Fell Country House. The owner of Storrs Hall is very supportive of new ventures and keen to keep investing in our offering and I really value that.

In terms of the future, I’m looking forward to navigating Storrs Hall through further changes and new additions – adding a second boathouse, creating new staff accommodation in the village so the team have a great place to stay, adding unique experiences for guests too – like the paddleboarding, birds of prey alongside the skippered cruises done in the summer months – to make it even more special.

My hope is that I get to stay on this journey and see this growth whilst developing our talent for the future, to nurture and mentor our people so that we have someone ready to take on the mantle after my time at Storrs.

This industry like any other can be challenging, but it is fantastic, deeply rewarding and satisfying, creating memories for both our guests, myself and the team. There is always a story, “do you remember when”, followed by anecdote and a smile. Guests are fascinating and it means a lot to get to look after them and see them return."