Friday, 21 June 2013

The Way We Used To Live

Pictures of Holdsworth House going back over the last 50 years. For more images of the hotels today visit our website gallery.

Left: The elegant Rita Pearson. This picture appeared in the national papers when the hotel was purchased by the Pearsons.

Left: Current owner Gail Moss (nee Pearson) follows in her mother's footsteps in hosting fine parties & events at Holdsworth House.

The charismatic host: Freddie Pearson outside Holdsworth House. The hotel exterior hasn't changed much!

A 1970s wedding in the Stuart Room before it had its pillars removed.

The Stuart Room in 2013. Clean, crisp and ready for any wedding colour scheme you can think of.

The former bar, which is now the Mullioned Restaurant.

The former bar today - used for weddings, restaurant diners and afternoon tea.
A bedroom in the 1970s. Groovy patterns!
The orignal reception area, now the corridor to the bedrooms adjacent to the Abraham Brigg Room.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Golden Anniversary

We had a ball last Thursday, almost literally when we celebrated the hotel's 50 Golden Years!

Holdsworth House was opened on April 11th 1963 by Rita and Freddie Pearson. The couple, who had no experience of running a hotel,  opened The Cavalier Country Club as a private members club which quickly became the place to be seen for socialising, eating, drinking and gambling.

In 1979 the property was handed to the Pearsons’ daughters Gail Moss and Kim Pearson and reverted to its former name Holdsworth House. The hotel has continued to grow from strength to strength under their watchful eye and now boasts 2 AA Rosettes for the food and 4 stars, the only AA four star hotel in Halifax.

Following the deaths of Rita and Freddie, the hotel has remained under family management and on June 13th 2013 Gail and Kim hosted a celebration evening to mark the hotel’s 50th anniversary. Guests included customers and local business leaders, council officials and suppliers – many of whom are local and have been  working with the hotel for over 20 years. 

Gail Moss said ‘The event was to celebrate 50 years of being one of Yorkshire’s top hotels. We work hard to stay innovative and give Halifax the hotel it deserves. Holdsworth House is a popular wedding venue and in 2012 we hosted 167 weddings, which was down to hard work and our brilliant team. Although we have an historic building we can’t stand still – we’re very active on social media sites and we’re doing lots to bring tourists into Halifax from outside Yorkshire through promotions and deals.’

Guests at last Thursday’s event were treated to an array of cocktails including pink Prosecco with crystalised rose petals and a cheeky raspberry vodka cocktail served from our eclectic mix of bone china teacup and saucer sets.

In a heartfelt speech Gail and Kim reminisced about the past fifty years, including when The Beatles came to stay.  Gail thanked the team for their loyalty and commitment to customer service and a long service award was presented to semi-retired accountant Robert Woodhead, whom Gail described as ‘business advisor and true family friend who has worked with Holdsworth House for over 40 years.’ Guests also heard about plans for the barn which stands within the hotel grounds and which is in need of restoration; the team is currently researching best uses for it and an additional wedding venue or function space is being considered.

Roger Harvey OBE, owner of Halifax's premier department store, who attended the event said after the evening ‘Sue and I would like to thank you for a splendid evening to celebrate 50 glorious years of Holdsworth House. We thoroughly enjoyed the evening and both remarked about the friendliness and professionalism of your staff.  The food was superb, so another big thank you to your head chef and all the catering team. As a business which celebrated 60 years trading in Halifax in 2011, we know it isn't easy, but sticking to core values and putting our customers first has kept us both in business, when others have failed. Good luck for the next 50 years.’

Pictures courtesy of

Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence

Love or hate Tripadvisor, there's one thing for sure many people who want to try somewhere for the first time use it like a crystal ball... how good will my experience really be?

Of course Tripadvisor is open to abuse. TV documentaries have shown how some unscrupulous hoteliers 'big up' their own hotels whilst putting false reviews of competitors TUT TUT. How hotels expect to get a good reputation if they're so focused on themselves rather than the customer is beyond us.

There's always room for improvement and the customer paying the bill has every right to say how they think hoteliers can do it better, whether they do that in the public domain or not is not always something a hotel can manage. Customers expectations and benchmarks vary wildly; what's fantastic for one is second rate for another. With little or no opportunity for hoteliers to respond, without looking like a whinging pom, a hotel's online reputation is a pathway that can be paved with gold or can drop into an abyss in a flash. We say always aim for the highest common denominator and treat every guest like a king!

It's this policy that has won Holdsworth House another Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence for the third year running. For us this means not only do we aim to give everyone good service, but that we acknowledge that we're always learning and we're always trying our best. Occasionally things do go wrong, but it's rare and the customer can be assured we'll always go out of our way to make it right.  We're not afraid of Tripadvisor, we embrace it, so we're already looking forward to a Certificate of Excellence 2014!