Q&A with Lisa Lernoux- Dock, Sales Director for MICE at Chewton Glen
In our first Q&A feature we talk to Lisa Lernoux-Dock, the sales director for MICE at the Chewton Glen Hotel , which is a five-star privately-owned luxury country house hotel situated on the edge of the New Forest.
Hi Lisa, tell us about your role at the venue and how long you’ve been there
With one short hiatus, I’ve been at Chewton Glen since 2002. I’m now lucky enough to be the Director of Sales for MICE for CG as well as the other three hotels in our Iconic Luxury Hotels collection.
So, what’s the best thing about working at Chewton?
I’m very proud to work for Chewton Glen - it was the first modern UK country house hotel and it retains a great reputation and legacy. It doesn’t rest on its laurels and keeps evolving and setting new trends. It’s posh but not stuffy, and the hotel is very easy to sell – all I have to do is to get clients to see it.
You’re from California originally, how did you get into the UK hospitality industry?
I studied Theatre Arts in California (I thought I’d have my Oscar by now) and then fell into working with a DMC in Palm Springs. I met my (very English) husband who was there a fam trip in 1995. Not only did I get the man I got the business as well, and then moved to the UK in 1998. The rest is Anglo-American history…
What’s the history behind Chewton Glen?
It was a small country estate and the original house dates back to c. 1715. By 1966 it was a 6 bedroom, 2-bathroom B&B and was bought by brothers Martin and Trevor Skan. Though Martin didn’t have any hotel experience (other than enjoying staying in them) his dream was to make Chewton Glen the best hotel in the world. Chewton Glen is still privately owned and the same goal is still at the heart of everything we do.
Tell us something we wouldn’t know about Chewton Glen
It’s a short walk down to the beach via ‘Chewton Bunny’. There are great views from there across the Solent, and when we have guests from the States they occasionally return from the walk and say, ‘I didn’t realise France was so close’. I never have the heart to tell them it’s the IOW.
In your 15 years at Chewton Glen what’s you favourite event you’ve worked on?
I’ve seen many brilliant, creative events at Chewton Glen over the years. Recently a top-level UK incentive client wished to create a real ‘wow’ as it was the first year they weren’t going abroad. We suggested the group take exclusivity of our 12 deluxe Treehouse Suites. When it came time for dinner the guests were transferred by buggy to our Kitchen restaurant: they thought they were just having drinks and a semi-casual meal which was true – what they didn’t realise was that James Martin would be cooking for them, as they sat around the Chef’s demo table. It was a great moment. The next day, to push the boat out even more, they enjoyed a sailing adventure on two deluxe yachts in the Solent.
What events work best at the hotel?
Chewton Glen is ideal for high-level meetings, incentives and corporate hospitality. The hotel particularly comes into its own when groups can add an activity or element of fun and surprise into the event: from a RIB blast on the Solent to a croquet tournament on the lawn or a tasting event featuring all English wines and cheeses.
Why should our clients choose Chewton Glen to host their events?
Chewton Glen has a great reputation, and whilst seen as a truly ‘aspirational’ venue it offers particularly excellent value for groups. The hotel has exceptionally flexible facilities, and is a benchmark for service standards for hotels across the UK.
What are the top 3 USPs that separate Chewton from other venues?
Flexibility: the hotel has an extensive range of space available to groups and ‘yes’ is one of our favourite words. Location: Chewton Glen is on the edge of the New Forest just minutes from the sea. It’s is very easily accessible from London by road and rail (it took me longer to drive from Putney to Liverpool Street the other day – just saying) and also from the North with flights into nearby Southampton Airport. Innovation: Chewton Glen is ever evolving. We have the first (and, as I would say, the best) Treehouse Suites in the country and we recently opened our Kitchen restaurant and Cookery School – overseen by James Martin. The hotel truly combines authentic English tradition with 21st century sensibility and invention.
What changes or exciting plans are coming up in 2018 at Chewton?
We’ve just completed our newest Treehouse Suite ‘The Yews’ which will give us an even better opportunity to host group dinners and receptions ‘in the trees’. And The Kitchen and Cookery School will be creating new bespoke experiences for group events. Chewton Glen will be welcoming Chris Evans back to the hotel in June for the second annual Dine & Disco in aid of Children in Need - I understand Take That will be joining him this year!
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