GREAT NAMES BEHIND HOTELS: Jordi Tarrida and the Luxury Collection Hotels’ Turnberry Resort in Scotland – One -on-One with The General Manager of Turnberry Resort, Scotland
Seven months into your new post and what can you say was the memorable thing about arriving at Turnberry?
The views; I cannot forget the mesmerising views as you drive up to Turnberry. I think that everyone should experience this. It is absolutely beautiful – the beauty of Turnberry the views cannot be expressed in words. They are simply spectacular with a setting that overlooks the Irish Sea.
How did you get into the hotel business?
It wasn’t much of a difficult choice. After finishing High School in Caracas, Venezuela, I had to grow up quickly and find myself a job and because I spoke three languages, German, English and Spanish, it was a clear choice between the airline business or the hotel business. I chose the hotel business which was the first to offer me a job; this is how I started my career with Starwood Hotels & Resorts in 1980 as a Front Office Clerk at the Macuto Sheraton Caracas in Venezuela. I later moved to Frankfurt the following year to join the team at the Sheraton Frankfurt Hotel & Towers where I remained until 1986. For the nine years that followed, I have held a succession of sales positions, including Sales Manager in the Sheraton Sales Office in Germany; Director of Sales at the Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort and Director of Sales at the Sheraton Frankfurt Hotel & Towers.
In 1995, I became Area Director of Marketing, Spain and Portugal, for Starwood Hotels & Resorts responsible for the marketing strategy of all of the Starwood Hotels and Resorts in Spain and Portugal, including the Luxury Collection Hotel Maria Cristina in San Sebastian and Hotel Alfonso XIII in Seville.
Then, in March 2000, I was promoted to General Manager of the Westin La Quinta Golf Resort in Marbella, Spain where I managed the opening of the 172-room hotel and the development of the resort’s spa. I later moved to Mallorca in 2006, to take up the position of Area Manager Mallorca where I oversaw the renovation and rebranding of the 133-room St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort and have now joined Turnberry from the Arabella Golf & Spa Resort in Mallorca.
So what are your plans for Turnberry?
Turnberry is both exciting and challenging. It has 150-rooms; it is a luxury Resort in Ayrshire, Scotland. Together with its resort are three world-class golf courses: the legendary Championship Ailsa golf course; the Championship Kintyre Course and the Arran Course, as well as the Colin Montgomerie Links Golf Academy and Scotland’s first and only Taylor-Made Performance Lab. Turnberry underwent a multi-million pound renovation before my arrival. The resort is now beautifully transformed into a perfect destination not simply for the golfing activities which it is renowned for, but it is also now very ideal for events, families, corporate retreats.
Golf is what drives the resort but we are also aware of the constant changes in the needs and services of our guests. We hope that with the renovation and new activities that we have put in place, together with the personalised and friendly services that we offer, we will bring more to Turnberry than just golf.
What are some the extra things guests can experience at Turnberry?
In addition to Turnberry’s golf courses, there is the hotel’s signature 1906 restaurant, the elegant Grand Tea Lounge, James Miller Room, Ailsa Bar & Lounge, Duel in the Sun bar, panoramic Tappie Toorie restaurant, the indulgent ESPA spa and on-site outdoor activity centre offering quad biking, horse riding, fishing, off-road driving and falconry.
This year, Valentine’s Day clashes with school half-term what has Turnberry lined up for this special week?
Turnberry has a working farm called The Little Turnberry Farm open daily from sunrise to sunset. Entrance is free for guests staying at Turnberry Resort. It is set in over 800 acres and features a wide range of animals. Children will be delighted to see sheep, lambs, miniature donkeys, Shetland ponies, horse paddocks, and golden pheasants, there are also Indian Runner ducks, turkeys, farm-yard hens and Pygmy goats.
The Turnberry spring fed loch also has a variety of ducks and swans and attracts a lot of other wildlife. The farm employs both traditional and modern agricultural techniques and can be visited daily. There is also a picnic area next to the springfed loch which families are welcome to use.
In addition, we offer a variety of activities for children of different ages to come and explore the farm. This includes Little Turnberry Farmer allowing children to step in the footsteps of a real farmer.
To top it all, we are offering an amazing Luxury Romance experience with:
• Champagne and flowers upon arrival
• Breakfast served each morning in your room
• From £185 per room per night
• Minimum 2-night stay; between 1 January 2012 to 31 March 2012
We have child-friendly menus together with many other activities for the whole family.
What does the future hold for Turnberry?
I have come to Turnberry with a wealth of experience from other Starwood Properties but Turnberry on its own has a valuable reputation that I can draw experiences from. Together with the excellent team in place and the warmth of the people of Ayr, I am confident that Turnberry will be the ideal place for holiday makers, keen golfers, families, corporate retreats and the perfect venue for weddings and prestigious celebrations. It would be everyone’s dream location.