Top 50 Boutique Hotels

Get to know Paul Ridgway, Duty Manager, Yorebridge House

With over 5 years' service at Yorebridge, when did this Duty Manager's career start and what got him into hotels?

By Charli Tomney | 15/09/2023

What attracted you to hotels?

My first taste of hospitality was working as a bartender at the Feversham Arms Hotel and Spa. We had a very diverse team of people from all over the world. This helped feed my love for travel. I love the fact that the skills you learn are applicable all over the world and qualifications such as the WSET are recognised internationally.

I would say however what attracts me most to hotels is the breadth of skills you can learn from cocktail making and wine buying to managing budgets running departments. I’ve always been food and beverage based and I would say this is my passion but with my role as Duty Manager I’m really enjoying getting involved in different departments and assisting in running the hotel as a whole. 

What do you enjoy most about your industry?

Customer service, looking after guests, I’ve only ever worked in small boutique hotels as I love caring for people and making their holidays and special occasions really special, I love the fact in small Hotels you get to know all the guests by name and also personally, It’s genuinely a pleasure when a regular guest returns again and again and you’ve got to know them over the years , It’s always very rewarding when you’ve gone the extra mile for someone and they leave beaming!

I would also say that wine is a great love of mine, having just sat my WSET level 3 I’ve been doing an amazing amount of research into different wines, regions and grapes, I’m also travelling all over the world to vineyards in California and Europe and I find it incredible that I get to do this as part of my job!  

Biggest achievement to date?

I would say becoming duty manager at Yorebridge House, it’s such a lovely place to work, amazing guests and supportive bosses, I also find it a very challenging job as you need to be in all departments at once sometimes, I also have a greater understanding of the financial side of the business now and I’m much more involved in this. as previously mentioned, I’ve always done food and beverage so to step out of this and move into the general running of the hotel is a huge achievement for me! 

I’m also very proud of my completion of my level 3 WSET! This was many weeks of long shifts and heavy research into everything there is to know about wine, but I’m very proud of the contribution these skills have given me in building the AA notable wine list we have and also in hosting wine and champagne tasting events in our Laurent Perrier tasting room, I’ve always hated public speaking but to have the confidence and skills that I have now to host a champagne tasting to up to 20 people is a huge achievement for me and I now love doing them!

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to build a career and find what you want to do in life, if you work hard, keep focused an industry you love will find you! Also never turn down an opportunity, no matter how small, you never know where it may lead.

What makes staying at Yorebridge House so special?

The service, from the moment you walk in the door you are treated as a friend, All the team are friendly, professional and want nothing more than to see you have a great break away.

The 3 AA rosette Restaurant is also fantastic and definitely a reason are regulars return, Great food locally sourced and cooked to perfection by our chef Dan Shotton, we’ve just launched a tasting menu with wine pairing, and this has been great fun creating and a massive talking point at the moment between the team and our guests.

The hot-tubs with a view of the dales also deserve a mention, there can be fewer things better than sitting in a nice hot-tub looking at a clear dales’ night sky listening to the river!

Where’s your favourite place to stay in the UK?

Seaham Hall, one of the first luxury hotels me and my wife visited together, they looked after us very well and the spa with its Asian restaurant was great!

Who’s your biggest influence?

Sounds cheesy but I would definitely say my dad, he’s always pushed me to work hard and is the reason I’m where I am today, He’s a great inspiration, very hard working and the most caring person you could know,

I would also say my first ever GM, Charles Merchie (remove the name if not wanted) I always admired his work ethic, attention to detail and the way he cared for individual guests despite having a very busy, hands on role, he was always here from first thing in the morning until end of service making sure everything was running smoothly and chatting to our guests.

Where’s a place you’d like to visit but haven’t yet?

I would love to go to The Gilpin, the lakeside lodges look incredible!