There’s unlikely to be another country house hotel in the UK that can claim its General Manager has served in the Norwegian army and then gone on to anchor a weekly TV sports programme in Tromsø, but Bowood Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort can certainly do so having recently appointed Ben Danielsen to head up the 43 bedroom property in the western corner of the Bowood estate (near Calne, Wiltshire).
While 41 year old, Ben Danielsen’s career in the hotel industry spans 16 years to date, he entered the world of hospitality as a team-player with a diversity of talents, having already secured impressive military and sporting achievements. These have been further honed as he has since carved out a name for himself within the hotel world, starting at the Holmenkollen Park Hotel Rica in Oslo and then at Summerhill House Hotel, Enniskerry in Ireland before moving to England to work at The Vineyard at Stockcross in Newbury in 2000, starting as its House Manager. He then moved to Newbury’s Donnington Valley Hotel & Spa in 2004 as General Manager and now arrives at Bowood from Cardiff’s Vale Hotel, Golf & Spa Resort having been appointed its Resort General Manager in February 2008.
“I extended my compulsory year of national service by requesting to continue in the Norwegian Army for a further three years with a short service commission,” explains Ben, “serving in Iraq during the first Gulf War and rising to the rank of Sous Lieutenant. After the army, I drew on my time as a schoolboy county footballer by becoming a sports reporter for TV Tromsø. Sadly, I had to stop playing football due to injury when I was 16 but many of those I had played alongside went on to compete at national and international level…so were very good contacts!
“Entering the hotel industry was then another new departure for me but once again being a member of a team that all pulls together was vitally important and so my earlier experience certainly provided a good grounding. It’s also allowed me to bring a broader perspective to the various objectives and challenges that we encounter on a daily basis within hotel operations.”
“I am thrilled to be at Bowood now – a truly magical part of Wiltshire,” says Ben. “With the 43 bedroom hotel and spa now just over a year old, it is definitely gaining its stride and can intriguingly draw on so many wonderful facets right across the Bowood estate. Guests who stay with us have on their doorstep a championship 18-hole golf-course, Capability Brown’s Grade 1 listed parkland, the stately Bowood House with it Robert Adam Diocletian frontage, an Adventure Playground and 100 acres of Pleasure Grounds open to the public, to name just a few treats in store.
“To have arrived here at the height of summer – with the estate looking lush and glorious – has been extremely stimulating and we are already planning lots of new attractions and events within the hotel for autumn and into 2011. It is great to be working with such a dedicated and enthusiastic team at Bowood and we are all focused on delivering a truly memorable Bowood experience for all our visitors. It’s concentrating on the ‘TLTs’, as I call them – the ‘Tiny Little Things’ – that create such a big impression.”
Alongside the existing Bowood Golf & Country Club, the separate Bowood hotel features 37 bedrooms and six suites, the 64-seater Shelburne Restaurant & Bar and two lounges (The Library and the Morning Room) while the spa offers a 15×6 metre infinity swimming pool, hot pool, crystal steam room, rock sauna, aromatherapy showers, gym and two treatment rooms. The hotel’s ‘country-chic’ interiors bring modern translations to classic pieces while also drawing upon Bowood’s impressive heritage, reflecting themes found within Bowood House – home to the Lansdowne family since 1754. Just a mile away from Bowood House and reached via the Golden Gate entrance onto the estate, the hotel and spa are located within the western corner of Capability Brown’s Great Park at Bowood.
Bowood’s owner, Lord Lansdowne comments, “Ben brings to his role as the new General Manger at Bowood Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort a refreshing approach that has undoubtedly been shaped by his career choices prior to becoming a hotelier. Added to this, his significant successes in improving upon AA ratings and securing various accolades and awards while at well-known UK country house hotels stands him out as just the person to guide our hotel at Bowood into the future. His participation with local tourism bodies during his time in Newbury and Cardiff also highlights Ben’s energy when it comes to involvement in the local community.
“We all welcome Ben to his new role and feel sure that he, his wife and two young children will love settling into their new home and be very happy in Wiltshire,” adds Lord Lansdowne.
For further details and enquires on Bowood Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort, telephone 01249 822228 or visit www.bowood.org.