Students to Run Norwich Hotel for 2 Days

Hospitality and catering students from City College Norwich will put their skills to the ultimate test when they take over the running of a major city hotel for the 2-day “takeover” of the Holiday Inn Norwich North.

Hospitality and catering students from City College Norwich will put their skills to the ultimate test when they take over the running of a major city hotel for two full days.  The students will be expected to match the high standards that paying guests are accustomed to as part of the annual “takeover” of the Holiday Inn Norwich North.   

Around 70 students will undertake all of the key roles and responsibilities associated with running a major 4 star hotel, including reception duties, housekeeping, food preparation and service and general management of the hotel.  The hotel’s staff will be on hand to oversee the students as they take on these roles and to give them the benefit of their experience.

The hotel’s guests will be greeted and checked in by students from the college’s Hotel Reception programme.  The students will run all aspects of the front desk, answering calls, issuing key cards, checking out departing guests and ensuring excellent customer service.

After checking in, guests will settle in to their rooms which will have been fully prepared for them by Hospitality Higher Diploma students, who will be in charge of housekeeping throughout the hotel.

Hospitality students will also be on hand to welcome customers to the hotel’s Concorde Restaurant, where they will be working on food service.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be prepared by trainee chefs from the college’s Diploma in Professional Cookery course.  

The takeover will culminate in a gala dinner and charity auction in the Lancaster Suite on Wednesday evening, when students will cater for up to 300 guests.  The dinner will provide students with invaluable experience of banqueting on a large scale.

All of the students’ hard work will be for a good cause with the gala dinner helping to raise funds for Hospitality Action, the charity for the industry which helps hospitality people who have fallen on hard times.  

The gala dinner will be open to members of the public.  As part of the charity auction diners will have the opportunity to bid for a fantastic meal for 10 in the Debut Restaurant’s exclusive new private dining area, a year’s membership at Ramada Norwich hotel's Sebastian Coe Health Centre and a one night dinner bed and breakfast at Brasted’s.

For anyone inspired by the hotel takeover to think about a career in hospitality, staff from the college and Holiday Inn will be available in the hotel lounge each day to give information on what it is like to work in the industry and the training options that are available.

Head of the Hotel, Hair and Beauty School at City College Norwich, Steve Thorpe said: “The aim of the takeover is to give our students real experience of working in a hotel as they prepare for careers in the exciting world of hospitality and catering.  The Holiday Inn Norwich North has placed a lot of trust in the students by allowing them to do this.  I am confident that the students will rise to the challenge and I know that they will gain a huge amount from the experience.”

Devin Grosse, General Manager of the Holiday Inn Norwich North, said: “We have always had strong links with the City College Hotel School, including sponsoring an award at the school’s annual awards ceremony, as well as employing many of their graduates. This initiative is a fantastic opportunity for us to see the students in action.  The takeover in 2010 was a huge success and was well received by guests who were impressed with the professional level of service from the participating students.  We are really looking forward to working with the Hotel School in another successful takeover.”

Natalie Gleave, Front Office Manager, Holiday Inn Norwich North said:
“I am very excited about the takeover, with more departments involved than ever before.  This year will see the biggest takeover we have organised so far and hopefully it will be the best yet.”

Tickets for the charity gala dinner on Wednesday 2nd February at 7:00pm, are available from City College Norwich at £20 per head, which includes arrival drinks, canapés and 3-course meal.  Call (01603) 773 227 to book.