It has been several months since I last wrote a post of a somewhat personal nature. While I try not to write too many of these, I find myself needing to write one now, for a variety of reasons.
There is an old saying that “home is where the heart is”. It speaks to that special magic that is found in the act of coming home; in returning to a place where you can be comfortable, relax and just be yourself.
Our family recently experienced this phenomenon in a rather profound way, as Pam has just come home from a nine day hospital visit. When she walked in the door you could almost see the weight lift from her shoulders as she relaxed and settled into familiar, comfortable surroundings. That feeling of coming home is exactly what we attempt to convey to our guests at Ravenwood Castle – minus the hospital stay, of course!
Everything we do at Ravenwood is to further this goal, from the types of food we serve, to the amenities we offer, to how and where we interact with guests. This philosophy even carries over into the clothes we wear. Just the other day I had a conversation with a guest about our employees’ attire. She enjoyed her stay and loved the property, but was disappointed that our staff was not dressed in some type of uniform, or even medieval garb. Now there’s nothing wrong with uniforms or a sense of formality – that’s just not what we’re all about.
We’ve found that the way we do things really resonates with our guests. Two recent incidents spring to mind. The first being a guest who asked if he could wear a costume to dinner. We of course encouraged him to do so, and spent the next several hours serving dinner to a giant lobster! That’s not something you’d be comfortable enough to do in a ‘regular’ establishment!
The same feeling was recently shared with me by a guest in the Raven’s Roost Pub. As I poured him a beer he commented on my Dungeons & Dragons t-shirt, and then indicated his own gaming shirt. He mentioned that he normally didn’t like wearing that shirt in public, but he felt completely comfortable wearing it at Ravenwood because he “knew he wouldn’t be judged.”
Our interactions with guests follow this same pattern. We could close off the kitchen so that guests couldn’t see “how the sausage is made”. But we have been told time and time again that some of our guests’ fondest memories are hanging out by the kitchen door and chatting with the kitchen staff as they prepare breakfast. I guarantee that the feeling is mutual!
A while back, someone suggested that we were the happiest place on earth.
“Medieval-themed b&b? With gaming? And an on-site pub? Set in the Hocking Hills? You guys should sue Disney because you’re clearly the happiest place on earth.” – Tara Poling, BoardGameGeek.com
I am of course biased, but I tend to agree. Not just for the reasons Tara mentions, but because Ravenwood Castle feels so much like home for guests, staff and owners alike.
And after all, is there a happier feeling than coming home?