THE DAISH'S STORY
How it all began!
In 1979, the year that Mrs Thatcher became the first woman Prime Minister, the Shah of Iran was overthrown and the second series of Fawlty Towers was shown,
The Daish's Group was founded. Jeanne Wilson, who owned a small hotel purchased
Daish's Hotel in Shanklin on the Isle of Wight. This had once been one of the premier hotels on the island, having welcomed Queen Victoria (who stayed in room 31), but had fallen into serious disrepair by the 1970’s. After a year of renovation, mostly done by family and friends, Daish’s re-opened.
Much of the business in the early days came from coach companies in the West and East Midlands, particularly Barton’s of Nottingham, and the Wilsons decided they could offer a much better package if they also offered the transport themselves – and so Daish’s Coaches was born, with the purchase of their first coach.
Mrs Wilson went on to take ownership of a second Shanklin hotel, The Clifftops, in 1993, selling this in 1998, and at the same time starting the travel office, replacing bookings from travel agencies. In those days everything was done by phone and post of course and the fax was the height of technological innovation!
Many of the Daish’s staple features, including nightly live entertainment were included from the very beginning. This was the beginning of the end of the “traditional summer holiday”, when the growth of cheap foreign holidays meant that seaside resorts had to offer more to compete. One of the earliest regular turns was Joan Francis, the actress who played Dot Greenhalgh in Coronation Street.
Then came Newquay (1998)
After almost 20 years as an Island company the family decided to branch out to the mainland! In the same year as selling the Clifftops, the family purchased the Bredon Court Hotel in Newquay, attracted by its magnificent position overlooking Newquay Golf Course and the world-famous Fistral Beach. Staffs were recruited locally and many transferred from Shanklin. Mrs Wilson also moved to Cornwall to be near the business and oversee the new venture.
The big move to Torquay
The next purchase was the Devonshire Hotel in Torquay in 2001, which not only meant owning a third hotel, but also meant moving head office – and the family home – to the “English Riviera”
Moving head office to the Devonshire also resulted in the travel operations being re-located to Torquay, and the opening of a centralised booking office, with one central number, and a reservation system to handle the ever-increasing booking numbers and a growing coach fleet.
Bournemouth - and a change in
The next addition to the Group was the
Bournemouth Sands Hotel in 2005, giving the Group 4 hotels in all. In 2006 Bredon Court was closed for redevelopment into luxury apartments and in October 2007 the 3 star
Barrowfield Hotel in Newquay was purchased from the Cranstar group, bringing Daish's Group back up to its compliment of 4 Hotels.
Daish's staff - part of the
It is a feature of Daish’s that many of the staff have been with the company for many year – sometimes in one location, sometimes moving to new locations. Dave Bartlett, now manager of Daish’s Hotel, is a great example, having started in the kitchens aged 16 - almost 25 years ago! Daish’s customers often remark how reassuring it is to see many of the same faces each time they return, and to see them progress through the ranks.
Nigel, the manager of the Devonshire is another one who has come through the ranks, having first joined for summer work in Newquay in 2000, then moved to Torquay and progressed from restaurant manager to duty manager to general manager. Taking on the Barrowfield in Newquay meant taking on lots of staff from a different company, but it didn’t take long for them to become part of the family – helped by the Bredon Court staff moving across too.
Behind the scenes are also many long-serving Daish’s staff, housekeepers and chefs who have been with the company for 10 years or more, such as chef Barry and housekeeper Maddy in Daish’s. Pride of place must go to Paul the maintenance man at the Devonshire, who has been wielding his paintbrush here for well over 30 years!
And we can’t forget the cornerstone of Daish’s Travel – it’s wonderful, charming, knowledgeable, humorous, courteous and punctual drivers! Again, many of these have been with Daish’s for many years, including Karl the coaching manager, and regular drivers Craig, Chris, Kevin and many more.
The J-Team, the “young ladies” who take all the bookings and deal with the enquiries before arrival – and many after departure, such as lost belongings – are also long-serving Daish’s colleagues. Jane joined shortly after the travel office opened, in 2002, to be followed by Gillian, Jules, Julia, Julie and Jill. You don’t have to be a “J” to work here – but it helps!
In recent years Daish’s, in common with many hotels across the country, was been welcoming staff from other European states, particularly Poland and others in eastern Europe, who have impressed with their hard work, friendliness – and wonderful English!