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The Grove's story

Bethan Davies, Breakfast Supervisor, The Grove

The Grove

Whether you’re looking for a new challenge, a better balance of work and life, or to see familiar surroundings in a new light, a job in hospitality and tourism could well hold the key to a brighter future.

Members of staff at The Grove, a country house hotel and restaurant in Narberth, Pembrokeshire, share their own experiences of working in the industry and set out the many benefits on offer.

Bethan Davies, Breakfast Supervisor

Bethan Davies returned to the hospitality industry last year to work at The Grove having left her previous job during the pandemic in search of a better work-life balance.

“One of the benefits of working in hospitality is the flexibility - you can find work which suits your own schedule.

“After the pandemic, it became really clear to me that I needed something that suited my priorities and I’ve actually found the perfect job doing something that I really love.

“I like to think on my feet. My strengths are interacting and working with people, so it’s the perfect industry for me. There’s a lot of variety in what we do.

“We learn a lot about the incredible food on offer here from the chefs. I never thought I’d actually do wine tasting sessions and cocktail making classes, coffee tasting sessions - it’s brilliant to learn from people so passionate about what they do.

“You learn how to work under pressure, but do things that are fun and you get to work with a lot of fun people.

I’d definitely recommend everybody to try a job in hospitality.

“It might be something that you’re amazing at, it might be something that’s just a really great summer job. But I definitely recommend trying it.”

Christopher Walker, Senior Sous Chef

Senior sous chef Christopher started working in kitchens to take advantage of his love of cooking after leaving university where he studied business.

“Hospitality is such a big industry, and everyone is out to help each other. There’s great camaraderie. It definitely helps you develop your personal skills, communication, and leadership skills as you work your way up and you take on more responsibility.

“It’s a great industry to get into, and my advice to anyone thinking of joining is to take your time and learn the craft.

“In the kitchen it’s great to be part of such a close team of people, you spend a lot of time together and develop a real bond.

“Every day you come across something new, and you have freedom to experiment. You might see something on Instagram that looks really cool and you might want to try and do it in the kitchen, or put your own spin on it.

“At the end of the day what you’re doing is giving someone something and they’re getting enjoyment out of it. It’s very rewarding.

“Seeing people enjoy your food and getting feedback from them is great. It can be such a special occasion for them and you’re being part of it and helping them have a really good time.”

Claire Matthews, Receptionist

Claire Matthews said switching careers to work in hospitality around four years ago has given her more time and more opportunity to explore her beloved Pembrokeshire, which in turn has helped her become a vital contact for guests.

“What I love is getting people to really enjoy their stay and to get the most out of the Grove itself and also Pembrokeshire.

“I love living in Pembrokeshire, and even though I’ve lived here for over 20 years, this job has really encouraged me to go off and explore the area because you need to be able to explain to guests how to find places themselves and to suggest places to go and things to do whilst they are staying with us.

“Another reason I enjoy my job is the opportunity to meet people and to work as part of a team. We’re a diverse bunch with some members of the team from France, Germany and Italy.

Working in hospitality will set you up to go and work anywhere you want.”

Surya Davies, Head Gardener

Surya Davies has spent most of his career working in horticulture, but the lure of a role where he is expected to help create a great experience for guests saw him move back to Wales from England to work at The Grove’s stunning gardens.

“Working in the hospitality industry certainly adds a different dimension to my job, that being the guest experience. We make a big difference through our work, and are on hand for things like answering questions about our garden.

“The garden gives a totally different experience to guests; it’s very relaxing and connects them with nature. The garden team plays a big part in achieving this calm and relaxed environment. The overall look and design of venues like ours is really important and the outside spaces play an important part in the guest experience too.

“If a guest has a nice experience and likes your work then they will tell you or write it in the guestbook. It’s really sweet.

Hospitality is unique. What you have is people from all walks of life in one place. It’s really fun and I enjoy it.

 “It’s probably one of the most fun industries you can go into because of the interactions you have with people.”


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