Should vegans consider staying at West Park Hotel?
Hotels that cater for vegans
More often than not, I've stayed in a hotel whilst I'm on holiday. I like exploring and walking when I'm away, so when booking a hotel, I would think more about location and comfort, than food. This is because I would be hoping to eat while I'm out and about.
Within England, I've recently used hotels as a way of avoiding driving a long distance and then drive back again within a few hours. In these cases, I've usually booked hotels where breakfast is an extra option, and then had brunch before leaving to return home.
Staying at the West Park Hotel
I attended a conference some time ago and my colleague booked West Park Hotel as it as quite close to the conference hall.
I got in touch with them and explained that my colleague and I were vegan and made some enquiries about breakfast. The reception staff liaised with the catering team and made sure that they had some vegan milk and spread for toast, and they said that they would be able to cater for us, should we wish to dine at the hotel.
A number of unexpected meals at the hotel
We were happy with the range of items they had for breakfast but we fancied something hot, so we asked the waitress if the chef could make anything for us. We were blown away but how willing, open and creative they were. The chef or someone from his team spoke with us and they came up with 3 different breakfasts during our stay! We had a vegan omelette, chickpea pancakes and polenta and vegetables. They were delicious!
Our first dinner at the hotel was a planned event. It was a bit special because someone had come from London to Harrogate to spend time with my colleague, so we booked a table for 3 and were impressed with their vegan menu.
After these positive experiences, we had a few more meals at the hotel and each time, we felt so looked after.
Something that I popped in to indulge on, at no particular time, was the strawberry and ginger sorbet. It was delicious!
How can you make sure that you get catered for when you're staying in a hotel?
I think that most businesses understand that their role is to provide great customer service and ensure that they care for their clients in such a way, that they become a fan. Hotels are no different. I'm sure they would want one stay to result in future bookings and perhaps some positive feedback too.
If I was to recommend anything, it would be to ensure that you get in touch with the hotel beforehand and tell them when you're planning to stay and find out if they have a vegan menu or vegan options for breakfast and other meals. If they don't have the latter; make suggestions, such as, vegan milk and margarine, which is readily available in 'regular' supermarkets, vegan sausages, bread without eggs or honey and so on. I would go as far as to suggesting some brands so they realise that they know about them already; they just didn't know they were vegan!
If you go ahead with the booking, I'd ask the receptionist about vegan options for lunch or dinner and find out what they can make. Again, make some suggestions or do what I do, which is explain which ingredients I won't eat i.e. ensure that they're confident about what's vegan and what isn't, and then suggest that they search for some recipes online and make them their own when they make them. If you're talking about breakfast, it might help them to search for a vegan alternative for omelette for example.
"Anything is possible if we ask for it when we are drenched with kindness and clarity."
- Heena Modi