Parkway Hotel

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Parkway Hotel's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Parkway Hotel is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Managing Director Ian Solkin
Parkway Hotel & Spa,
Cwmbran, South Wales
Founded in 2012, Parkway Hotel is a family-owned hotel
situated in over seven and half acres of private gardens
in Cwmbran, Newport. Parkway is a Four Star AA
accredited luxury hotel that has gone through a comprehensive
refurbishment in recent years. It boasts 70 en suite bedrooms, an
exclusive private members’ leisure club and spa and a restaurant
famed for its three-course carvery dinner. Managing Director
Ian Solkin and General Manager Kerry Jennings discuss their
outstanding facilities, while explaining their aims for the future.
As a family-owned hotel we take a hands-on approach and a personal pride in all
aspects of operating the hotel, with our number one aim being to create a home-
from-home atmosphere for the many types of guests that we cater for. This, we
believe, is the major difference between us and a chain-operated hotel, which can
be soulless in décor and character and offer no local pride. Many guests today
look for the personal touch and still want to be treated as an individual, and we
encourage our staff to take an engaging approach.
Smile: you are in showbusiness
As part of the staff induction we use the above phrase. It is a simple way to explain
to the staff that they are actors on a stage and that they are there to look after
the guest, with a smile and a caring attitude. We have extremely loyal staff and
a below-industry staff turnover. We employ mainly from the local workforce and
see this as a key aspect. We find that local staff take a greater pride in their quality
of hospitality and are often the best at informing the guest of what the area
»Managing Director: Ian Solkin
»General Manager: Kerry Jennings
»Owners: Peter and Lana De
»Founded in 2012
»Based in Cwmbran, Newport
»No. of employees: 80 to 100
full and part-time staff
»AA 4-star and 2 Rosette,
80-bedroom hotel with
conference banqueting
for 300 guests and a
1,000-member leisure club
Parkway Hotel
Highlighting best practice
has to offer. When employing staff,
especially young people, the number
one criterion is a positive attitude. We
firmly believe that we can teach the
skills required to do the job, but we
can’t teach a positive attitude: that
comes from within.
The facilities and the hotel
During the five years of owning the
hotel we have invested heavily in
all areas. It is vital that the product
is kept to a high standard, one that
will ensure the guest returns on
many occasions. We instruct all staff
to report breakages or breakdowns
immediately and we have a policy of
trying to fix any issues within 24 hours.
It’s a fool’s saving to dither, as the
customer will not appreciate broken
items and will potentially not return.
We spend a lot of time dressing the
hotel and see the presentation as a
film set, which is laid out to appeal
to the guest; we are not in the
furniture removal business. Many
hotels constantly move their furniture
around the hotel, trying to please
the customer. We take the opposite
attitude. It is extremely important that
the public rooms and guest bedrooms
are presented to the correct standard
365 days of the year, and this is a
major reason why guests will choose
our hotel above the competition.
A key feature of our service is the
many activities on offer at the hotel.
These can range from the leisure
facilities and spa to the residents-only
lounge (called the Dragons’ Den with
a log fire, TV, parlour games and
snooker table) and outside games on
the lawn in the summer. None of these
items cost a great deal to install, but
they all help create a homely and fun
Gold Award Wales in
Bloom gardens
Garden suite
A key feature
of our service
is the many
activities on
offer at the
Local focus and recognition
We are always keen that information is
made available to the guests about the
places to visit in the local area. We see
ourselves as ambassadors, helping to
promote the best that the region has
to offer. There is no conflict of interest:
if a guest has a great four days in the
region with plenty to do, they may
spread the word by telling their friends
of their experiences, or become a
repeat customer.
As part of our strategy, we actively
make it our ambition to win awards
and recognition. We find that this
is a great staff motivator and helps
to focus the staff in their strive for
excellence, as well as being great PR.
We have received a TripAdvisor
Excellence Award Certificate 2018,
the 2 Rosette AA Culinary Excellence,
the Visit Wales Gold Award 2018 and
the Wales in Bloom Gold Award for
The business plan
If all the above come together, the
business can grow and become
stronger. A key aspect of running
any hotel is quantifying the pricing
strategy. At the Parkway, we look for
a healthy occupancy and a positive
average room rate, minus VAT and
breakfast, which will then reveal
the amount of profit available per
bedroom. In this industry, despite
working hard to look after guests, it
is possible, at the end of the day, that
the monthly profit has not matched
expectations or endeavours.
We are also highly experienced at
adding value to the facilities of the
hotel and working with the local
council and planning departments to
gain unique planning permissions. In
2014 we gained permission to add 40
new bedrooms and from this we made
the decision to build eight new hotel
suites and two apartment suites, which
have been hugely successful.
Finally, we are custodians of
the Parkway Hotel and it is our
responsibility to run it to the best of
our ability, with the philosophy that
only the best will do, and second best
is not good enough for ourselves or
our guests. We like to think that by
adhering to the above ideas, we are
safeguarding and adding to the future
of the hotel for many years to come.
We are also
experienced at
adding value
to the facilities
of the hotel
and working
with the local
council and
to gain unique
Penthouse suite

This article was sponsored by Parkway Hotel. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister