Bedford Lodge Hotel

Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa celebrates International Women’s Day 2022

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Bedford Lodge

To mark International Women’s Day 2022 (8 March) Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa, in Newmarket, Suffolk, celebrates the impact and achievements of its 111-strong female team.

At the four AA Red Star hotel, which was originally built as a hunting lodge for the sixth Duke of Bedford in the 18th century, women make up 73% of the workforce (111 out of 152), and the hotel’s leadership team is made up of 64% women.

“On this International Women’s Day, we would like to celebrate the immense achievements of our wonderful female workforce, every member of which contributes to Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa being the award-winning hotel it is today, and makes it a hugely rewarding, fun and convivial place to work. From Bedford Lodge’s roots as a hunting lodge built for the Duke of Bedford, to the pioneering female-led workplace it is today, the hotel’s journey has been a very exciting one. Bedford Lodge would not be the place it is today without the huge contribution of women over its history, from Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford and ‘inventor’ of Afternoon Tea, to our modern day, much-valued female team members.” Rachael Montagner, Sales & Marketing Manager, who has been a member of the Bedford Lodge team for 11 years

Bedford Lodge Womens Day

Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa is proud to have many longstanding members of female staff who have been with the company for significant lengths of time – up to 25 years in the case of Wanna Taylor who has been a Kitchen Porter at Bedford Lodge since 1997. Arriving from Thailand with her new husband and not speaking any English, Wanna found employment at the hotel’s kitchen, and during her epic tenure there has worked with six Head Chefs and seen many changes over the years. She is a much-loved and huge character within the team: “Everyone is my friend; everyone is my family!”

Another longstanding member of the team is Kay Blanchard, Executive Head Housekeeper, who has been with the team for nearly ten years. Following in her Mum’s footsteps – who was a Head Housekeeper at the Petwood Hotel – Kay began working as a chambermaid as a teenager in the school holidays, before joining the cruise ships to travel the world as a Cabin Stewardess. Kay says: “Since joining Bedford Lodge, I’ve loved building up my amazing team who work so hard to make sure that our guests have a great stay, and whilst I’ve been here, we have achieved 4 AA Red Stars, which was a very proud moment. The past couple of years, with all the challenges we have faced, have shown how strong my team of Housekeepers are.”

Bedford Lodge

In its illustrious history, Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa is notable as home to the originator of the concept of Afternoon Tea. Anna Maria Russell, 7th Duchess of Bedford (1783-1857) and lifelong friend of Queen Victoria, who resided at Bedford Lodge with her husband, the 7th Duke of Bedford, came up with the concept of Afternoon Tea whilst visiting the 5th Duke of Bedford at Belvoir Castle in the mid-1840s. During the 18th century, dinner came to be served later and later in the day until, and an extra meal called luncheon had been created to fill the midday gap between breakfast and dinner, but as this new meal was very light, the long afternoon with no refreshment at all left people feeling hungry, so she found a light meal of tea (usually Darjeeling) and cakes or sandwiches to be the perfect balance. The Duchess found the afternoon snack to be such a perfect refreshment that she soon began inviting her friends to join her, and Afternoon Tea quickly became an established routine in many upper middle and upper class households. Bedford Lodge naturally serves an exquisite Afternoon Tea daily in her memory.

An overnight stay at Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa is from £155 per room (two sharing a king-sized bedroom), including full English breakfast and use of the Health & Fitness Club with its 15m indoor pool plus Jacuzzi. For more information, or to book a table and/or overnight stay, please visit www.bedfordlodgehotel.co.uk or call 01638 663175

Press: For media enquiries, restaurant reviews, press visits, photography, or interviews, please contact

Lizzie Cooper or Sue Ockwell at Travel PR on 020 8891 4440 or 07772 136027 (Lizzie) or

or 07831 126 356 (Sue), or email l.cooper@travelpr.co.uk or s.ockwell@travelpr.co.uk.

Notes to editors:

Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa, Newmarket’s only 4-star hotel – with 80 comfortable, well-designed guest rooms and suites – sits amidst the world-famous town’s horseracing paddocks/training stables. Boasting a superb two-AA rosette restaurant, stylish bar, seating indoors/out, plus a 15m indoor swimming pool/Jacuzzi/gym, it’s perfect for weddings and conferences (with superb facilities within a private garden), as well as for special treats; Bedford Lodge simply oozes friendly, personal service. A separate luxury 5-Bubble spa* (with hydrotherapy pool, 10 treatment rooms and roof-top hot tub) sits a short garden stroll away (advance booking essential).

Bedford Lodge Hotel was originally a Georgian hunting lodge, built for the 6th Duke of Bedford. The much-loved concept of Afternoon Tea was created, in 1845, by the wife of the 7th Duke of Bedford. The famous tradition continues today, and is, naturally, a speciality at Bedford Lodge Hotel. Nestled in three secluded acres of rose gardens, close to both world-class Newmarket racecourses, the hotel also offers easy access to charming Suffolk countryside, Tudor-era Lavenham, Cambridge, Bury St Edmunds & Ely’s stunning mediaeval cathedral.

*Located adjacent to the hotel, The Spa is open from Wednesday to Sunday; there is an additional charge to enjoy its excellent facilities. The spa can be prebooked by contacting spareservations@bedfordlodgehotel.co.uk or by calling 01638 676 130.

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