For 15 years, the brand of the g Hotel and Spa has been synonymous with style, glamour, fun. It was conceived at a time when its bold design wowed all who visited it, catapulting itself into the front row of Ireland's chic-est hotels. A hotel that age cannot wither with a wow factor that never fades.
Managing that wow factor and making it even wowier now falls into the delighted hands of a new team of creative professionals at the g Hotel, all part of a group whose aim it is to make the g Hotel the venue of choice for all events at a time when the eyes of Europe will be on Galway.
With GM Andrew Drysdale in position for just over a year, the team at the g has been bolstered by the addition of three experienced and creative appointments — Olivia Frawley as Director of Sales; Debbie Foott as Wedding and Events Co-ordinator; and Leanne Mc- Cafferty who has responsibility for digital marketing.
I visited the hotel last week to meet Debbie Foott and Olivia Fraw- ley (Leanne was at the ploughing championship selling the hotel and its sister venues ) and they enthusiastically told me of their passion for a hotel that is forever at the forefront of style and chicness. Their enthusiasm told me just how much the role has gripped them and how excited they are at the prospect of being custodians of the g Hotel image.
Olivia Frawley, Director of Sales, g Hotel
Prior to her appointment at the g Hotel and Spa, Olivia Frawley had been global director for Omni Resorts based in Boston, and prior to that had worked with Starwood Hotels and the Jurys Doyle Hotel in Boston — all of which were positions which armed her admirably for what she called the "perfect fit" of working with an iconic brand such as the g Hotel.
“IntheUSthegisverymuch recognised as a 5 star chic and unique city centre hotel in trade circles. My sister has always kept me well informed of exciting hotel developments and she’s been a major fan and told me that with the g Hotel, was the place to be and be seen and it’s high profile venue which has a feel good factor for all who visit. My sister is a great g Ambassador! said Olivia. "And when I got here I saw exactly what she meant.” "I came in here after spending some years in the US in the high-end hospitality market, so coming back here to the g Hotel was a perfect fit for me," she added.
Debbie Foott came from the south vowing that she would not leave her native Cork unless an offer came from the g Hotel, and so it transpired.
Prior to the role at the g Hotel, she worked as House Manager and Wedding Co-ordinator at Ballyvol- ane House in Cork, as well as for the Blue Haven collection in Kin- sale, and she has a rule of never creating the same wedding twice, always adding a unique difference. "Winner of Best City Wedding Venue by RSVP Magazine, the g Hotel provides one of the best wed- ding experiences in Ireland. The art deco wedding suite is ideal for a civil ceremony with panache or an elegant seated wedding reception, with many couples choosing to hold both at the g Hotel.
"Offering great flexibility, couples can choose from a variety of upgrades to create a tailored wedding package specific to their hopes and dreams. The civil ceremonies are held in the presidential suite, overlooking Lough Atalia. It is a hidden gem, and is offered to every couple on the night of their wedding," says Debbie.
"It was nice to get the award because we only sit 180 people, so we cater for couples who want a unique wedding. With a wedding of that size, we can make it a unique bespoke wedding with touches individual to the couple involved. Every single wedding that I've arranged here has been different, in terms of decor and food, and that's the way I am going to continue, working with each couple to give them what they are looking for oil the biggest day of their lives."
Creating a unique wedding
Debbie says that she is able to create different weddings because she has a passion for it and by keeping on top of global trends in the wedding market.
"The unique design of the hotel offers many opportunities for all sorts of events. Everyone wants that wow photo from their wed- ding day that they want to show to their friends and families. Weddings are becoming more Instagrammable and social media friendly than they were ten years ago, so the g Hotel offers the perfect backdrop for every couple’s imagery and memories on their big day. It doesn't matter what the weather is like outside, because inside, the Signature Lounges are always stunning from the Pink Ladies Lounge to the bright and luxurious Grand Salon. The silver on the walls is always there, whether it is wet or sunny," she added.
Olivia said that the g Hotel was created at a time when the concept of the boutique hotel was cool and sexy, and it still has that vibe. "With the Galway Races this year, we had a very strong millinery feel to our events, which is appropriate given the original design concept of the hotel. We got a great reaction to that, and through the events we hold here at the hotel, we are well aware of the perception that this stylish hotel has in the minds of all who visit here to stay, to eat, to have fun.
"When Philip Treacy was designing this hotel, he was ahead of the game," said Debbie. "He made something that would never really go out of fashion; although it is bold and it is bright, there are a lot of aspects that will always be here to stimulate the senses. But it is much more than just the physical building. The staff and food are a major factor in its attraction.
"The food is a major attraction. Head chef Jason O'Neill and his team are serving restaurant quality food in the banqueting room. And every couple is looking for something different in terms of food choice and we can meet their demands for quality food across a variety of dietary options. According to Debbie, there has always been great interest in Gal- way in the concept of the g Hotel, because people have such positive memories of attending events here. Olivia said that since her arrival this summer, Debbie and her- self have attended events and organisations such as BPW and the welcome from people working in other hotels has been open-armed.
"I think the concept of 'if you are good for Galway, Galway will be good to you' has been very obvious. We are looking forward to welcoming in locals to see the changes here at the g Hotel and to wow them with the imaginatively conceived and designed events that we stage here."
Already demand is high for Christ-mas parties at this glittering venue and there are many corporate enquiries about the venue as an ideal base for doing business, especially for the tech and medtech sector who want to hold their events in a chic contemporary setting.
Olivia also spoke of the great synergy that exists between the g Hotel and the sister hotels in the group and of plans to highlight these links.
"You can go to afterwork cocktails in The House; have dinner in the Meyrick and stay the night at the g Hotel. We can look after everyone at every time. There are some great ideas coming out about how we can collaborate a lot more, so watch this space," she said. All in all, it is an exciting time at the g Hotel and Spa and all who visit it. The iconic hotel is in great hands as it goes into its 16th year.