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LADIES OF THE LODGE

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You never know who might be coming to stay at Sir Richard Branson’s Alpine home. One of nine destinations in the Virgin Limited Edition, the property offers an indoor pool, two jacuzzis, fully-equipped spa treatment room and four chefs – the perfect mountain retreat. The team working at The Lodge need to be prepared for anyone and everything…

“My job is varied. One week you might have a quiet family of four, the next could be a busy corporate group of 42. Generally I start the day doing breakfast service, then help the guests get prepared for the mountain, before organising everything for the rest of the day. My favourite part of the job is hosting the corporate party groups. After a day up on the mountain, the first place they head to is après-ski, where they are ready to do some serious partying. We normally head to the front by the stage, then our job is to make sure they have all the drinks they need – often it’s jugs of beer which get liberally shared around. The group will then come back for dinner, before heading back out. Sometimes they’ll be dancing until the early morning at Etoile Rouge, then coming back to The Lodge to continue the party – they certainly have the stamina! The last hangers-on might go to bed at 6am, then I might be making Bloody Marys at 7am. The contrast is when we have a family group coming to stay; then you might have a live band coming to play with an audience of dancing kids. I love every second of this job…” Abigail Climpson-Stewart, Guest Services Manager“I was meant to go to New York, but I couldn’t get a visa, so one of my friends called me and said he had work for me in Verbier. I didn’t even know where it was. I then heard about the job at The Lodge when I was rock climbing in the summer with Hugh, one of the chalet’s chefs. A normal day for me is starting at 7am on a breakfast shift, prepping the buffet and sending out hot breakfast orders that the guests place with our front of house team as they come down for breakfast. then prep for the rest of the day, for example, making bread and afternoon tea. On today’s menu we have beetroot salad, roast chicken and lemon tart. The menu varies hugely as we use local, seasonal produce. The next chef will come in and take over at 2pm and continue prepping for dinner service. Last week we cooked for 42 people from Thailand – they came into the kitchen to cook for themselves as well a lot of the time, which was a lot of fun.” Linda Söderlund, Chef

“I used to work on Necker Island for Virgin Limited Edition but decided to swap my flip flops for ski boots and began working at The Lodge as the Front of House Manager six years ago. I took over as General Manager in October 2015 and have loved every minute of it. Most days I arrive around 7:30am and do a quick walk around the property and brief the team on the guest activities for the day before spending a few minutes at my desk. During this time I work on pre-arrival guest correspondence, ensuring that guest requests are looked after and that each stay is truly unique to each group. I’ll then run around helping with breakfast, which is a great part of my job as I’m not just sat at a desk all day. I get involved with the guests’ experience from start to finish. I manage a team of 15 so that is an interesting challenge and one where no day is the same! One of my favourite experiences and enjoyments working at The Lodge is organising weddings. We had three during my first summer in Verbier and have another two coming up this summer. It’s great to add all the finishing touches that make it extra special for the guests. Another perk working at The Lodge is that we are open during both winter and summer seasons which is a rare find in Verbier. I love the contrast of the seasons here. We have the skiing in the winter, which is equally as amazing as summer when you can bike, hike or paraglide – it’s a really active and fantastic place to live and work.”  Ashley Crook, General Manager

My job here is a bit like being Mary Poppins, I have quite a diverse role. I’ll start off the day working alongside the front of house team where I might help empty the dishwasher, then I might make coffee and tea, and then run around stocking up firewood before the guests return in the afternoon. Then I go down to the spa around midday and get everything ready for my afternoon treatments. I then do some admin, emails and boring things like that before submerging myself in lavender around 3.30pm where I normally do up to four hours of treatments. Then I become Mary Poppins again and prepare the bedrooms for the evening by carrying out our turndown service – I adore this part of the day because I love being meticulous making sure the room is perfect for the guest. Adjusting the lighting, putting a chocolate on the pillow, and ensuring the room is nice and tidy – everything has to be perfect! I like to make sure people feel special and that people are being looked after really well. After turndown, I sometimes help the front of house team a bit more before heading home for the day. Some of our guests have stayed at The Lodge up to 9 times, so I work hard to ensure their experience is a good as their last one! All of the guests I have met so far have been amazing and I remind myself often of just how lucky I am to be here.” Georgie Nicholls, Spa Therapist


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