In this month’s feature we speak to Michael Stenson – General Manager at The Nottingham Belfry – about his early career days, the Belfry hotel as a venue for conferences and events, his favourite places in Nottingham, and much more.
Where did it all begin?
Zimbabwe. I grew up on a tobacco and cattle farm in a remote area called Tengwe (most Zimbabweans don’t know where it is!). I began my hotel career at the Meikles Hotel in Harare, working my way up through the Conference and Banqueting Department to Restaurant and Bar’s Manager, responsible for 19 restaurants and bars. I then got my first General Manager opportunity at Illala Lodge in Victoria Falls, then moved to manage the Golf and Casino Resort, Leopard Rock. In 2002 I moved with my family to the UK.
What do you think makes Nottingham Belfry unique for hosting events?
I believe it is a combination of two things. The first and most important is the Conference and Events Team. This is headed up by Kelly, supported by Zoe, Tracey, Laura and all of the wonderful people that make up our great Conference and Events Team. Kelly and her team are working hard to ensure that our conference and event organisers and their delegates feel cared for and attended to with a focus on what is important to each conference or event. The second is our conference and event facility which is very flexible and can be altered to suit almost any event from a mini meeting through to an event for up to 500 delegates.
What’s the most memorable event you have worked on so far?
Being responsible for the Gala Dinner at Meikles Hotel hosted by Nelson Mandela.
What’s your favourite area in the hotel?
Conference and Banqueting, as it is really where my hotel career started and it will always be my passion.
In your spare time what do you like to do in Nottingham?
In my spare time I am a keen sailor, and crew on a Flying Fifteen. My home club is in Rugby, but once a year my Helm and I race in the Notts County Sailing Club Open. We are always made to feel very welcome by the members there who always put on a wonderful event in a great setting, and the evening social at the club on the Saturday night is always great too!