Caroline Thwaites – Housekeeping Manager
Caroline lives on the Estate with her husband and two dogs, Ginty and Biddy. We asked Caroline what a day in her life entails and you’d be surprised!
What is a regular day?
Of course there’s managing staff and preparing accommodation, with just 6 hours to turn everything around from departures to arrivals, however, balancing modern day standards, with such a historic property, has its challenges. For example, the curtains are original and over 100 years old, they can’t be dry cleaned or replaced every couple of years, so great care needs to be taken when cleaning certain areas of the house.
At this moment in time we are also working on deep cleaning, right down to stripping back the beds to the slats and cleaning them, polishing brass, taking inventory – so that every accommodation has the exact kitchen equipment needed for a stay.
How do you balance living ‘on the job’?
It has great advantages, the scenery is to die for and it’s a perfect location for exploring with my dogs. You can be somewhat ‘on-call’ should anyone need anything, but it’s a small price to pay for such a unique position.
What do you think is important for guests in terms of accommodation?
Absolutely an excellent standard of cleanliness, but attention to detail elevates that experience. We use only Egyptian cotton bedding, 100% cotton towels, and our towels are large to envelope yourself in after a bath, not scrappy little squares of cotton! I’m also enjoying working on welcome baskets for occasions. At Christmas we prepared beautiful baskets for guests with cake, a card, wine, tea, biscuits, and even pet treats if they brought a four-legged friend.
What’s the most unusual thing left behind by a guest?
Well, a cat was recently lost, and thankfully found. But right now we’re actually hunting high and low for our house key that was misplaced by a guest. The key is original and 100 years old, so it’s not simply a matter of cutting a new key, or changing locks, we are searching through years of keys to try and find a spare that fits the original Victorian lock.
Who would be your ultimate guest?
That’s a difficult decision, there are a few:
My Dad. He passed when I was 11, but he would have loved Ardtornish. He was a keen fisherman and liked to go out shooting. In his welcome basket there would be a fishing reel, a few flies, a sample of Ardtornish venison and a Scottish salmon.
Prince Harry and Prince William would be great guests! I’m sure they would connect with our location, given their fondness for the great outdoors. Also the publicity they would bring would be appreciated! In their welcome basket I would put a bottle of Ardnamurchan Spirit, a sample of Ardtornish beef, perhaps some poo bags in case they bring Lupo!
Channing Tatum, because he’s very nice to look at, and in his welcome basket…maybe my phone number?!
I’m sure a lot of ladies are with you on Channing Tatum Caroline! Thank you for allowing us a little insight to your work and life at Ardtornish Estate.