A step into football past and present

Here, at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, we’ve had a busy February with some interesting conference events including a couple of banqueting dinners and the exciting opening of the new Education and Heritage Centre with a Menu Showcase booked in for April.

Our planned menu showcase on the 5th April will allow us to show off our talents and display the best of what we can offer to a captive market. Stephen Frost and Fritz Machala are at the forefront of this event producing a wonderful display of canapés, bowl food and banqueting options.  We will surprise and delight guests by offering a wide array of dining locations from the multi-purpose corporate boxes, to drinks receptions in the dressing rooms and elegant dining in the heart of the new Education and Heritage Centre which opened on 22nd February.

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The Education and Heritage Centre is a major contribution to the stadium and adds another string to our bow for hospitality. It offers a new dimension of bringing children and youth groups to the stadium for our ‘Sporting Heroes’ and ‘Little Legends’ catering packages.

The Education and Heritage Centre tells the unique story of Northern Irish football using a varied range of media, immersive physical interactives and key artefacts from the 1880s to the present day. A 45 minute walking tour, covering ¼ mile, visitors can relive the atmosphere of match day, gain insights into the drama on and off the pitch and feel the rush of emotions shared by everyone inside the stadium, whether their team wins or loses.  Additional to the centre guided tour, visitors can also go behind the scenes and take a seat in the Northern Ireland changing room, sharpen their knowledge in the Press Room and sit in the dug-out and walk out the tunnel of the Green and White Army.

When hosting the tours around the stadium, surprisingly, to most popular request by the ladies, is to see the ice baths in the changing rooms. These functional ‘climb in’ spaces seem to attract much attention, not for what they are, but for who uses them!  The gents on the other hand like to get their selfies taken in the hot seats of the manager’s chairs in the press conference room.  Exciting times ahead as we look to create amazing hospitality in the most unusual settings.  A personal challenge that is more than welcome.  Who says you host can’t a drinks reception in the shower rooms and a wedding reception in the museum?

Laura West, Sales Manager, National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, Northern Ireland.

For information about holding an event at the stadium, contact the Central Enquiry Hub on 0845 6055 699 or email venues&events.prestige.uk@sodexo.com  or take a look at their page online

Promotion, Pies & the Premier League: Part 2

St. James’ Park stadium, a true landmark in Newcastle upon Tyne, is home to Newcastle United Football Club. The team were recently crowned Champions having secured a promotion to the Premier League after their 4-1 win against Preston North End this April.

NUFC Celebration 2017

The Newcastle United team celebrate their promotion

The Club’s history has undoubtedly had its highs and lows. This will be the Club’s second return to the top flight in seven years; having previously been relegated back in 2009 and bouncing straight back to the Premiership in the summer of 2010. Six years in the Premier League were then abruptly halted with relegation in 2016. However the club, headed by Rafa Benitez, returned back to the top at the first opportunity, proving that they are well and truly a top flight team in every sense.

Sodexo has provided catering at the stadium for the last seven years and shared this promotion-journey with them. We caught up with Frankie Angus, General Manager, who talked about what the promotion means for the club and the catering team moving forward.

What has the journey been like to secure promotion?

An emotional rollercoaster to say the least! The Championship brings so many more matches to the table.  We have provided hospitality at 27 home games this season including league, competition and friendly matches – far more than previous years in the Premier League. After a disappointing start, we picked up the pace and by mid-October we remained in 1st and 2nd position in the league table until the end of the season.  Our hospitality has always been of Premiership standard and therefore as a catering-provider our service has always remained top flight quality.  Following our match against Preston North End which secured promotion, we were then challenged with the chance of being hailed Champions, approaching the last two games with a 7 point deficit against Brighton. We were crowned Champions on the last game of the season and the celebration roar from the crowd could be heard for miles around.

How has your journey to the Premier League affected day to day operations?

We’ve always thought and operated like a Premier League club so we’ve not really seen a huge difference. From the start of the season, our crowds have always remained high, due to the immense passion in the city for the football club.  Crowd numbers haven’t faltered all season and averaged 51,000 at home games.  Our hospitality numbers have also remained strong all season, however, following our promotion we were completely sold out in all hospitality areas, with over 2,500 hospitality guests attending the last game of the season. We have a very close working relationship with the club and we also have nine years’ worth of intelligence to make sure we forecast and stock up accordingly.

What does being promoted to the Premier league mean to you all?

It’s a big operation here at St. James’ Park. We have a team of 65 and on match day we can have 1000 staff. We all feel extremely proud of the promotion and privileged to have been part of it. When Rafa, our First Team Manager decided to stay at St James’ Park at the end of the 2015/16 season we all knew that we were in safe hands and confident he could get us back to top flight football.  His passion and desire to succeed is emulated throughout our whole business and we all strive to be the best.  Now that we are back in the Premier League we can prove that’s where we should always be.  We are United in every sense and the forthcoming season is going to be very exciting.

Looking forward to next season, what can we expect to see?

Our Stadium Manager is constantly refurbishing the stadium both on the concourses and in the hospitality areas, so this year is no exception.  Plans are in place to refurbish 3 of our hospitality suites and also to improve our onsite car parking areas surrounding the stadium.  Less matches in the Premier League doesn’t mean we will be any less busy.  Plans are continuing to expand on menu offerings on matchdays while ensuring our hospitality remains second to none.

For more information about St. James’ Park visit www.nufc.co.uk

Hampden Park’s New Look

Last month, Hampden Park football stadium – known proudly as Scotland’s National Stadium and situated in the Mount Florida area of Glasgow – unveiled a luxurious, new suite of event spaces.

The refurbishment resulted in the rebranding of 26 executive boxes. Now known sonorously as ‘Skyboxes,’ this new title denotes their extraordinary vantage point over the pitch. Decorated in a modern style, with sleek, minimalist fittings and colourful new furniture, they’ve been ‘kitted’ out with the latest technology too, supporting corporate clients in hosting board room lunches and meetings at the venue.

Hoping to attract a more versatile events business, the space is now more flexible than ever – boxes can be joined together to create rooms double or even quadruple their original size. Plus, if you want to get closer to the feeling of football, or create a break-out space for events, access to outdoor pitch-side seating (and some glorious, brisk Scottish air) is easily accessible.

SkyBox

The spaces’ breath-taking views and new look have already been met with admiration, as Peter Dallas, Hampden Park Ltd’s Managing Director, stated: “We are extremely pleased our vibrant new Skybox concept has received such positive reviews from our visitors so quickly. Working in partnership with our long-standing partner Sodexo, Hampden now offers conferencing and banqueting facilities that are amongst the best in the country.”

Hampden Park’s renovations also extended to their North Stand lounge, transforming it into a contemporary events space and re-dubbing it the ‘Skylounge.’. Now suitable for both private and corporate bookings (whereas before this space was reserved only for match-day hospitality guests), the lounge has a generous capacity of 150 persons.

Hampden SkyLounge © Sandy Young

SkyLounge

The new designs accommodate all types of visitors to Hampden Park; from events guests to football fans, the local business community and beyond. Despite being one of the oldest football institutions in the country (with the first Hampden Park stadium, originally at a different site, dating back to the 17th century) this stadium is clearly stealing a march on the stadia competition.

Did this spark your interest? If so, check out our article ‘10 Reasons to choose a stadium for your next event

For further details on Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events call the central enquiry hub on 0845 6055 699, or email Venues&Events.Prestige.UK@Sodexo.com or visit www.prestigevenuesandevents.sodexo.com.

Driving away inequality with Edinburgh Food Social

We recently teamed up with partners Edinburgh Food Social (EFS) and unveiled a brand-new food truck to tackle food inequality in the Scottish capital.

This exciting, new project between ourselves and EFS aims to provide cookery education to schools and communities in Edinburgh.

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Edinburgh Food Social © Lesley Martin 2017

The social enterprise was set up by City Businesswoman, Eleanor Cunningham, who also runs the Edinburgh Larder cafes and catering business in the city. Eleanor successfully launched a crowdfunding campaign last year to raise funds for the project, raising a total of £10,000. We also pledged our support behind the venture by providing a financial donation, as well as forming a long-term partnership with the not-for-profit organisation. The relationship will see our chefs and catering staff leading workshops and sharing their knowledge with participants of the food truck initiative.

Eleanor said: “We want to encourage young people and their parents to cook more and found that many families felt they didn’t have the skills to prepare a wholesome meal from scratch using accessible, fresh ingredients. We want to give people the confidence to cook again and to teach them that healthy eating does not need to be expensive. So far we’ve been able to deliver healthy eating and cooking programmes to six schools in Edinburgh, as well as taking part in the two-day ‘Power of Food’ festival which celebrates community gardens and seasonal produce. We can now expand the initiative and will be unveiling a series of workshops, cookery classes and school visits later this year, where the food truck will act as a mobile classroom and provide a purpose-built kitchen.”

Chair Eleanor Cunningham

Founder, Eleanor Cunningham

Our very own Sandy Robson, who is working on the project with EFS, also commented: “At Sodexo we are passionate about local food and sharing our skills with the next generation. Learning to cook can be the first step in developing a passion for food, this in turn can lead to a rewarding and diverse career in hospitality. We hope that together with EFS, we can extend beyond simply improving the quality of dishes that families cook together and encourage some of the young people to consider a career in hospitality.”

The food truck was officially launched with the help of Gracemount High School, whose pupils have already benefited from the exciting project.

For further information about the initiative visit www.edinburghlarder.co.uk/socialenterprise/

The season never has to end… 10 reasons to choose a stadium for your next event

 

1.Plenty of free parking onsite. No matter how good the meeting, delegates will always begrudge paying for parking at an event, or event struggling to find parking at all.

2.Easy to get to. Stadiums often have easy access to railways nearby and great road links.

3.An excellent view.  Many of today’s stadiums features lounges with pitch views.  This feature is one that is impressive to both sports and non-sports fans.

4.A sporting message. A sports stadium lends itself immediately to events with team work and success related objectives.  “Get back into the Game”, “What it takes to Win”, “getting to the Top of our League”, “Teamwork will help Drive Us”, and of course, the reference to goals is a natural tie-in.

5.Unique Style. Although built for a specific purpose, each stadium has its own particular character, which is driven by the colourful history of its home teams. This type of historical reference creates a unique quality in the venue that cannot be matched by another.

Headingley Experience

Headingley Experience

6.Quirky ‘extras.’ Events in the players’ changing rooms, plenary’s delivered from the stands, unique team photo opportunities –elements like these bring a new twist to events, that just cannot be duplicated in a non-stadium venue.

7.Universal appeal Whether it’s a small meeting for ten in a box, a large conference for 350, an exhibition, wedding or a dinner dance, the variety of spaces in a stadium ensure that it’s likely somewhere in the stadium will suit your event.

8.Space and plenty of it. Stadiums feature multiple lounges and boxes, usually allowing multiple events to be on site at the same time. The added bonus here is late lead-in flexibility, so when half the boxes are booked, there are still another batch available for last minute enquiries who may be stuck finding space at short notice.

9.A local message.  If your event is trying to deliver a message about the local market and community, the local sporting stadium is the ideal community location from which to deliver that message to the delegates.

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Angus the bull, Aberdeen FC

10.A memorable event . Every delegate who attends an event at a stadium, remembers that they went to an event at a stadium!

For further details on Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events call the central enquiry hub on 0845 6055 699, or email Venues&Events.Prestige.UK@Sodexo.com or visit www.prestigevenuesandevents.sodexo.com.

Centuries old, still fresh: Chefs revive recipes from Blair Castle’s archives

We are lucky to work in some of the country’s most prestigious and historic venues, whether as the full-time caterer or for one-off events. Just being in these spaces provides a wealth of inspiration. For our chefs at Blair Castle – a stunning stately home and visitor attraction in Highland Perthshire – the recent Highlanders’ Parade provided the perfect occasion to get creative and pay homage to the venue’s own Highland army.

The Atholl Highlanders are Europe’s only remaining private army and are based at Blair Castle. More than 1500 visitors descend on the venue on the last weekend of May to watch their annual march. Keen to ensure the food played a central role in the celebration, Head Chef, George Urquhart, teamed up with the Castle’s own archivist to study and translate centuries’ old recipes stored in the attraction’s records, choosing three to re-create to serve to guests attending the May parade.

The dishes, which were added to the menu in the Tullibardine Restaurant, included Roe Deer Mariane – a very slow cooked venison stew, which in the 18th century would have taken almost a month to prepare, and Essence of Beef – a pulled beef dish served with mash and spring greens. This recipe was shared with the Atholl family’s cook during a trip to Westminster in the early 1900s.

Sweet treat Gingerbread was offered for desert with local tipple, Atholl Brose – which is similar to Baileys but consists of oats, honey and whisky (and is available to buy from the gift shop). According to local legend, the drink is named after the 1st Earl of Atholl, who quashed a Highland rebellion in 1475 by filling the well of the rebel leader with this mixture. It is said that the enemy enjoyed the drink so much he passed out and was easily captured.

Beef

Roe Deer Mariane, Essence of Beef & Atholl Brose

Chef George Urquhart, of Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events at Blair Castle, said: “We wanted to create a really special dining experience on what is a spectacular and historic day for the Castle. What better way than to leap in to the archives and take inspiration from the cooks that have gone before us.

“Despite changes in modern technology and cooking styles, it was very humbling to discover that these old recipes reflected the core ethos of the restaurant today – to serve hearty, Scottish fayre using the best local ingredients available.”

Chef Gordon Urquhart and Castle Archivist Keren Guthrie 2 (2)

Chef Gordon Urquhart & Castle Archivist, Keren Guthrie

As well as discovering recipes for hearty meals, the archivist also unearthed guides to medicinal potions, such as a cure for ‘The Vapours’ (hysteria and fainting) dating from 1690, which involved collecting and soaking woodlice in whisky, before crushing the mixture and drinking it on an empty stomach twice a day! Seems like Chef George chose the right recipes for the celebration.

For further details on Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events call the central enquiry hub on 0845 6055 699, or email Venues&Events.Prestige.UK@Sodexo.com or visit www.prestigevenuesandevents.sodexo.com.

Footy Fabulous: Sodexo’s awards sweep at the Stadium Experience Awards ‘17

Football Clubs – Hampden Park, Dundee United, Newcastle United, Everton, Aberdeen and Brighton & Hove Albion – put their best foot forward (pun intended) at The Stadium Experience Awards 2017. The awards focus on clubs’ off-the-pitch successes, recognising the achievements of the catering, conference and events teams, and hosted in the newly expanded Anfield, home of Liverpool Football Club.

The Brighton team, Stadium Events and Hospitality Awards 2017

Winning an outstanding total of 8 awards (out of 10 categories!), a huge congratulations is due. Sodexo could not be prouder of their partnerships with Hampden Park, Dundee United, Newcastle United, Everton, Aberdeen and Brighton & Hove Albion and are thrilled to have the efforts and dedication of their catering, conference and events teams recognised. A big well done to all!

The award wins are as follows:

  1. Hampden Park Stadium – WINNER – Overall Matchday Hospitality Award
  2. Hampden Park Stadium – Gold – Matchday Hospitality Award – Large Stadium
  3. Dundee United FC – Bronze – Matchday Hospitality Award – Small Stadium
  4. Newcastle United FC – Gold – Directors Choice Award
  5. Everton FC – Gold – Chef Team of the Year Award
  6. Hampden Park Stadium – Bronze – Chef Team of the Year Award
  7. Aberdeen FC – Gold – Non-Matchday Mystery Shopper Award
  8. Brighton & Hove Albion FC – Gold – Media Choice Award

 

Discover more about events and hospitality at our award winning football stadia here.

Following on from this fantastic news, Sodexo has also secured a new three-year contract with Aberdeen Football Club. This contract builds on a 23-year relationship between Sodexo and the club. Indeed, Aberdeen FC was Sodexo’s first stadia client in the UK and Ireland.

The club have ‘pitched’ a £5.7m extension that will see Sodexo continue to provide catering services on match days: operating the café and public retail units and all hospitality, conference and banqueting events.

With so many recent, winning developments in the world of football-catering, the presence of Sodexo Prestige Venue & Events within the sector is going from strength to strength as we aim to ‘match’ the clubs’ sporting excellence with our service excellence.

Learn more about the developments at Aberdeen FC’s Pittodrie Stadium here.

For more information on Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events’ call the central enquiry hub on 0845 6055 699, or email Venues&Events.Prestige.UK@Sodexo.com or visit www.prestigevenuesandevents.sodexo.com.

What Makes Christmas Magical? 7 reasons to book your Christmas event early

We are halfway through 2017 (eep!) and the best is still to come… namely, Christmas.

You may think it’s far away but at Prestige Venues & Events we spend all year gearing up for the festive season – you can feel excitement swelling in the office as slowly December approaches! We believe in being well prepared for the busiest (and best) time of the year and want to give you an opportunity to be so too. Here are 7 reasons to get organised, take advantage of advance-booking perks, and book your Christmas party early:

  1. Limited availability on Las Vegas Christmas.

Don’t gamble with booking The Apex this Christmas. Bury St Edmund’s number one music venue is only available to book on 4 evenings this December. At their seasonal and scandalous Las Vegas Christmas you can enjoy a welcome drink on arrival and a three-course meal for £48.00 per person, followed by a set from the resident DJ amongst casino tables and a rodeo bull.

  1. Free-ish time.

Make Christmas planning a priority in low season and free yourself up during the busiest time of the working year, allowing you to focus on what the season is truly about: fun, family, food and drink.

Christmas as Southampton Solent

Christmas as Southampton Solent

  1. Booker goes free.

At the recently refurbished Gateway restaurant, located within The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Christmas lunch for parties of 10 guests or more come with a special early-bird perk: the booker goes free! Lunch varies from a 2 course festive menu for £16.95 per person, to a full Hogmany feast for £95 per person.

  1. Don’t forget about winter working.

With all this talk of play, it’s easy to forget about work! The Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh they have beautiful meeting rooms and conference spaces, as well as lunch, devilish min-morning and afternoon snacks, and (the best bit) a post conference drinks reception of mulled wine and mince pies.

  1. Something to look forward to.

As the cold weather sets in, or perhaps just prevails though summer… it’s great to have something to look forward to: for yourself, your team-mates, colleagues, friends or family. Book your Christmas party now and it will act as your metaphorical star of Bethlehem – guiding you through the following months.

  1. Don’t let it get any older.

This year’s theme at The Crystal, London’s most sustainable building, is Victorian! A witty contrast with the ultra-modern space, the Victorian Christmas theme includes a private dining room with holly garlands, ivy and pearls, a succulent feast, a Victorian theme DJ disco and a Magic Mirror Photo Booth, complete with full event management, cloakroom and security.

The Crystal in winter

The Crystal in winter

  1. Discount!

Book your Christmas party at Ascot before 31st August 2017 and get 10% discount. Pay only £68.50 per person (instead of £75). Ascot’s Enchanted Evenings Christmas parties include a cocktail upon arrival, three-course dinner, and half bottle of wine per person, a disco, full event management, complimentary cloakroom and car parking.

Discover more about Prestige Venues & Events Christmas packages and download our brochure here.

For full details of Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events’ Christmas offers, call the central enquiry hub on 0845 6055 699, email Venues&Events.Prestige.UK@Sodexo.com or visit www.prestigevenuesandevents.sodexo.com.

Let It Shine: Knebworth goes the whole hog this summer!

Corporate clients can go the whole hog – and enjoy all the fun of the fair this summer – at Knebworth House.

The iconic venue is opening its 250 acre grounds to businesses looking for some summer party fun or a team building event with a difference.

The team at the venue have created a range of special packages for social and business guests to enjoy including everything from street food and hog roasts to fairground rides and “It’s a Knockout” style games.

A basic Summer Party BBQ option is on offer which includes hire of the Cobbold barn and garden in Knebworth’s grounds, a barbecue, giant garden games and access to Knebworth Park, Gardens, the adventure playground and the dinosaur trail.

Alternatively, those looking to do something that little bit different for a company away day or family fun day can opt for specialist packages which include full catering and event organising services, guided tours of Knebworth House and Gardens and a huge range of fun activities including inflatables, fairgrounds rides, school sports day-style races and motorised activities.

Knebworth Kart

Knebworth Kart

Hog roasts are also available during the summer months for parties of 100 guests or more and make a great alternative to BBQ’s or street food options.

All you need then is good weather but no worries if not – there is plenty of space inside if you need to take cover!

For further information about special summer packages at Knebworth House or at other venues within our portfolio visit: http://bit.ly/2slp5bn

Download our Let It Shine guide with more venues and ideas for summer!

Let It Shine! Summer 2017 with Prestige Venue & Events

View our Let It Shine brochure for Summer ’17

We’re getting into the spirit of summer with a new venue guide that highlights the very best of this sweetest, steamiest season.

Prestige Venues & Events present summer packages and events for business and leisure alike; from family fun days and team building activities, to outdoor dining and English garden parties.

Our Let It Shine guide focuses on offers from May to September at outstanding venues, such as The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Brighton’s state-of-the-art Amex Stadium, and includes hospitality packages for iconic British events, like Royal Ascot, Jardin Blanc at The RHS Chelsea Flower Show and The Open Championship.

Our chefs have created menus that embrace the summer and use colourful, seasonal produce. With barbecues and hog roasts available to private hire guests at Knebworth House, as well as the venue opening up its grounds for  “It’s A Knockout” and sports day-style team building activities (because all work and no play…).

Knebworth House

Knebworth House

Barbecues are also on the agenda at Edinburgh Corn Exchange and The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.  Perth Racecourse is teaming finger-licking BBQ food with a vintage-style funfair, whereas Aberdeen Football Club will be taking ‘pride’ in special screenings of the Lion King at their drive-in cinema.

Aberdeen FC large image

The Lion King at Aberdeen FC

Cinema-inspired treats also feature in the summer offer at Leeds’ Headingley Carnegie Stadium, which is sweetening corporate events with popcorn and pick and mix, mini ice creams and chocolate bars or – for a healthier option – fruit kebabs, mixed nuts and seeds.

In the capital the Thames takes centre stage, with restaurant cruise Bateaux London hosting rooftop parties aboard their Scandinavian-designed vessel, The Harmony. Guests can enjoy an off-the-grill menu in a setting of flowers, fruit trees and the backdrop of London’s most famous sights.

Further up river, the recently launched Bateaux Windsor is offering a prosecco reception for guests, followed by a formal dinner, as the boat glides through one of England’s most historic, picturesque towns.

From a quintessentially English town, to a traditionally English pastime: The Apex and The Athenaeum – both in Bury St Edmunds – are swapping lunch for afternoon tea this summer, with a free bottle of fizz to enjoy in the sunshine.

Event organisers who feel summer just wouldn’t be complete without a glass of Pimms (correct!) should head to Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms, where it will feature in post-conference drinks receptions, alongside mini strawberry tarts.

Event guests at three of Tyneside’s top museums – Discovery, the Laing Art Gallery and The Great North Museum: Hancock – will also be offered seasonal drinks in the form of fruit punch at lunchtime. While IWM London, one of the capital’s leading visitor attractions, is serving post-conference classic cocktails.

Also in London, thrill seekers can mix business with pleasure at Emirates Aviation Experience , where they can take the controls of a flight simulator before relaxing on a terrace that overlooks the Thames – a great team building day out.

Other team building activity days can be found at Glasgow’s Hampden Park Stadium – where clients can follow in the ‘bootsteps’ of their heroes and become footballers for a day – and the city’s Hamilton Park Racecourse, which runs a variety of group activities too.

The word famous Ascot Racecourse is available for team building activities this summer in its gorgeous grounds. Plus, those who book before 31 October 2017 can enjoy a 10 per cent discount.

Ice cream and lollies can be added to day delegate packages at Everton Football Club’s Goodison Park Stadium and Belfast’s The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, while Newcastle United’s St James’ Park ground is giving guests a Purely Belter package, with bacon rolls on arrival and unlimited tea and coffee throughout the day.

st james

St James’s Park Ground

For further details on Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events’ Let It Shine guide call the central enquiry hub on 0845 6055 699, or email Venues&Events.Prestige.UK@Sodexo.com or visit www.prestigevenuesandevents.sodexo.com.

A racecourse refurbished: Hamilton Park’s new dining & event spaces

Unveiled in-line with the excitement of racing season (running, or should we say galloping, from May – September 2017) Hamilton Park’s hospitality and event areas have undergone an extensive refurbishment.

This bright, beautiful and white building has been drawing in punters for almost a century, attracted by venue’s reputation for mixing quality racing with glamour and entertainment. Situated in over 20 acres of idyllic green lawns, it’s hard to believe that the racecourse is only 15 miles from Glasgow’s City Centre; attracting guests from all over Scotland and the North of England to their beautifully appointed hospitality areas and uninterrupted views of the action.

The Dukes Suite

The Dukes Suite

With a new, bold aesthetic, Duke’s Suite (also known as the Duke’s Bar & Restaurant) has adopted cool new flooring, teal blue walls and contemporary furniture. The dining room can comfortably seat 160 guests for race-day dinners and lunches and, otherwise, makes a funky event suite. The perfect room for that something blue during wedding receptions…

The Panorama Bar has also adopted blue walls and new, modern furnishings. The space is open plan, with light flooding in through room-length windows and creating a social, spacious environment. The new AC system (also installed in The Duke’s Suite) allows guests to keep their cool in the clamour and excitement of race days.

Hamilton Race Course

The Hill

The biggest change however, is to that of the Conservatory Café. Renamed The Hill, it is now a family friendly bar and eatery with a brand new outdoor serving area. This offers guests the chance to grab a bite to eat al fresco whilst enjoying stunning views across the parade-ring. The interior is chic, with arches stretching across high ceilings, painted pillars and wooden, art-deco flooring.

Hamilton Park Racecourse

Hamilton Park Racecourse

The re-design was confirmed after the signing of a new, 10-year contract with Sodexo (Prestige Venues & Events’ parent company), which allowed Hamilton Park to invest for the renovations. The Hamilton Park Trust ploughs back all profits into developing the course, constantly improving the racecourse’s facilities and customer experience – making Hamilton Park Racecourse first past the post when it comes to style, events and hospitality

Discover more about race-days, events and hiring spaces at Hamilton Park here: https://hamilton-park.co.uk/

Promotion, Pies and the Premier League

The American Express (AMEX) Community Stadium, nestled in the South Downs is home to Brighton & Hove Albion football club who recently made it into the Premier League after a 2-1 win over Wigan a few weeks ago.
The club’s history has undoubtedly had its highs and lows. Their return to the top flight will be only its second time in its history and just over 20 years ago the club narrowly missed relegation from the Football League altogether.
Sodexo have provided catering at the stadium for the last four years and shared the promotion journey with them so we caught up with Tony Crosbie, General Manager to talked about all things football and what the promotion means for the club and the catering team moving forward.

 

What has the journey been like to secure promotion?
An emotional rollercoaster to say the least! We came so close to promotion last year and finished 3rd in the Championship with just 2 goals in it so we all felt a bit sorry for ourselves at the end of the season. However we pulled ourselves together and by the start of this season we’ve been top of the league all the way. By late October you could really feel that promotion could be possible. We just kept getting better and better with some of the matches being sell outs and revenue being at an all-time high so we knew we could be onto something big and we were.
How has your journey to promotion affected day to day operations?
We’ve always thought and operated like a Premier League club so we’ve not really seen a huge difference. Obviously in the run up to promotion we saw much bigger crowds and guests making the most of our hospitality so that was challenging to make sure we had enough to cater for everybody. We have a very close working relationship with the club and we also have four years’ worth of intelligence to make sure we forecast and stock up accordingly. At the Wigan game we saw some of our highest figures yet with 25,000 pints being sold as well as 6,500 pies.
What does being promoted to the Premier League mean to you all?
It’s a big operation here at the AMEX. We have a team of 37 and on match day we can have over 500 staff. We all feel extremely proud of the promotion and privileged to have been part of it. This is something we’ve all wanted for such a long time so to finally achieve it means a lot to us all.
Looking forward to next season what can we expect to see?
A totally new concept in terms of hospitality with the development of a steak house grill which will open just in time for the start of the season on the 6th August. Even though there will be less games for us to play in the Premier League (19 in fact) we will undoubtedly be under the microscope a lot more so it’s really important that our menus reflect our status in the Premier League as well as consistently delivering on quality. We can also expect our match day experiences to be running at 100% capacity so we will be looking at the menus in more detail and making sure they reflect our status moving forward. We also hope to win a few more awards at the Stadium Experience Awards next month too. We’ve been shortlisted in 6 categories so we’re hoping for even more things to celebrate!
For more information about Brighton & Hove Albion visit http://www.seagulls.co.uk/
For more information about AMEX Community Stadium, its facilities and hospitality experiences click here.

Introducing Royal Ascot’s newest experience – The Village

For the first time in more than 100 years a new enclosure is all set to open at Royal Ascot (20th – 24th June) this year. The new Village Enclosure will provide a surprising, exciting and vibrant setting for racegoers to experience and offer a totally new perspective for all to enjoy. It will also give racegoers the best view of all the racing action from its location on the inside of the track looking back towards the final Furlong with Ascot’s iconic Grandstand as a backdrop.


Showcasing the best of contemporary British summertime, the Village Enclosure has a totally unique style and tempo of its own. It’s best described as a ‘pop-up’ summer scene comprising of informal boutique dining experiences, Al Fresco eateries, creative bars, and an eclectic mix of music throughout the day and into the evening.
A picturesque bandstand is the centrepiece of the village green, along with two other stages where there will be a mix of live brass, jazz and funk throughout the day. As the sun goes down the party continues with host sets from live bands and DJs taking place on the main stage. There will also be a range of on-the-go stalls to sit-down casual dining where there will be a broad food offering. Cocktails, mocktails and Champagne will of course be served throughout the day.


The Village Enclosure is only open on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday of Royal Ascot, with an exclusive after race party going on until 9pm. Hospitality upgrades are available within the Village Enclosure itself including The Restaurant in the VillageVilliers in the Village and Gazebos in the Village  which will provide private dining space for up to 16 people. The Restaurant in the Village is without doubt Ascot’s take on English eccentricity!  It promises to be the place where guests should expect the unexpected although be save in the knowledge of a truly memorable day. We can’t wait to see what it’s all about- can you?


Don’t miss the video tour to whet your appetite.

For further information about the Village Enclosure and all the experiences available visit https://www.ascot.co.uk/royal-ascot-village-enclosure