Island Life: Working at Hell Bay Hotel
Meet Jeanette, part of our reception team at Hell Bay Hotel. Jeanette has worked on both Tresco & Bryher, and shares her experience of island life here...
I first heard of the islands while I was living and working in Cornwall in 2013 - I'd come to the end of some summer work and spotted an ad for a live-in job at the New Inn and thought it was a great opportunity to work and save. I only planned to work on Scilly for a few months but here I am many years later!
I started working on Tresco in the autumn of 2013, and moved across to Hell Bay at the start of the 2015 season. Nowadays I work the main season on Bryher and the winter season on Tresco - a bit of a best of both worlds!
I was fortunate to arrive on a glorious day when the sea was flat calm, turquoise and still. The sun was so hot I couldn’t believe I was still in the UK.
In terms of the differences between Hell Bay and Tresco, I'd say our Hell Bay team is a lot more intimate! We're a really small team and we all work and live onsite at the hote, so you get to know each other very well, seeing each other day in day out at work or spending days off together. Bryher itself is smaller too, perfect for walks, relaxing on the beach, rock fishing and sunset watching.
On Tresco the team is a lot larger and spread across different departments, so there's more opportunity to meet new people. It has the Abbey Garden and castle ruins, as well as beautiful beaches like Bryher. It seems vast in comparison (though it's only two miles by one!) and my favourite way to explore is by bike.
There's no such thing as a typical working day for me - I work on reception so no two days are the same! Duties range from welcoming and checking in guests, assisting with reservation enquiries online and by phone and answering any general questions about the islands to visitors on the front desk.
The maintenance, housekeeping and the restaurant departments liaise with us daily to keep track of the day to day movement within the hotel and we inform them of additional guest requests or advise them of allergies and requirements. Each guest we welcome expects a particular service, and we ensure that this standard is consistent every day.
When it comes to days off, my partner Tomi and I love being outdoors and Scilly is the best place for this. Depending on the seasons and the weather, we will hop into our boat and go to another island for the day. Sometimes, we will bring a picnic with us and go find a beach and do some beachcombing and plastic collecting.
If we're feeling adventurous, we will go kayaking or for a long walk somewhere. Other times we will have a lazy day and go out for the evening whether it is just for a meal or music or socialising.
The islands are such a special place - it's hard to choose my favourite memories here! One that will always stand out is a spontaneous evening where Tomi suggested going to St Martin’s on the boat with some friends as the sea was perfectly calm. We went from Old Grimsby on Tresco and just alongside Teän there were a pod of dolphins who swam right alongside the boat and stayed with us playing in the wake of the outboard waves for at least half an hour. It was incredible to see them so close to shore.
Another memory I have is how clear the Milky Way is here. Many times, we have returned home and looked up at the night sky just to watch shooting stars. There is no street lighting or light pollution on the islands so the skies here are some of the clearest I have ever seen.
If you think island life might suit you, check out our jobs page for current vacancies across Tresco Island and Hell Bay Hotel. Thanks to Jeanette for sharing her words and photos.