Ask the Manager: Stefan Lundstrom, The Galmont, Galway

Can I have a short biography of your career?  

I arrived in Ireland May 2000 having never worked in a hotel before. I started in Fitzgeralds Woodlands House Hotel in Limerick where I learned the “Céad Míle Fáilte” from Mary Fitzgerald.  For six years I worked in various Food and Beverage Management roles mainly as Bistro Manager. I also helped to serve thousands of different weddings banquets.  

In 2007 I moved to what was then the tallest hotel in Ireland the Clarion Hotel in Limerick as Bar Manager. This then led to the hotel manager role in Clarion Suites Hotel. It was great training as I was then responsible for all aspects of a hotel for the first time. 

After a period in the Limerick Strand Hotel, I came to Galway to manage the Harbour Hotel. During that time I also looked after the Glenlo Abbey Hotel for a year. I returned to the Limerick Strand Hotel as General Manager in 2016 and then moved back to Galway and The Galmont Hotel and Spa in 2018. 

When did The Galmont open?  

The Hotel opened in 2001 as a Radisson Blu and rebranded to The Galmont Hotel in January 2018. 

How has business been this summer?  

Since we opened in June, we have been very busy, pretty much sold out all summer. Although we didn’t put all our rooms on sale as the customers’ profile was very different this summer. With all domestic leisure guests it meant a full bar and (thankfully) restaurant all summer.

What type of outdoor dining does your property have?   

We are very lucky to have a large wrap around Terrace which we refurbished with new furniture, planters and two large heated umbrellas which were very popular all summer. 

How have you coped with staff shortages, if you had any?  

No doubt this have been very challenging, we have been very lucky in that we have kept our kitchen team and by in large our management team. But as were closed for almost six months many of our employees had found alternative employment. We had to start over again with recruitment and we are now almost back to pre-pandemic levels with 230 staff currently employed. 

What changes have you made to enhance guests’ experience?  

At the start of the pandemic, we started a large investment in installing a new elevator from the car park to the lobby. We made the other two lifts solely for our residents. It made a big difference and has improved the flow of guests around the hotel. We did have to go through a lot of noise as the builders drilled through solid concrete.  

Table service throughout the hotel for food and beverage have now become second nature to us and even though we always provided this I’d like to think that we are now excelling in it.  

Everything that we now do is focused on the leisure guest, in the past we were very much first and foremost a business and conference hotel. We have recently refurbished our Spirit One Spa reception and common areas with exciting plans for 2022 in terms of further enhancements. 

How are bookings going, what is the autumn looking like?   

Bookings are encouraging, it was great to see some American tour groups start to arrive in August and September. I probably wouldn’t have expected that back in May/June. So, we are much stronger than I would I have thought back in May. 

However, although I am forever an optimist with the ending of this year looking strong, I would still be a little bit cautious of the first quarter of 2022 

As your hotel can cater for big groups, are there signs of the return of courses, conferences or conventions? 

Yes, there are a lot of green shoots coming up, we recently hosted the launch of the Galway Comedy Festival which will have three big shows here at end of October. There are still several hybrid conferences taking place over the next few weeks and months as the large conferences are normally planned years in advance. However, our popular Christmas parties are filling up quite quickly and so are the weekends in Q1 of next year for social events in particular 

Where do your guests come from mainly?  

Over the last 18 months it has almost been exclusively the island of Ireland with a high proportion coming from the East coast but in a normal year all over the world with a lot of North Americans, of course. 

Galway featured on the Conde Nast list of places to visit; do you think that will encourage travel the city? 

Yes, another strong endorsement of our wonderful city to go with Lonely Planet guide endorsement from 2019. It is really great to have these media houses recognize the fantastic city that Galway is. 

What challenges does Galway face in encouraging international visitors to the city, following the reduction in services to Shannon?  

It’s the overall connectivity to the Island of Ireland not only the reductions in Shannon but Dublin also. Hopefully all the transatlantic services that were built up over the last 20- years or so will be restored quickly. 

Have you any special offers to entice visitors back to your hotel?    

Spirit One Spa Escape 

The Galmont Hotel is the ideal place for a leisurely break with Spirit One spa offering a lovely selection of body rituals and facial treatments designed to leave you feeling very relaxed. Available Monday-Friday. 

Offer includes: 

2 nights’ accommodation 

Breakfast each morning 

A choice of 1 x 25 minute treatment – Back, Neck, Shoulder Massage, Lower Leg Foot Massage or Mini Facial 

Dinner in Marinas Restaurant on one evening of your choice. Menu Here.

Complimentary access to the leisure centre with swimming pool, gym, sauna, jacuzzi & outdoor hot tub from €240pps. 

Joan Scales
Award-winning journalist, Joan has been writing about travel and tourism for many years principally for The Irish Times and lately for travel2ireland. Joan has appeared many times on television and radio talking about the business of travel and all its component strands. She is also a public speaker and has appeared at many international conventions and conferences.

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