As the newly-appointed General Manager of the Peppers Guest House, Hunter Valley, Brian Rooney attributes his successful career in hospitality to fostering the strengths of the members within his team.
"I consider my staff as the most valuable asset in the business. I inspire the team to bring out their best; this striving for success reflects positively on guests who experience our hospitality," said Brian.
"The Peppers Guest House offers relaxation in luxury surrounds with fine wine and gourmet dining. We attract Sydneysiders and guests from Newcastle, who all come for a nice getaway. They are definitely after a unique experience. While wine is the main focus of the region and we offer a plethora of wine tours, there are many other reasons why people come to the Hunter Valley. Holiday-makers also come for relaxation - so we offer spa treatments on-site and there are also four golf courses nearby. So there's something for everyone. There are also balloon rides and mountain biking for the more adventurous."
The Hunter Valley property was the first of 30 Peppers Retreats, Resorts and Hotels around Australia and New Zealand to open in 1984. As subsequent properties opened, the common feature was that they all offered a luxurious accommodation experience.
The Peppers Guest House has 48 rooms and suites within a contemporary guesthouse. The facilities include a fully equipped kitchen, generous verandas, outdoor swimming pool and a gorgeous lounge with open fireplace.
The rural surrounds of New South Wales' Hunter Valley are a far cry from where Brian began his career.
"I started my hospitality career in Dublin, Ireland. I worked with Starwood and moved to Australia with them eight years ago. In Dublin I worked at the Westin, which has 164 rooms - I was part of the pre-opening team in September 2001. The property prides itself on its service; always giving guests a warm Irish welcome; a homely welcome," said Brian.
"For travellers to Ireland, I recommend they go to Galway. There are some lovely attractions to see and it's not too far from Dublin, it only takes two and half hours to get there. You can do some shopping, sightseeing and take in the pubs."
From the Westin in Dublin, Brian relocated to the Westin in Sydney to take up the position of Assistant Manager - a substantial 416 room property that also prides itself on its customer service. Brian says that guests are taken on an historical journey because of the history associated with the property - the façade was converted from the Victorian GPO into a major restaurant, bar and accommodation destination. As such, there's a heritage wing that boasts spacious guest rooms and a modern tower that has views over the city centre.
When it comes to taking holidays, Brian always chooses to return to his homeland.
"My favourite holiday destination is always going back to the motherland, back to Ireland. I try to go back every year to Dublin. For visitors to Dublin, I think the best attraction is the Kilmainham Gaol; it's steeped in history and a great place to learn about the Easter Rising. Rather than thinking that Temple Bar or Guinness Storehouse are the only sights, which are fantastic, it's nice to also learn about the history of Dublin."