Apr 172015

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Tricker PR.


Jean Ryrie has worked at the Thistle Aberdeen Airport for 39 years.

The hospitality industry is notorious for high staff turnover; employees often flit from job to job without hesitation or loyalty. But Thistle hotels in Aberdeen are bucking the trend.
Thistle Aberdeen Airport hotel boasts an experienced team that have stuck together through thick and thin, including a core team that has over 260 years’ experience in the hotel – that’s 21 years longer than the United States of America has been in existence.

Leading the pack is executive head housekeeper Jean Ryrie, who has been a valued member of the team for 39 years.

Recently nominated for housekeeper of the year at the Scottish Hotel Awards, her passion for greeting colleagues and guests with a smile has never faltered.

Jean says,

“Working for Thistle is a fantastic experience. If it wasn’t, I would never have stayed so long. The staff here are like one big family, and we all get on really well. That sense of camaraderie really makes the working day fly by.”

Always willing to go the extra mile for those staying in the hotel, Jean has been known to go above and beyond to ensure her guests are safe and happy during their stay.

Jean remembers,

“One guest that sticks in my mind was a man who called the housekeeping office to ask for extra blankets. It’s not an unusual request so I brought some up, but when I arrived at his room I found him ill in bed with an awful temperature.

“I asked reception to call for a doctor, and kept an eye on him until one arrived.

“One time I visited his room and he had gotten so much worse that I couldn’t wait for the doctor any longer – I called for an ambulance, and he was rushed to hospital.”

The guest was later diagnosed with septicaemia, a severe form of blood poisoning that could have led to fatal complications had Jean not taken action.

She continues,

“I didn’t think twice about calling the ambulance. If a guest is in need, I always feel it is my duty to do whatever I can to help them, and I know my colleagues feel the same way.”

Jean’s caring nature is not just reserved for the hotel’s guests, meaning that she has a hard-working and dedicated team that have stayed with her during her career in the hotel. Ensuring that they are treated and trained well, Jean makes sure everyone in the housekeeping department feels a valued member of the team. 

Alongside new recruits, Jean’s hard-working team includes Margaret Esson (31 years), Camilla Jones (26 years), Brenda Paterson (24 years), Emma Singer (24 years), Audrey Western (23 years) and Fiona Cruickshank (13 years).

General manager Alison Christie says,

“I am absolutely thrilled that so many of my colleagues have chosen to stay at the Thistle Aberdeen Airport for so long. Having such experienced staff means that everything in the hotel runs smoothly – there are very few situations they haven’t come across before. We really are a well-oiled machine.”

That dedication to the job is not just reserved for the housekeeping department, however, and many other teams in the hotel boast extremely experienced staff who have stayed at the hotel throughout their careers.

Food and beverage operator Christina Grant has been a member of the catering team for 34 years, working with breakfast supervisor Lesley Martin and kitchen assistant Ruby Henderson, who have been there for 30 and 29 years respectively. Head chef Richard Simpson has been overseeing the kitchen for a decade.

Alison adds,

“We often see guests returning to the Thistle Aberdeen Airport every time they visit the city. They enjoy seeing the same faces when they check in – it’s like coming to a home from home.

“The continuity guests get from visit to visit means that they always know that they’ll receive top quality service, and I am delighted that we are able to provide that.”

Thistle has three hotels in Aberdeen – The Caledonian, Aberdeen Airport and Aberdeen Altens. There are 446 bedrooms across the three venues, and each has conferencing and banqueting facilities. Aberdeen Altens also has an on-site leisure club and spa. Further information is available at www.thistle.com