Frank Sweeney still working, a decade on from retirement

FRANK Sweeney, 75, is still working at the Macdonald Houstoun House Hotel, West Lothian, ten years after he officially retired.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 1st February 2016, 1:33 pm
Updated Monday, 1st February 2016, 1:37 pm
Frank Sweeney. Picture: supplied
Frank Sweeney. Picture: supplied

Frank, born in Edinburgh in 1941, says the secret to a long and happy career is getting up early and getting to work on time.

He has taken care of corporate clients at Macdonald Houstoun House Hotel, near Uphall, West Lothian, for over a decade.

Frank, who lives in Armadale, officially retired from his position as maintenance manager at the hotel in 2006, but decided to stay on with the hotel after the group offered him a position managing the hotel’s meeting facilities.

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And he says he has no plans to stop working until he is at least 80 years old and hopefully beyond.

The hotel, set in 22 acres of woodland, is based in a 16th-century tower house once visited by Mary Queen of Scots.

Having looked after clients ranging from BSkyB to Scottish Water, Frank says that the secret to success is getting out of bed early, arriving ahead of time, and being organised.

Whether it be talking to the hotel’s chef to make sure the bacon sandwiches are kept warm if there’s a delay, or arriving early to set up the room as only Frank knows the customer likes it to be; time management is key.

An example of his success and much to his embarrassment, came two years ago when Frank received a standing ovation in recognition of his great service, from one the UK’s largest banks after a week-long meeting at Houstoun House.

Frank said: “If I could offer young people who are about to embark on their careers any advice, it would be to learn how to work with people, what makes them tick, and to be nice. Working life is all about creating human relationships. If your customers trust you, and know that you are there to make their day that much better, then the rest will take care of itself.”

Herve Bernier, general manager at Macdonald Houstoun House, said: “Frank is an example to us all, and especially any young people looking for a role model. The reception he receives from clients using our meeting facilities is always great – no matter if it’s the first time they’ve visited us, or the tenth, they leave feeling like they’ve been looked after by someone who really cares about what they do.”

Macdonald Hotels & Resorts, which operates more than 45 hotels across the UK and ten resorts in both the UK and Spain, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.