Hotel waitress scoops world service award

A Banbury waitress has scooped a prestigious international hotels award by impressing top judges with her serving skills.

Former Drayton School pupil Charna Spink, 23, who works at The Mercure Whately Hall Hotel in North Bar, won Accor Hotels’ global challenge to find the best of the hotel group’s restaurant staff at a grand final held in Paris on January 14-15.

Miss Spink, who has worked at The Whately for four years, served two judges/dinner guests at the prestigious Mercure Eiffel Tower hotel with wine and dishes chosen herself from the hotel’s menu.

Whately food and beverage manager Charlie Collins said Miss Spink’s triumph had helped put Banbury and the Whately Hall on the map.

“The judges were looking for personality as well as service and I think that’s what got her through,” he said.

“I spotted her on day one. I thought ‘I know this kid’s going to do well’, her own personal ability gets her through everything.”

Miss Spink spoke of the experience of serving at the Eiffel Tower Mercure. She said: “You could see the Eiffel Tower from the bedroom windows, it was amazing.”

“I was a bit nervous beforehand but I went shopping first and that helped.

“I couldn’t believe it when they called my name out. I just didn’t know what to think, it was really great.”

Miss Spink was one of eight finalists selected from Accor’s UK-wide competition. She won an engraved silver tray, an iPad and other gifts.

Mr Collins said the win is already opening doors for Miss Spink in the hotel business, allowing her to pick her choice of work locations and develop her career opportunities. The Rotary Club of Banbury Cherwell presented Miss Spink with a bouquet of flowers at its recent Burns night dinner at the hotel.