You've Been Served: Sarah Last

You've Been Served: Sarah Last

My husband Dan and I have been working in hospitality for almost 20 years now. Some summer seasonal work was followed by winter season work in the Alps. 

We were hooked on the contrast — real summers and real winters. We went on to own our own premium ski chalet company in the French Alps and spent 16 winters there, hosting guests from all over the world in a number of the more exclusive ski resorts. 

We had just over 100 guests arriving and departing every weekend across our chalets and invested significantly in refurbishing them based on the changing needs and demands of the luxury traveler. 

Now we’re back in Galway and there’s less of a contrast in seasons! 

But we are really enjoying it as a family.

We signed the deal on buying the cottages in Barna in July 2016, three months after our third child was born! It was a busy summer, to put it mildly, but we now have 10 cottages in the seaside village of Barna and we couldn’t be happier. 

Our young children are early risers so we’re up early anyway. Once they’re all at school or creche I catch up on all the emails and books and work with Dan to try to plan ahead with marketing and carry on with the jobs that need doing around the cottages. 

Arrivals are usually mid-afternoon but if there are some delays on flights etc then we sometimes have late arrivals which can make for a long day, especially in the summer months when we’re extra busy.

We’ve just put the finishing touches to a new travel experience for guests which has taken some time but I think it will be really popular — you can now book two nights in a cottage and then get the keys to a VW camper van too and continue to explore the Wild Atlantic Way or wherever you would like in Ireland. 

You can then drop the van back to the cottages and pick up your own transport/luggage to return home. 

So I guess you could say we’re diversifying from the hospitality industry into the travel industry now too! 

The flexibility that comes with being the boss is great. We love the feeling that we’ve created a very family-friendly business that our children can help with and see exactly what mum and dad do for a living. 

Some of the lost property items have been hilarious. We’ve had a light sabre left and the torso from a suit of armour — not by the same guest though luckily.

We’ve had some really interesting people stay with us over the years and Galway attracts a really eclectic mix of people.

Sarah Last co-owns Galway Coast Cottages in Barna with her husband, Dan. www.galwaycoastcottages.com

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