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The Royals new General Manager Becky O Neil

18th October 2021

Rising up the ranks: From housekeeping to general manager

An eight-year ambition has been realised for the new General Manager of The Royal Hotel in Deal.

Becky O’Neil joined the housekeeping team at the historic seafront Shepherd Neame hotel back in 2013.

And although the 39-year-old was also juggling bringing up her young son, who is now 10, with returning to work, Becky had her sights already set on managing the hotel one day.

Joining the firm with previous experience in the hospitality industry, over the next eight years she worked her way up, becoming Supervisor and then Assistant Manager, before being made Deputy Manager five years ago.

Now she has been made General Manager, taking over from Alex Dunne, who has moved to a role in the Faversham-based brewer’s marketing team.

She said: “When I first started at The Royal Hotel in 2013 it was just about getting back into work after taking time off to be with my son. But after a while I realised just how much I loved the job and that I wanted to develop my skills and progress in the business. Alex and the rest of the team at Shepherd Neame have been really encouraging, providing extensive training and support, and I have learned a lot.”

Becky moved to Deal from South London in 2007, and she and her partner now live just five minutes from the hotel, which is situated in Beach Street. She said: “I love the area. It is a really nice place to bring up a little one.”

The Royal Hotel, which dates back to the early 18th century, combines charming period features with contemporary comfort, making it the perfect destination for a seaside escape. It boasts 18 stylish en suite bedrooms, including three with large balconies overlooking the sea. Relax in The Boathouse bar and terrace, which offers glorious sea views, or enjoy a delicious meal in The Quarterdeck restaurant which specialises in fresh, locally caught seafood.

Knowing the business so well means Becky has been able to ease seamlessly into her new role. She said: “It is a bit surreal finally becoming General Manager after all these years working towards it, but it is definitely very exciting. Our offer here at The Royal is really good already, but there is always room for improvement and I have some ideas for tweaks here and there to ensure that we offer guests the very best experience possible.”

For more information call the Royal Hotel on 01304 375555 or visit

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Shepherd Neame Ltd

The fifth-generation independent family business produces Kentish ales of such renown that they are afforded Protected Geographical Indication from the EU.