Ruth heads to the East Sussex coast to tackle a hotel whose owner is actively opposed to her ideas before he has even met her. Ruth is in Hastings to visit the Grand Hotel, a seafront establishment with 17 rooms that is rapidly losing business to the new budget hotels elsewhere in the town. Owner Peter Mann, who has been running the hotel for 18 years, is keen to reverse his fortunes, but is wary of Ruth’s infamous no-nonsense approach even before her arrival. “If she’s going to come here a cross between Darth Vader, Genghis Khan and Gordon Ramsay, then that’s not going to work at all,” he warns. Unfortunately for Peter, his worst fears are confirmed when he meets Ruth. She is deeply unimpressed by his hotel the moment she sets eyes on it.
Ruth attempts to change the fortunes of a hotel in Reading, whose owner is resistant to the idea of altering his prices. Beech House is a 15-bedroom hotel in Reading, owned by businessman Michael Bissell. Michael converted the hotel from a care home four years ago and invested around half a million pounds in the facilities, but so far he has failed to attract guests in Reading’s competitive market. The hotel has lost huge amounts of money and Michael has even had to cash in his pension to keep it afloat. “Because of the losses that I’ve made, it’s been me paying the guests to stay here,” he says. Months away from bankruptcy, he has called in Ruth Watson to help avert disaster.
Ruth meets Vincent and Lidy Van Nuyk, the Dutch owners of the 14-bedroom Safari hotel in Bournemouth. Drowning in debt and unable to carry out vital renovations on the hotel, Vincent and Lidy desperately need help if they are to turn their fortunes around. Vincent and Lidy took on the Safari after 13 years spent running a successful restaurant in Ireland took their toll on Vincent’s health. However, their hopes of a quiet life are unfulfilled: the hotel has failed to turn a profit and they have been driven to the brink of bankruptcy. The lack of money is reflected in the shabbiness of the hotel, which is in dire need of renovation. “We feel defeated,” sighs Lidy. “We want to improve, but we have no cash for it.” To save money, Lidy and Vincent do all the work themselves –including cleaning the 14 bedrooms and doing all the cooking –and are forced to live in one room. Overwhelmed, they have no idea how to pull themselves out of this hole and need someone to show them how to improve things.
Tonight, Ruth visits a bed and breakfast establishment housed in a beautiful medieval priory. The owner is reluctant to share her home with guests, but needs to boost her income to avoid losing the property altogether. Can Ruth persuade her to focus the business on weddings and fashion shoots? Butley Priory is a six-bedroom B&B in a converted 14th-century priory, just a stone’s throw from Ruth’s own hotel in Suffolk. The owner is musician and former model Frances Cavendish, who opened her home to paying guests to make ends meets after her divorce eight years ago. Unfortunately, the rooms often stand empty and Frances is on the brink of selling up. “If we don’t get more guests through the door I’m going to have to call it a day,” she tells Ruth.
Renowned hotelier, restaurateur and author Ruth Watson continues her mission to reverse Britain’s reputation for poorly run hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs. In tonight’s instalment, Ruth tackles the oddly named Weyanoke – a large hotel on the Eastbourne coast currently suffering from something of an identity crisis. Three years ago, after a stint running a small B&B, Mark and Heidi Cowderoy bought the Weyanoke – a beautiful, 33-bedroom Victorian hotel situated on the Eastbourne seafront. In the past, the hotel has catered mainly for coach parties of pensioners paying as little as £20 for a room, but this business is quickly dying out. Heidi and Mark decided to refurbish the hotel to take it upmarket, but their spending has meant that they have failed to make any profit since the beginning of their venture. Since buying the hotel, the couple have spent in excess of £1 million on what Mark calls a “Victorian money pit”. Now deep in debt, Mark and Heidi are in dire need of Ruth’s help before their business collapses.
In tonight’s instalment, Ruth visits the heart of Greenwich, South-East London, to meet actor hotelier Robert Gray and assess his three-bedroom B&B. Actor Robert Gray turned his home into St Alfeges B&B five years ago to maintain the cashflow between acting jobs. A former antiques dealer, he has filled his house with unusual art and objects and decorated with flair and personality – but he is the first to admit that the ‘shabby-chic’ look is starting to look just “shabby”. “I think we need a facelift,” he confesses.
Ruth comes to the aid of a pair of novice hoteliers in Great Yarmouth, who desperately need a crash course in the hotel business if their guesthouse is to stay open. To see how a hotel should be run, they visit a five-star hotel in their town, before Ruth takes them to her own establishment in Orford.
Ruth heads to the Woodlands Lodge, a 16-bedroom country hotel set deep in the heart of the New Forest. The Woodlands' restaurant has recently lost its coveted AA rosette and a new hotel in the area looks set to ruin the business. Can Ruth help transform the hotel's faded decor and put owners David and Jenny Norbury back on track?
Ruth finds out if Brian and Gill Scott, owners of the Key West hotel in Newquay, took her advice when she visited them a year previously.
Ruth returns to the Tasburgh House hotel near Bath to see if owner Sue Keeling - a retired air hostess - has managed to turn her fortunes around. Will the business be flying high, or has it been grounded?
For her first assignment, Alex faces the tall order of rescuing a massive 43-bedroom hotel in Wales that has seen better days. Reputedly the oldest hotel in Wales, the Castle of Brecon was once a glamorous destination for the rich and famous. Neglected for decades, it is now owned by Leon Ricci and his Russian wife, Natasha. With no previous experience in the industry, the couple admit they bought the hotel on a whim - and were even advised by an agent to steer clear of it. "He said, 'No, don't buy it - it's a well-known white elephant in the industry'," Leon recalls.
This week, Alex heads to an attractive pub hotel on the banks of the River Severn in Worcestershire. The views may be picturesque but this establishment is far from tranquil. The Lenchford Inn is managed by two couples on the brink of a breakdown. Dave and Marie, along with her brother Ian and his wife Wendy, bought the inn thinking it would be a ticket to early retirement. But the combination of four floods in two years and the owners’ inexperience has left their hopes in tatters. The nine bedrooms and 80-seat restaurant are as empty as their bank accounts and, with a ten-year age difference between the two couples, they cannot see eye-to-eye on anything.
Alex heads to historic Tewkesbury to inspect the eight-bedroom Jessop House Hotel, located just yards from the town's famous abbey. "It looks like a very pretty town," Alex says. "According to their website, I’m staying at an equally pretty boutique townhouse hotel. Can't imagine what's going wrong there." It soon becomes apparent that the Jessop's problems are twofold, as Alex discovers a business and a relationship in crisis.
Alex visits the West Usk Lighthouse, a unique four-bedroom establishment on the edge of the Bristol Channel. Owners Frank and Danielle bought the lighthouse after seeing an advert in Exchange & Mart. Twenty years later, despite a base of loyal repeat customers, the business is barely keeping its head above water. “If we don’t get more money, a better turnover, a healthy profit, we will not survive,” says Frank. “I want to stay here and fight, if you like, for the survival of the lighthouse and my business.”
Alex heads to Torquay, which was once home to Britain’s most notorious fictional hotel. The 12-room guesthouse Number Nine is no Fawlty Towers, but it is certainly faulty – losing both guests and money. Owner Rachel Roffe admits she is out of her depth. “A week after I moved here, I remember sitting in the garden, and I just burst into tears and thought, ‘Oh my God, what have I done?’” she recalls.
The Crown Inn is owned by former care assistant Karen Lloyd who invested her life savings into opening it two years ago. All was apparently going well until a number of bad internet reviews (damn these people) turned up complaining about paying £70 a night to sleep in filth and Karen started losing money. If that wasn’t bad enough the hotel was stripped of one of its three stars by the tourist board Visit England.
The Walpole Bay was once at the epicentre of the Margate tourist trade. But much like Margate itself, this once grand old dame has seen better days. The Edwardian hotel was on the brink of closure until the Bishop family attempted to rescue it. But with no previous experience of the hospitality industry, it has not been a smooth ride for them.
Alex climbs aboard floating hotel the African Queen. With the boat running at just 30 per cent occupancy, owners Bonny and Andy are at breaking point. Can the hotel inspector throw this beleaguered couple a life jacket? South Africans Bonny and Andy Cowley previously ran a successful hotel and restaurant on the Isle of Wight. When they bought 85-year-old Dutch barge the African Queen they were full of hope for their new project. "We thought, 'We're gonna fly!' but it didn't work like that," says Bonny. The eight-bedroom floating hotel is failing to turn a profit - and even when the couple have guests, the heavy workload of running the boat is taking its toll.
Alex Polizzi sets out to improve the fortunes of the Glangrwyney Court guest house in the Black Mountains, Powys. Despite its five-star rating and reasonable occupancy rate, owners Christina and Warrick Jackson reveal they are rapidly losing money. Alex is taken aback by the amount of clutter in the rooms and the low prices being charged, and informs the couple that if they make changes, their salvation could lie in targeting the lucrative corporate market.
British couple Liz and Michael Callis emigrated from Britain and bought a 14-bedroom guest house in the Swiss Alps, but their hopes of a stress-free retirement have been ruined by a heavy workload. Alex Polizzi outlines her vision for the future of the hotel, including smart uniforms for the staff, a drop in food prices and a transformation for an unused formal dining room - but is unimpressed with the results when she returns a month later.
For her first challenge this series, Alex visits the three-star, 62-bedroom Astor in Plymouth, owned by the flamboyant Joseph Louei. Having risen from pot-washer to owner of a hotel in 30 years, Joseph is naturally very proud of his achievements. However, in recent years Plymouth has been flooded with cheap chain hotels, so the independent hostelries are struggling against stiff competition. In the nine years of Joseph’s ownership, the Astor has never made a profit. Its woes are compounded by a raft of terrible online reviews from dissatisfied customers.
This week’s show sees Alex turn her attention to the Rutland Arms Hotel in Bakewell, Derbyshire. Set on the edge of the Peak District, the hotel enjoys high occupancy rates during the summer months, but poor organisation, bad reviews and an absence of visitors in the winter have pushed 68-year-old owner David to the brink of financial ruin.
Alex Polizzi tries to reverse the fortunes of the Sandygate Hotel in South Yorkshire, where owners Dave and Dyan Elliott have estimated they have six months before going bankrupt. With occupancy rates as low as two per cent, Alex advises them to increase their online presence, court businesses for extra clients and re-evaluate their restaurant's profit margins.
Alex Polizzi heads to the six-bedroom Windsors Hotel in Chertsey, Surrey, where occupancy rates have fallen to 25 per cent. Although impressed by the service and quality of food at breakfast, Alex advises owner Mel White to improve the poor decor, pay more attention to detail and reclassify the business as a guesthouse.
Alex Polizzi visits the Kingston Estate in rural Devon, where former model Liz Corfield and her husband Michael run a luxury B&B, guesthouses and a spa and conference facility, but are struggling financially due to falling guest numbers and the effects of the recession. Alex suggests room revamps and aggressive marketing, but the couple seem unwilling to listen to her advice.
Straight-talking, award-winning hotelier Alex Polizzi answers an SOS call from Jon Sweeney, owner of the First In Last Out, a 17th-century pub and B&B in Winchester that has been plagued by poor reviews – with one disgruntled guest even suggesting it might be the 'worst hotel in the UK'. The Hotel Inspector uncovers a cleaning regime that leaves much to be desired and, after a run-in with a shower room that has a life of its own, she checks out, leaving the First In Last Out with the distinction of being the first establishment she has ever refused to sleep in. The glamorous Polizzi is no quitter, but will the First In Last Out be too big a challenge even for the Hotel Inspector? Jon's main clientele are contractors who are not too bothered by their surroundings, but in order to make inroads on the tourist trade he is desperately in need of Alex's help. She faces the challenging task of showing Jon that budget accommodation does not need to mean low quality. Can she turn around the fortunes of FILO and get Jon to clean up his act – and his rooms?
Alex comes to the rescue of the Welcome Traveller Inn, located in west Wales. Despite its excellent location, this family-run business is struggling. Can any of Alex's bright ideas turn the hotel's fortunes around? Geoff, Babs, Sarah and Kirsty have been welcoming travellers to their inn for the last seven years. They have eight bedrooms, a dining area, bar and conference room. The excellent location in west Wales should mean that the family can pick and choose from local trade, as well appeal to holidaymakers. However, the facts tell a different story – one of low occupancy rates, thousands of pounds lost last year and poor online reviews. Babs has reached the end of her tether with the business and the rest of the family are scratching their heads over ideas for how to improve the occupancy rates. Additionally, the whole family admits to never agreeing on the best way to take the business forwards. The family's future is completely tied up in this business and Babs, who pays the bills, thinks she has six, maybe 12 months left to turn things around. If the business fails, Babs and her clan will lose both the business and the family home. Can Alex persuade the family to put their differences to one side and pull together to entice people back to the hotel?
The Hotel Inspector is called to the Brendan Chase in the Lake District by sixty-three-year-old former chartered accountant David Maloney. Alex Polizzi is shocked to find a dated B&B with an hotelier to match. Can Alex drag David screaming and kicking into the 21st century? David has run the eleven-bedroom Brendan Chase single-handedly for the past seven years. He keeps a strict, and expansive, set of rules, which are not always popular with guests, especially those with young families. David has also eschewed 21st century technology, with the internet and the credit card largely ignored. David prefers the rather more oldfashioned code of dos and don'ts. Unsurprisingly, the B&B makes puny profits, leaving the outdoors enthusiast chained to the business, unable to afford help with his myriad chores. Alex must find a way to break down David's defences, and try to raise occupancy rates and profits to allow him to start enjoying life once more. Alex struggles to break through David's armour – and when he accuses her of creating a tea stain on his carpet, things get even worse...
Alex visits the seaside town of Ilfracombe in Devon. The Shears family has asked for help with the themed Merlin Court Hotel, as rising debts and plummeting occupancy rates threaten to endanger the establishment's future. Dad Mike bought the 14-bedroom hotel 13 years ago, hoping to provide guests with a legendary holiday experience evoking Arthurian legend and the Knights of the Round Table. His wife Helen and daughter Carina play a supporting role in the running of the hotel. Mike hopes that Alex can bring some much-needed magic to the hostelry, but she first has to get the Shears to learn how to work together and fight for their own survival. Can she make the Merlin Court the stuff of legend?
57-year-old healer Barbara Lewthwaite dreams of creating a laid-back, ethical, nature-friendly holiday retreat at the 18th-century Hollybush Inn in Hay-on-Wye. Her estate boasts tepees, a camping and caravan site, a five-bedroom B&B, and a bar and restaurant. But Barbara’s free and easy approach to the hospitality business hasn’t always left her guests feeling so quite so mellow. Unhappy guests have complained about both the facilities and the barefooted owner. The dire reviews, coupled with poor winter trade, have left Barbara burdened with debt and fighting a constant battle for survival. Will renowned hotelier Alex Polizzi be able to reverse Barbara’s flagging fortunes?
Entrepreneur Raman Bal believed the Grosvenor Hotel would become the foundation of his business empire. Raman invested £600,000 in elevating the 25 bedrooms to executive standard, gave the dining room a wash and brush up, and put a bit of sparkle into the bar. But his ambitions have not been matched by reservations.
Alex Polizzi has been called in to a picturesque inn in Suffolk, by owners Ann and her husband Paul. The couple have sunk their life savings into the building, but they have not made a profit in years. The inn has eight ensuite bedrooms, a restaurant, bar, cocktail bar, large beer garden... and reputedly several ghosts. Ann and Paul love the business but feel it runs them rather than the other way round, and they have run out of ideas about how to move forward. Alex must get them back on track before it is too late. She has plenty of ideas to help them, but when the hotel manager threatens to quit, she is left banging her head against the antique walls.
Alex visits a hotel in Dorset which has seen a steadily declining occupancy rate. Could the answer to the hotel’s problems lie in a spirited assistant? The beautiful hotel is set in six acres of Dorset countryside, and comes complete with stables, an outdoor pool and even its own cricket pitch! It also comes with an owner whose collections of knickknacks are liberally littered around the hotel and its ten bedrooms. The owner and his wife have lived in the lodge for over 20 years and consider it their home. But having decided to close the door on letting the whole place out for money-spinning functions, they have seen their income dwindle. They are now worried about how the house will support them in the future. Alex feels that modernising the hotel is the only option if they are going to attract more visitors. Can Alex win the apprehensive owners round to her way of thinking? She finds a possible saviour in the form of the couple’s assistant, who has worked with them for more than twenty years. Could she be the light that guides the hotel into a bright new future?
Polizzi helps a couple in Bournemouth whose hotel near the beach is struggling to break even. Despite frequently reaching full capacity - with 57 beds in 21 rooms - the pair cannot seem to turn a profit, so the expert hotelier advises them to strip back their facilities and begin charging for extra amenities. She also suggests they build on the success of their Army-style boot camp by offering other self-improvement courses to their guests.
Alex Polizzi visits the Madonna Halley Hotel in north London, run by members of a Cypriot family whose Mediterranean roots have found their way into the interior design scheme. Guests have previously indicated the Aegean-style fixtures and fittings can be disagreeable, but when the presenter suggests a radical overhaul is necessary, the owners reveal they are reluctant to part with their distinctive adornments
Alex Polizzi heads for Derbyshire's Peak District to help the owner of a 15th-century inn deal with a stream of problems. The two-star venue has 10 en-suite bedrooms, a bar and a 50-seat restaurant, but struggles to attract customers at the weekends. With a wage bill of £10,000 a month, the business is estimated to have made a loss of £600,000 over the years, and the expert hotelier sets out to improve the dated decor and turn around the hotel's fortunes.
Jill and Steve own and run a smart 14-bedroom, two-star manor hotel on the outskirts of Birmingham. It boasts a restaurant, swimming pool, gardens, and a marquee fully equipped for the hotel’s wedding service. Jill loves to play bridal fairy godmother, but life at the hotel is far from a fairytale. The couple has invested time and savings in the manor, but the bottom line doesn’t match their input. The business has never made a profit; they are losing £700-£1,000 a week; and now their relationship, as well as the hotel, is floundering.
In Kent, self-styled showman Joe has been popping champagne corks in the family-owned, eight-bedroom 'champagne and oyster bar with rooms' for the past 23 years. After leaving his London casino job to manage the business, Joe’s aim has been to bring a taste of the four-star city luxury to the quiet Kent countryside. But his ‘unique’ tastes in décor haven’t been to everyone’s liking. Cowhide bedspreads, four-man hot tubs and erotic artwork are just some of the delights facing potential guests at check-in. The poor occupancy rates and dwindling profits tell their own story. Alex has her hands full, trying to convince Joe to embrace some changes to make his hotel a little more 'female friendly'. But when she is asked to spend the night in the ‘Champagne and Shoes’ room with mirrored ceilings and a dance pole, it is clear that Joe’s naked ambition may have gone one step too far…
Alex Polizzi visits a Blackpool hotelier who has grand plans for his seaside establishment, but a lack of star rating and a string of bad reviews have led to dwindling bookings. Having bought the derelict 15-bedroom property in 2009, the owner spent £250,000 trying to turn it into an upmarket destination more in keeping with a private members' club.
Clover Spa is a seven-bedroom hotel and spa, owned and run by Tim Higgs. Tim has been a naturist for more than 30 years, and after a career as a farmer decided to take the plunge and become a hotelier, opening up Britain's first 'elite' naturist retreat. But allowing his naturist guests to let it all hang out has hit his bottom line. Despite attracting guests to use his spa facilities during the day, he is struggling to attract people to stay the night. When Alex arrives she is shocked to discover that Tim insists his guests remain naked throughout their stay, in every part of the hotel, including the lounge and restaurant area. And Alex is no exception!
Alex travels to the Meudon Hotel in Falmouth to help father-and-son team Harry and Mark Pilgrim. The 29-bedroom country-house hotel was once a sparkling jewel on the Cornish coast, boasting 8.5 acres of sub-tropical gardens that lead down to the hotel’s private beach. But it has failed to move with the times and for too long now has been struggling with low occupancy and low profits. Alex quickly gets down to the roots of their problems. She discovers that 86-year-old Harry’s reluctance to let go of the reins has left son Mark frustrated in his role of general manager. With the old-fashioned decor and unimaginative restaurant menu only attracting elderly clientele, the hotel is facing an uncertain future. Alex worries that the family lacks the vision and energy for change. She demands an immediate clear-out of all the doilies and relics of the past to widen the hotel’s appeal, and tells Mark to star putting himself forward to become more of a leader. Can Alex help with the Pilgrims’ progress?
Alex visits a 15th-century haunted hotel in St Albans, where guests often get more than they bargained for. The 14-bedroom hotel is reputed to be the oldest in this ancient Home Counties town and, with numerous reported spooky sightings, guests often get more than they bargained for. Taking advantage of the hotel’s supernatural reputation, Jayne organises ghost tours complete with stage skeletons and cackling witches, but the haunted theme restaurant menu seems to be scaring off the guests. The McBeaths took over The White Hart four-and-a-half years ago, but with increased competition from the chain hotels, their profit margin is being tightly squeezed, and the couple are spending most of the time arguing about the right way forward. Ross and Jayne have called in Alex for her advice on how to attract more business, but they're not prepared for a sceptical Hotel Inspector who demands that they drop the haunted theme and concentrate instead on 'history not mystery'...
Alex Polizzi comes to the rescue of more struggling establishments, beginning in Cornwall with 16-bedroom hotel the Fieldhead in Looe run by Julian and Gill Peck. Despite stunning sea views and a traditional approach to customer service, Alex soon finds that old-fashioned values may be the cause of the plunging occupancy rates, with a barely comprehensible booking system and an unsustainable work-life balance meaning that both the business and the couple's home life are at risk.
Alex Polizzi heads to the Devon seaside town of Torquay to try to transform the fortunes of the Harmony B&B. Dutch owners Hans and Monika have been struggling to attract enough guests through the usually profitable summer months, and are in desperate need of profits now they are faced with the winter low season. Could the couple's love of music-themed decor be putting off potential customers?
Alex Polizzi heads to the Kent seaside town of Ramsgate to help with the launch of a new venture, but discovers it is plagued by the same age-old problems. Once a summer retreat for a young Queen Victoria, the historic Albion House was facing an uncertain future until Gay and John Haines stepped in with plans to convert it into a 14-bedroom boutique hotel. However, financial disaster is looming with the million-pound budget having been blown and deadlines missed. Can Alex stop Albion House going bust before it has even opened?
Alex Polizzi heads to the Dorset seaside resort of Bournemouth to help 67-year-old Ken Robins, the owner of a struggling hotel where all 55 bedrooms have been named after movie stars and famous musicians. After inspecting and experiencing the facilities, Alex reveals she thinks that Ken has not gone far enough with the celebrity theme and offers advice on how to inject more glitz and sparkle into the hotel. Will former accountant Ken agree with her more radical and glamorous blueprint for fun?
Lisa and Eli took on the Mountain View B&B 10 years ago and dreamt of becoming Port Talbot's premier overnight destination, but plunging occupancy rates and scathing reviews have put the business's future in doubt. Alex Polizzi heads to south Wales, where she is concerned that the couple's two large dogs and Eli's daily habit of feeding a flock of hungry pigeons might be the reason for their problems. But when she suggests a radical solution, a battle of wills ensues that leaves Alex on the brink of walking away altogether.
Alex Polizzi heads to Ramsbottom in Greater Manchester to lend her expertise to Charlotte Belcher, who has been running the 14-bedroom Grant Arms Hotel for two and a half years. Despite its attractive, central location, the 19th-century listed venue has developed a bad reputation as a hang-out for a `rough crowd' - particularly at the bar. With no profits to pay for renovations, Charlotte has enlisted her husband and two children to help turn the Grant Arms around, but her work-life balance is starting to tip drastically away from home, and the beleaguered hotelier hopes Alex will find a way to boost the hotel's income while also restoring her private life.
Alex Polizzi visits the Little Thatch Inn in Gloucester and meets the property's owners, mother-and-daughter team Jackie and Beth McDougall, who have conflicting ideas over whether to modernise in the hope of attracting more custom. In the past, the 23-bedroom hotel and its restaurant ran a brisk trade, but today business has slowed considerably and the duo have considered cutting their losses and selling up. Alex gets to work ensuring the duo can start working in tandem and look forward to a brighter future.
Alex Polizzi pays a visit to La Casa Hotel in the village of Torrox Pueblo near Malaga in southern Spain, where a number of factors have led to a room occupancy rate of just 25 per cent. With little prospect of selling up and moving back home, sisters Sarah and Karen have no choice but to try to make the hotel work, but a drop in tourist numbers and the collapse of the Spanish economy in 2012 have saddled the pair with debts, leaving Alex with a huge task on her hands to turn around their fortunes.
The Hotel Inspector gets a surprise when she arrives at the Harrogate Motel and discovers that it’s neither in Harrogate, nor is it a motel. But the biggest shock is that the owners are deliberately not telling their guests that the place is situated right in the middle of a muddy equine centre, complete with 50 horses!
Alex Polizzi visits The Gyreum, an eco-lodge in Co Sligo, which is run by Colum Stapleton and his daughter Finn. Alex brings in a busload of eco-tourists to give their verdicts and discovers damp mattresses, cold showers and some questionable service, but sparks fly when she insists the owner needs to roll up his sleeves and fix the shortcomings.
Alex Polizzi visits The Richmoor Hotel in Weymouth, Dorset, where mother and manager Loraine employs several of her seven children. However, her mothering instincts have been getting in the way of business, and as a result, the service is suffering and the family-run hotel is on the verge of a revolt. Alex has her work cut out as she tackles the internal tensions and tries to empower Loraine.
Alex Polizzi tries to steer the owners of The Bulstone Hotel, Devon in a new direction, after finding old award certificates on display, out-of-date decor and an old-fashioned approach. However, her efforts are met with resistance from husband and wife hoteliers Judith and Kevin, as rows, walkouts and a badly timed broken leg threaten to turn her mission into an uphill struggle.
Alex Polizzi returns to help a couple with their beach-front business in the Merseyside resort of Southport. John and Mel opened a craft ale bar and started renovating the flats above it into a hostelry despite having no experience. With the residence more of a building site than a boutique hotel, Alex has to get stuck in as the first guests are due in a matter of weeks.
Near the historic city of Bath, business partners Rowena and Mike are running a boutique hotel that is on the brink of going under. Operating the property more like a home than a hotel, Rowena's hospitality means the business is running at a huge loss, so Alex Polizzi attempts to teach these hoteliers how to turn a profit from their customers.
Alex Polizzi heads to Colliters Brook Farm near Bristol, to try to make sense of owner Richard's struggling business and help make his dream a reality. After being forced to run a makeshift B&B from the farmhouse instead of his original plan to renovate an old barn on his property, Richard has been trying hard to get his dream back on track, but crippling debts have led to him being stuck in a rut, with no clear direction. Alex can see huge potential the farm, but getting Richard to pull everything together and maximise his profits proves one of her toughest challenges to date.
Alex Polizzi turns up at Churston Court in Devon a day early, just to get some idea of what she’s really in for. Naturally it’s a dismal picture of dark decor, clutter and no one on reception. Reviews are poor and owners Chris and Jonathan need help. With her customary no-nonsense breeziness Polizzi encourages the pair to motivate their staff and to change the oppressive red decor.
A former vicarage, the sprawling, 43-bedroom Forest Park Hotel in Brockenhurst is set in scenic woodland and is in a perfect location for the New Forest’s many visitors. It should be very successful, yet online reviews have been very mixed. Local builder Sean Perry has owned the place for four years, investing a small fortune in a refurbishment programme and getting through numerous managers in the process. A desperate Sean now asks Alex Polizzi to help him.
Owned for the past 25 years by John and run by his daughter Emma, they have cluttered the 31-room establishment with tat and lost sight of who their customers are. Recently, bookings have taken a sharp decline and to make matters worse John's wife Jacquie - once the life and soul of the hotel - has been forced to retire due to illness, leaving Emma to run the place alone.
Two years ago, Georgina gave up a career teaching business studies with a dream of running a successful guest house. Now, a £50,000 bill for unforeseen repairs and dismal occupancy has left her struggling to run the business. With her immaculate rooms lying empty, self-confessed neat freak Georgina cannot understand where she is going wrong. Alex can see the potential for success but getting Georgina to stop focusing on little details and start seeing the bigger picture does not prove easy.
Alex Polizzi visits Horley near Gatwick to help Quasim, the owner, improve his ailing Surrey guesthouse. With 13 other B&Bs all battling for the same trade, he is struggling to make the monthly repayments. Alex can see the potential in Quasim's business, but curbing his expensive tastes to maximise profits turns out to be far from easy.
Alex Polizzi is called to the Gipsy Hill Hotel in Exeter, where owner Grace has plans to retire and hand the business to her daughter Jackie, who currently manages the hotel. But profits are falling and Grace worries there will be no business to pass down. Alex immediately spots that the hotel is stuck in the past, with its old-fashioned decor. Can she convince the owner to release her grip on the purse strings and allow her daughter to take ownership now?
Alex Polizzi travels to the French Pyrenees, where ex-pats Mike and Joss invested everything they had into creating a holiday retreat and a beautiful family home for themselves and their two young boys. But despite the fabulous setting, the hotel's bookings are poor and with their savings dwindling, the couple are desperate not to take another wrong turn. Can Alex get them back on the right track?
Alex Polizzi visits the 51-bedroom Devon Bay Hotel in Ilfracombe, which is run by inexperienced general manager Adrian and his wife Gill. The establishment has a poor reputation but Adrian has managed to persuade low-cost coach parties to return. However, with the summer season about to start and with no proper hospitality experience, the reality of delivering on his promises is starting to hit home for Adrian. Can Alex turn this novice into a real hotelier before the coaches arrive?
Alex Polizzi helps Chris and Leisha, who bought a village pub with 10 rooms in West Sussex just over a year ago, but have now run out of money and momentum. The novice hoteliers are struggling to attract customers to the George Hotel and Leisha despairs of Chris's tendency to get distracted from the job at hand. Alex is quick to identify a rescue plan, but with an unfocused leader at the helm, can they see it through?
Alex Polizzi returns to one of her earliest assignments as Hotel Inspector, in the shape of West Usk Lighthouse on the edge of the Bristol Channel, which she first visited back in 2008. Despite initially turning a profit for a few years following the show's visit, owners Frank and Danielle have seen occupancy steadily decline. Once again, Alex casts her expert eye over the hotel and recommends the best way forward.