Luxury BnB Magazine April 2022

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APRIL 2022







EARS Y 1 / 5 1 £











Four in a Bed;

Is it worth it?




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In this issue...

A warm welcome from Juliet Horner Our Editor

If you have any experiences you'd like to share, please email Juliet at or connect with us on Instagram: @luxury_bnb A lot has happened since we released our last issue. For us, life is once again starting to resemble normality, but across the sea, millions are suffering. It's amazing to see how the hospitality industry is doing it's part to help those affected by Russia's actions. Airbnb have waived all their fees for Ukrainian hosts so that 100% goes directly to Ukrainians in need. I've also seen numerous stories about members of the public booking Airbnbs in Ukraine. Doing so allows you to send money to help those who have been affected the most. But we can also provide help here, closer to home. My home village in South Derbyshire organised a donation drop off and managed to fill a lorry full of clothes and other essentials. But how can you, a business owner, help out? We published a poll on our website to ask our readers whether they intended to host Ukrainian refugees. 80% of the respondents said yes, which is amazing! If you are currently hosting refugees, or you plan to in the near future, let us know! Anyway, back to the issue at hand... It's been a hard couple of years for everyone and we all need to put our mental and physical wellbeing first. Check out our features with Piglets Boutique B&B (page 14) and Losehill House Hotel & Spa (page 40) to find out how you can provide your guests with the ultimate relaxing retreats. We are also announcing the winners of our 2022 LBNB Awards in this issue! Don't forget to enter the 2023 awards online! And for those who love Four in a Bed, find out whether it's worth it on page 28! Happy reading! EDITOR Juliet Horner 07801 545 540 PUBLISHING DIRECTOR Dominic Johnson 01892 711 144 DESIGN Juliet Horner | Editor

CONTRIBUTORS Karen Thorne Yvonne Halling David Worthington






LBNB AWARDS 2022 We announce the winners of the 2022 Excellence in Luxury Service Awards


INTERIOR VIEW Decorating your walls without spending a fortune


PIGLETS BOUTIQUE B&B Advice and top tips for creating wellness retreats

24 BETHNAL & BEC Sustainability and Technology 26 PRODUCT NEWS 28 FOUR IN A BED Is it worth it? 33 SODA BREAD Make your own bread with Lisa Holloway's recipe 35 KAREN'S COLUMN 36 HELPING THE COMMUNITY How The Great House B&B helped their local community during storms 38 OH SO SUSTAINABLE

MEDIA SALES Lisa Ebdy | Sales Manager 07799 886 115

40 LOSEHILL HOUSE HOTEL & SPA Advice and top tips for creating relaxing retreats

Kirsty Farrow


Bethnal & Bec Lucy Agace lucy@gogreensustainability. com Lisa Holloway

No part of this publication may be reproduced, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system without the express prior written consent of the publisher. We regret we cannot be liable for the safe custody or return of any solicited or unsolicited material. Contributors are advised to keep copies of all materials submitted. The opinions and views expressed in Luxury BnB are not necessarily those of Miramedia. Being subject to the Advertising Standards Authority guidelines in place at the time of going to press, all data submitted by advertisers and contained in their advertising copy is accepted by Miramedia in good faith. Miramedia owns the copyright to all content, including that of any contributors, unless agreed otherwise in writing prior to publication.

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Luxury BnB Magazine | Miramedia 29-31 Monson Road Tunbridge Wells Kent TN1 1LS All rights reserved © Miramedia 2020 Luxury BnB is published bi-monthly. Printed by Stephens and George

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How to write the best Airbnb description New research from BnB Facts How to write the best Airbnb description. The research analysed 12,000 property descriptions. The findings included a list of essential elements of the best descriptions Source: 1. Location: where is the listings located? Especially in relation to landmarks like downtown, the beach, airport, etc. 2. Proximity to attractions: guests want to know what is close to the listing. Call out features like restaurants, bars, etc. and describe how close they are (walking distance, etc.) 3. Features of the listing: number of bathrooms, bedrooms, how many guests can it accommodate, etc. 4. Amenities offered: while there is a specific section for amenities, hosts can use the description section to highlight amenities. 5. Target audience: hosts can also use the description to talk to specific target audiences like business travellers, couples, etc. 6. Check-in/check-out details: specify anything the guest should know about the process for example times and whether it is a self-check in.

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Energy Crisis

Energy prices have been all over the news recently. Most of the discussion has focused on the domestic market, which is artificially distorted by the price cap, but commercial customers will fare even worse. The market has since settled ing 100% renewable energy slightly, but prices are still at levels 3. Consider short term contracts. previously unseen. Any business Many suppliers will offer 6 month with energy contracts due for re- contracts if asked. newal within the next 12 months 4. Use a reputable broker, ie not will be facing a massive increase one who cold calls you offering to in costs. For example, a small ho- save you £1000’s but either a comtel which signed energy contracts pany you have been recommended in 2020 should have been paying or one you have researched. Check around 2p per kWh for gas and 14p they are a member of a professionfor electricity. If those contracts al body such as the UIA (Utilities are due for renewal this summer Intermediary Association). rates of approximately 12p per 5. Finally, the only solutions which kWh for gas and 40p for electricity will seriously reduce bills in this difficult time are to produce your will be quoted. own energy through solar PV, inWhat can business owners do? 1. Like most things in life, timing stall energy saving measures such is everything. Monitor the market as LED lighting and reduce condaily, as it is still extremely volatile sumption where-ever possible. Remember, the cheapest unit of and prices can change quickly. 2. Approach as many suppliers as energy is the one that you don’t possible. Ensure you are compar- use. ing prices on a like for like basis. Ian Hopping is a Carbon Solutions There is virtually no premium for & Energy Procurement Specialist renewable electricity these days so at Auditel to help the planet, and your carbon T 01825 791128 | M 07976 244456 footprint, choose a supplier offer- W

English Tourism Week 2022 Coordinated by VisitEngland, English Tourism Week is an annual celebration of the tourism industry and kick-starts the season. This year the week, which ran from 18 to 27 March, highlighted tourism’s economic importance to local economies, and promoting the innovation, quality and range of products on offer to boost domestic breaks. It also put the spotlight on wide range of jobs and career opportunities available across the industry in all parts of the

country. Throughout the week and beyond VisitEngland also encouraged people to show support for English tourism on social media by using #EnglishTourismWeek22. The week also saw MPs, local authorities, the UK Government and other stakeholders get involved to show their support by visiting local businesses and attractions. Details on how to get involved in next year’s event will be published so keep an eye out for information.

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with Yvonne Halling

WHAT IS SEO? And how does SEO help you boost direct bookings?

Yvonne Halling is the awardwinning founder of Bed and Breakfast Coach. com and creator of the B&B Money Maker Business Transformation program.

Simply put, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the strategy of getting more visitors to your B&B website, by attracting people who are using search engine sites like Google, YouTube and Bing to find and choose a B&B to stay in. In a nutshell, SEO is a set of strategies to boost how often your website features in the search results. The more often you feature in the top listings in Google (for example), the more visitors you’ll get to your website. And who doesn’t want more of that? So how do you use SEO to increase the number of visitors to your site? Let’s look at the two types of SEO – “On-Page” and “Off-Page.

In 2001, Yvonne opened her B&B in the Champagne region of France, running her B&B for 17 years. She now offers owners and managers in the B&B industry helpful training and masterclasses.

On-Page SEO relates to all the elements on your web pages that impact your search engine rankings. The goal of On-Page SEO is to inspire the search engines to list your site as one of the leading sites with high-quality, relevant content when people search for B&Bs and related information that you might have on your site (e.g. places to see in your local area). Google has a set of detailed rules that determine how well your website will feature in the results for searches like these. They all boil down to an assessment of how well someone searching on Google (as the main search engine) and then visiting your website will quickly and easily find what they’re searching for (based on what they typed into Google before clicking the search results to visit your website). First, determine what your potential guests would need to know before they book with you. If you’re relying on search terms such as “accommodation in Torbay” then you’ll be in a very competitive market, especially with the OTAs. But if you can create blog posts or articles around reasons to come to your area (i.e. things to see and do and the advantages of the area), then you’ll be in a different arena. You’ve probably got a list of questions your guests usually ask you when they’re staying, such as: • Where’s the best place to eat in (your area)?

Join Yvonne's Facebook group at: BandBgroup You can email Yvonne at yvonne@ yvonnehalling. com

FB: Yvonne Halling TW: @yvonne3030 IN: @bedandbreakfastcoach

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On-Page SEO • •

What time do main attractions (in your area) open? What can I do in (your area) if I only have one day?

You could easily turn each one of those questions into blog posts of 300 words or more with an image or two, correctly labelled to match the topic you’re writing about (and not for example: IMG.1234.jpeg) and put these articles and images on your website. Also, divide up your website into pages dedicated to each set of questions a visitor to your website might have, and create a smooth, easy path for them to book with you as and when they get answers to their questions. And although Google prefers you having lots of pages on your website, so no one page is too crowded (making it hard to find what the reader is looking for), keep your site structure as simple as possible. Keep your website menu simple and clear, again with an easy path for your site visitors to book with you.

Titles and Headings The title and subheadings of your page help Google determine what your specific page is all about. Think about what potential guests will see when they land on one of your web pages. They’ll likely scan through the subheadings first and make a quick

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decision about whether your page is worth their time or not. Google ‘bots’, (i.e. the software that scans and assesses your site for how well Google will rank you in search results) behave in a similar way. They scan your titles and subheadings to determine if your content is relevant for the search requested. Make sure that the search terms always match the content from the link in Google. That requires you to think about each page of your site in terms of which question(s) it answers that someone is likely going to type into Google. As a result, very rarely is it enough to send people to your website home page. Try to be more specific so that visitors can quickly and easily get to the part of your website that has the information that interests them. For this reason, you’ll want to include your primary keywords within your titles and headers. You’ll also want to structure your subheadings strategically with H1 and H2 header tags. Responding to what the market is asking for is the easiest way to improve your website’s visibility. So with that said, let’s look at a terrific way of boosting your site’s visibility…

Off-Page SEO Off-Page SEO is about how trustworthy the Google algorithms believe your website to be. The longer you have your website, the more trustworthy it will be. And the more dynamic (ie: changing) content you have, means more bots will see you first, which means more visitors will be presented with your website content. Having third party links to it will improve it even more. One of the best ways to do this, is having a Google review widget on your website which means all verified by Google reviews will display automatically and be up-

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dated for you. This is dynamic content that others are providing for you to increase your trustworthiness. You can see how this works and try it out for free HERE: Important Note: Trip Advisor also provides back links for you, but I don’t recommend using that facility as when your website visitors click on the widget, it takes them to TA’s site where there are all manner of distractions leading potential guests away from you! On that note, be careful not to have too many links to other sites on your website, as people will easily get distracted and forget about you and your B&B! And no-one wants that! Happy SEO-ing!

Top Tips 1. 2.

3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Answer questions in your page content. People tend to search “where can I eat in torbay” over “places to eat in tobay so More info… Google Schema Be realistic when you select which key phases to target. “Accommodation in Torbay” will have lots of completion whereas “Luxury Accommodation in Torbay” is much more realistic. More info… Long Tail Put yourself in the shoes of a potential guest and consider their journey from search to book. What keywords would they use? Once you've selected your 5 - 10 key phases, use them in the content for your website, especially in titles. Aim to have a page on your website for each key phrase. Keep your site structure simple, clear and well ordered. Be careful to include all the “usual content”. Book now, contact us, where to find us are all essential Update regularly with new content. Use headings H1, H2 and H3. As a general rule H1 is the title of the page, H2 is the question and H3 helps break down the answers Link to other websites of interest. For quick results consider paying for Google Advertising. More info… Google Adwords

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THE LUXURY BNB TEAM WOULD LIKE TO ANNOUNCE THE 2022 WINNERS A massive thank you anyone who took the time to enter our 2022 Excellence in Luxury Service Awards! The judges really had their work cut out for them and enjoyed looking through the wide variety of properties that entered. Due to COVID-19, the judges were unable to visit the properties and the awards process was conducted online. Despite not being able to taste the breakfasts or experience the venues in person, the judges worked hard to judge all venues fairly via the available platforms online. Despite difficult judging methods, the team thoroughly enjoyed their lengthy discussions. We look forward to seeing you all enter the 2023 awards!



Photo credits: All photos supplied by the properties themselves. Credit has been given where requested by owners for other individuals.


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David Weston

Yvonne Halling

Dominic Johnson

Lisa Holloway

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ORLINNHE Guest House


• •

OWNERS: Mark & Larisa Larisa's comments: • • • • •

Torlinnhe use fantastic photographs, and it makes you want to eat it Beautifully presented, locally sourced food Not too many pictures of empty dining rooms which is great They take enormous care to push their food and it’s at the forefront of their B&B The suppliers list is amazing. Look after your suppliers and they look after you. People are more interested in this nowadays, so it’s great to see this online Traditional food but also include things like chia seeds so its covering all bases Mark & Larisa clearly know their clientele (walkers/hikers) and are making food that they would like (tailored)


Thank you! We are both surprised and delighted in equal measure! A hearty and healthy breakfast is at the very core of what we do at Torlinnhe. We look for the best possible ingredients when it comes to food and most of our suppliers are located within 20 miles. We enjoy making our own breakfast items, such as our homemade preserves (Saville Orange Marmalade with stem ginger and Ben Nevis whisky; Raspberry Jam which uses 100% wild Raspberries picked locally). We make our own bread for breakfast, as well as pastries, muffins and viennoiserie. We use an award winning black pudding and haggis, responsibly sourced fish and local croft eggs. We work with local crofters via Food Lochaber network to deliver freshest and most delicious ingredients to our guests. We are delighted to be recognised by Luxury BNB magazine for our efforts, as good breakfast and dinner are at the heart of what we do!


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JUDGE'S COMMENTS: • • • • • • •

• • • •

OWNERS: Ana & Alan Ana's comments: •

They have so much style! Very quirky and original Great colour palette and use of different textures. Everything has a lovely flow and they’ve made it all work beautifully They've done some upcycling which is always great to see Absolutely divine Beautiful photos Shouts that they pay a lot of attention to the little details It’s like it’s not been thought about too much, but it works - it flows Simple and homely There's a lot going on, but without looking cluttered The combination of old, new, and industrial is very clever


Winning this award is such a special moment for us, we have worked really hard to design and build a place that was really special and it is so rewarding to see the hard work recognised


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JUDGE'S COMMENTS: • • • • • • •

OWNERS: Tracey & Joel Comments • • • • •

Videos released almost everyday (fb live and reels on instagram) A very strong presence online Tracey is putting herself out there and is very personable Lots of personality is coming through Potentially building up a good fan base and following online Lots of engagement online Good link to the family, showing the faces behind the business


We are super excited about winning this award! Joel, 52, say’s “Running the guest house is full on and very rewarding. To be recognised for all our hard work over what has been a strange couple of years is amazing” Tracey, 51, says “We were shortlisted for this category last year, so to actually win is beyond all our expectations. We're looking forward to celebrating with friends, family and of course all our guests” After taking over the guest house 7 years ago, we have had to build the reputation to what it is today. Guests regularly say we "come highly recommended” Social media is a massive platform and does take a lot of hard work to be consistent in getting your message across.


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The Country House at




OWNERS: Paul & Karin Comments: • •

• • •

Their main focus is couples, perfect for romantic getaways. It's clear that this is their core market. They sell the fact that they are remote and quiet and that it’s a great place to spend quality time as a couple They offer meals on the veranda and picnics which is great They highlight that they offer packages for couples Sell themselves as a romantic destination, specifically for couples


As expats from Yorkshire, a long time ago now, we are thrilled to receive this award, a big thank you to the judges for considering an Aussie BnB. It's a real honour to be recognised in the UK and to even be on the same page as some absolutely fantastic BnBs. We learned so much from BnBs there and they gave us the motivation and confidence to join the industry in Aussie with a focus on the luxury end of the market. That's where our Motto came from 'A good bed, good company and simple home cooked food done well'. We specialise in attracting couples celebrating a life event or just seeking a calm, secluded, serene and scenic, 5 Star environment for a well deserved break to reconnect which the judges obviously recognised. We have been here for just over 5 years and proudly gained our 5 Star Accreditation 3 years ago. Winning this Award means just as much as that exciting and fulfilling experience! Thank you once more and remember Aussie is now open to overseas travellers!



OLD RAILWAY Photo by Lucia Rabina

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JUDGE'S COMMENTS: • • • • • •

It’s very unique Such a brilliant idea The website is very good and has a clear customer journey The food on offer looks very good too which is a big part of it Great reviews online from guests who have stayed there Good use of their social media platforms

Photo Credits: Bedrooms: Lucia Rabina Dining Room: Ella Stevens

OWNERS: Jennie Comments from Jennie: •


We are all so very proud to be named the overall winner of the 2022 Luxury BnB Awards. Its a real team effort at The Old Railway Station. We all take pride in what we do and work hard to look after all of our guests. It's been a difficult time for hospitality over the past few years, having to close during lockdown and operate under covid safe guidelines. However we have made sure that all guests and staff feel very safe by adapting our spaces and procedures to enable social distancing etc., we have even implemented "carriage service" so that guests can, if they wish, stay in their rooms for breakfast and even afternoon tea! This has meant extra work for staff - but we know it has been appreciated by guests. We try to think of everything, so that the guest feels they have had a first class trip - as well as a hospitality basket with teas and coffees etc in the rooms - there are always home-baked biscuits to welcome our guests. Staff are always happy to help guests and will try to go the extra mile with requests - we have had to write "will you marry me" in rose petals and even alphabetti spaghetti! It is so great to know that all these things we do mean something and its lovely to have recognition for all our hard work.


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with David Worthington

This month, David considers how to get the right images on the wall, without spending a fortune; It's not always about using pictures David is a life-long designer, Chairman of an international brand consultancy and trustee of various cultural organisations. Outside of design his main interest is boats – an theme you may see creeping into future columns! IN: @themotorboatgallery Email: URL:

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The most expensive picture I've seen in a hotel was on the wall of my room at Cliveden. (We held our annual conference there, taking advantage of their opening pricing.) My bedroom, the Munnings Suite, featured a painting by Sir Alfred Munnings himself! Rough value? Start at £1m+..! So, how do mere mortals create impact for a lot less?... think posters. They are dramatic, evocative and memorable. They fill large walls with and can often be a good investment in their own right. Famous posters sell for four figures, but not all are famous and many more are very reasonably priced. I sold a whole batch to a couple who have five holiday lets – nearly forty posters at around £10 each. (More on that next issue.) Collections of books and other random objects also look wonderful framed as sets, especially down long corridors or up staircases. I know of someone about to use old nautical charts for wallpaper! Get it right and your guests will walk in, just as I did at Cliveden, and go “Wow, look at that!”

eBay This Coney Beach poster keeps coming up on eBay, clearly the seller has a few! It's a convenient 30" x 20" size, which is smaller and cheaper to frame than the British Railways 40" x 30". Try www. or similar where a 30" x 20" frame costs in the region of £60.00. Be sure to add the word "original" to your eBay search.

Kieler Woche posters Bright, colourful and unusual; in the 1980s Kiel Regatta Week issued a portfolio of reprints of their best posters in A2 size. Find them individually on eBay for c.£30 or occasionally you'll find the whole folio of 27 prints for nearer to £10/print. Books Complimentary book covers, framed individually in deep frames look fabulous. Target price for these 1920/30's examples is £20/ book or nearer £1 for 1950/60s Penguin paperbacks.

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Piglets Boutique B&B...


Chrissie Parker, owner of Piglets Boutique B&B in Wimbish, explains why business owners should consider wellbeing retreats. She explains what’s available at Piglets and shares her advice on how you can create a relaxing retreat for your guests By

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Juliet Horner

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hese days, the stigma around mental and physical well-being is slowly disappearing, and rightly so. Sadly, a global pandemic mixed with the ups and downs of everyday life has resulted in a variety of consequences; some good, some bad. We’ve all become more aware of ourselves and our health, and one thing we can be sure of, is that everyone is making the most of their holidays. So how can you, as a business owner, provide your guests with the perfect getaway for people to relax and focus on their wellbeing? We spoke with Chrissie Parker, owner of Piglets Boutique B&B, to find out what we can learn from them.

Why do you think it’s important for hospitality businesses to offer activities that improve wellbeing or offer wellness retreats? Chrissie: Despite the fact that restrictions have been lifted, I know from the guests that have been here, people are still looking for somewhere where they’ve got space to relax and feel safe. I think this wellbeing trend is going to continue for a while as well. We all got so used to being isolated and having our own personal space during the pandemic, and I think that actually some people have rather embraced it and don't want to go back. Someone said to me that it was so nice that they didn't have to hug people if they didn't want to. The environment that we have at Piglets is just the right size for this. People know there will only be a maximum of ten people staying here. In off-peak seasons it’s often fewer than ten, but even when we’re at full capacity, you have to provide them with a lot of space, both inside and out. We often get groups of four friends that come, or couples. 16 || Luxury BnB || April 2022

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Natural Swimming Pond

We've even had a few people that have come here on their own for a bit of space and a couple of days of contemplation. I think we're very lucky that being in the countryside, we can provide for these groups here.

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Natural Swimming Pond

Eating Outside

Outdoor Patio

What facilities do you have at Piglets Boutique B&B that are useful for wellness and wellbeing? Chrissie: First and foremost, we

make the guests very welcome. Actually, I think that having a number of touch points with people before they arrive is a good idea if you can do it. Not to the point of being irritating obviously, but always ring them the day of their arrival, or the day before, to check that they're okay and find out what time they're arriving. We're always here to greet people, so there’s a lot of making sure they feel comfortable and letting them know what we have and so on. Then of course, we've got our natural swimming pond, which I must admit is a little bit chilly in the earlier months of the year. But even if people don't want to swim, they might do a couple of minutes of cold water immersion, because that's very on trend at the moment.

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We also have the gym and a new infrared sauna. These are the sort of things we have at Piglets that are what you might think as immediately connected with wellness. In our gym, we don't just have weights. We also have yoga mats and stretching bands and we've had people do yoga outside on the decking or around the pond. There's quite a lot of room so people don't feel crowded and they don't feel that they're going to be in somebody's way if they do that sort of thing. We also try to help people relax as soon as they get here, so they get cake and tea or coffee when they arrive, and there’s biscuits in their room. The facilities are very good in the rooms, but we also don't want people to feel like they've got to stay in their room. We've got a beautiful guest lounge with plenty of books, a very big dining-breakfast area with seating, and a games room. Guests also have the ability to play music of their choice in any of the

rooms that they're in, including the sauna. The idea is that people can do as much or as little as they want. Another thing is that people can walk straight out the door into the countryside. It's beautiful, I mean, I'm just sitting here now in the office and there are blue tits and robins in the olive tree just outside my window. You don’t have to be a bird watcher, but there's something very relaxing about just sitting, listening and watching. We do get a lot of kites and buzzards around here, as well as deer and hare in the surrounding fields. We've got a boot room and people are welcome to bring bikes and muddy boots. They can be cleaned off and I'll happily dry them in the utility room. On our website we've got a number of walks that they can download. They can even come for a walk with me if they want to! I take the dogs out for a walk every day so I don't mind if people want to come with me. April 2022 || Luxury BnB || 17

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Do you have any instructors that come in to run yoga sessions or other activities?

Pizza Oven

Guest Lounge

Chrissie: We don't get anyone in specifically because once we start doing things that are outside of our control, you start to lose a bit of the personal touch. And the other thing is, if you start trying to bring instructors in, you've usually got to have a certain number of people doing the class and it isn't always possible to do that. Also, if you have an organised activity, I sometimes think it can make those who don't want to do it feel perhaps a little bit like they aren’t allowed in certain spaces or whatever. I don't want any space to be restricted for other guests. It's important that everyone feels they can have their own space. Can guests do online workouts instead? Chrissie:

I can lend them the iPad if they want to do some online sessions. We do get a couple of people that have online personal trainers and they usually use our gym for that. But people don’t have to stick to the gym. They can take themselves out onto the decking if it's sunny. We've got the large yoga balls and things like that which they can take outside.

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If I was a business owner who wanted to start offering a guest experience that focused on relaxation and wellbeing, where should I start? Chrissie:

It’s very important to know what your demographic group is. When you offer any sort of package, it’s only good if people

are going to respond to it. Our demographic group is very much the sort of 50 plus age range, so the sort of wellness they might be looking for will be slightly different. Like with everything, you have to do your market research. Marketing can be really easy these days, but also very difficult. You’ve got to rely on people looking at your Facebook page or your website.

French Patio - Playing Petanque


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URLs SOCIAL MEDIA FB: @pigletsbb TW: @BoutiquePiglets IN: @pigletsbandb YouTube: Piglets Boutique B&B April 2022 || Luxury BnB || 19

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Who should business owners contact if they want to offer packages? Or should they create their own? Chrissie: You could partner with somebody who has a natural group of contacts. So, for instance, last year we spoke to somebody who runs yoga, meditation and mindfulness classes. He was interested in doing a wellness package here, over about a day and a half. It didn't come to anything in the end, because to be honest, he was so expensive that there was really nothing in it for us other than to serve cups of tea, which was not really what I wanted. But you can partner with people like that. You have to be careful because if you bring in expertise from outside, it can be difficult to make a profit. Personally, I think owners should look at what they’ve already got on site that they can use. Wellness isn't always about getting into the lotus position. It can just simply be about having a quiet place to relax and giving people the tools that they don't normally have. We're all very good at saying “I'm going to sit down and read this afternoon” and then we never do. But if you're away somewhere, you can do that. However, I do think you can overthink it. We talked about doing a wellness thing here and we realised that we were moving away from all the things we already had here.

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Natural Swimming Pond

Natural Swimming Pond

Pictured Left to Right: Chorizo Hash Avocado, bacon and egg on toast Greek Salad

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Patio with bunting

If an owner did hire someone, do you think it would be worth the cost? Chrissie: Again, it's about know-

ing your demographic group. You have to think about how you're going to market it. Cost it out properly and see what your break even point is. Consider what the yoga teacher or whoever will do. What if they only take a minimum of ten people, but you've only got four people staying with you? But if you want external resources, looking at what's available locally is always a good idea. Some people are very happy to come and do stuff, sometimes even free of charge. Or sometimes they're happy to do an online session. But you've got to be sure that these are going to be popular with your guests.

If a business owner is looking to hire someone, for example, a yoga instructor, what should they look for? Chrissie:

I would go and visit one of their classes to see what they do. Always look at their online presence as well, like how many followers they have and what they post about, because some people don't always practice what they preach. Consider the actual person that does it, too. We've all been to a class where we thought it was a good class but we didn't like the instructor very much. So I think they've got to have a broad base of appeal to people and have the right attitude. They’ve also got to be insured and I would want them to have some experience.

It would be good if they've also done stuff away from their own classes, because people are often comfortable within their own little sphere and then when you take them out, they can't even form a sentence and they're not very good at adapting. I’d also look for someone with more than one string to their bow. Someone who can do two things, perhaps yoga and meditation, is quite good, because not everybody wants to do two hours of yoga. Personally, I would probably look at yoga and pilates. I might even try to go off piste a bit and do something like tai chi, because for our demographic, that's quite a popular thing to do. It’s also something people might like to try but don’t know anyone locally who could help them. It’s just a bit different.

Image Joinery Projects Ltd

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Bar , Restaurant and Hotel refurbishment specialists. Email: 01942 322411 Unit 1, Canal Street, Wigan, WN6 7NQ

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What other activities do you think would be good to offer? Chrissie: We did talk about getting someone in to do massages, but again, that's difficult because you've got to have the privacy and the space to do that. But it is something that we sort of toyed with. We all think about wellbeing as just relaxing by yourself, but actually, it could just be spending time with others. We've had guests play scrabble with other guests, people they've never met before, and they enjoy that. Some people go into the games room and have a game of table tennis or snooker or whatever. We've also got Pétanque here so people can get together and form friendships whilst playing that. There's lots of activities like that where guests can team up with other guests. There's nothing like a good laugh to make you feel better.

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Do you have any final top tips or advice for other hospitality business owners who want to provide wellness retreats or focus more on wellbeing? Chrissie: Every year, we end up doing a sort of pow-wow at the end of the busy season, looking at what we’ve done right, what we’ve done wrong and what we can do better. You have to listen to feedback. I also think you should answer feedback from people and give them what they want. You can't keep saying you’ll do what you want to do and that’s it. You've got to be adaptable and not be too sensitive about bad feedback. We're lucky that most of the feed-

back we get is positive, but you do get the odd thing where people say it would have been nice if you did this, that and the other. But you have to consider whether that has merit. Would that be a good thing for your business to do? Analyse the groups of people that stay with you. Where are they coming from? How far did they travel? What do they want when they get here? If you get a lot of returning guests, keep data on everyone, such as their food intolerances, or whether they prefer a certain room. You have to keep evolving and your guests are the most important part of your business. Nothing else, no matter what you do that's great, if you don't have guests coming, you haven't got a business.

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014-023_LBB_April22_Piglets.indd 17 0845-1635163

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Bethnal Bec &

This is a column for owners, by owners. Vicky and Chris Saynor designed and created Bethnal&Bec Luxury Staycations, a true homegrown family business.


City chic meets countryside cool, in a stylish yet cosy home-fromhome setting. For grownups only, and maybe the dog too – escape to your own luxury rural retreat with everything you need to relax.

A column for owners, by owners

Tech is no longer 'nice to have'

It is without a doubt that in the past, both B&Bs and holiday lets were not known as bastions of Hi-tech provision. A second hand Cathode Ray TV in the corner, and a selection of second rate DVDs used to suffice. However, today even those properties with the most amazing vistas, or in areas with multiple activities and attractions on their doorstep, need to be conscious that many customers also want their “home entertainment comforts” to be satisfied when they come back to their accommodation. Customers do not want to settle for less than they have at home. I am one of these picky customers; a decent sized smart TV is a must and wifi should be as fast as possible. There really is no excuse for providing a basic, small TV. Just this week we purchased a 43 inch UHD Smart TV for under £300. This is incredible value for money, I cannot remember the last time I owned a TV that broke, so this could last 10+ years - let’s call it a 75p a week cost.

As well as providing the basics mentioned above, you can use your provision of technology to be a USP. Whether it is the ability to work with fast wifi, or to include a Netflix subscription this is especially cost effective if you already have a Netflix account as upgrading to one which gives you multiple accounts is not much more money per month. At Bethnal&Bec, we go a few more steps further, and provide home cinema’s in addition to Smart TV’s, alexa enabled waterproof portable speakers and we even combine the old and new with retro inspired bluetooth vinyl record players and a 2 player arcade machine pre-loaded with 3000 games from the 80’s and 90’s. Guest’s not only love this technology, but we know many who have booked and indeed returned time and time again because of the tech luxury we provide. What’s more, there are also many people, like me, where if your tech is not good enough, we will simply not book that accommodation - it is now a “must have''. Not a “nice to have”.

FB: Bethnal & Bec IN: @bethnalandbec www.bethnalandbec. com


ONLINE & SHARE >> luxurybnbmag. com/chris_ april22 OR luxurybnbmag. com/vicky_ april22

Foaling Box Lounge

Home Cinema

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Arcade Machine

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At Bethnal&Bec we're committed to becoming a Net Zero business and we strive to make our luxury stays as sustainable as possible. From rescuing beautiful, surplus furnishings destined for landfill, to installing our own hot composters, we want every part of our stays to be as environmentally friendly as possible. We were absolutely horrified to discover how some of our 'recycling' wasn't actually getting reused. Our local council made some big changes which impacted how we manage our waste. We have implemented the following processes for our recycling, hot composting systems & ReWorked.

Standard Recyling...



Our committment to sustainability and becoming a Net Zero BUsiness

...for all paper, cardboard, hard plastic, tins and cans.


w READ ONLINE & SHARE >> ...for soft plastics. This is where we ask guests to OR recycle all items which are not eligible for local recycling bins and local services. Outdoor baths instead of hot tubs It is the ideal zero waste solution which helps to avoid unnecessary landfill. Once the box is full, it is recycled to a new packaging medium & the contents are pre-shredded. The plastic material, once shredded, is sent to a blending area where it is combined with a mixture of polymers from ocean Compost bins for guests cleans, verge cleans, food and cosmetic wastes. Lastly, the materials are bonded into a board which can then be placed back into use or made into a new product on site.

Hot Composting... ...We have introduced Hot Composters into both our home and our self catering accommodation. Literally ALL food waste goes in it. Yes, that includes meat & dairy! Hot composters do the following: • Produces compost in just 3090 days! • 200 litre capacity can take at least 5kg of household waste per week • The composter itself was designed and manufactured in the UK using 100% recyclable expanded polypropylene. We use the compost on our vegetable garden and in the retreats veggie gardens!

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Recycling bins

In fact, we actively discourage anything being thrown away - apart from a short list of items like sanitary products - that is now the ONLY thing that goes into the commercial waste bins (and we’re researching if we can do anything with that too!) We gently encourage our guests to take our approach to zero waste home with them. Information is available in all the retreats as well as on our website about sustainable methods, and why we think they’re so important to support our natural environment. We hope that they will feel inspired by the ease of these systems, and implement some in their own homes. It’s lovely that our work has paid off already! Many of our previous guests have messaged us telling us which initiatives they've liked when we’ve shared sustainability messages on our social media. We believe this can lead to real, lasting change.

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Product News

Refresh your glassware offering ahead of summer 2022

With summer fast approaching and the weather beginning to show glimpses of lighter nights and sunnier days, now is a prime time for BnBs to consider their glassware offering. Glassware is an important part of your serve ware as it impacts your customers drinking experience. Here at Alliance Online we are predicting simplistic and elegant glassware to be the main trend for 2022. It’s the first proper restriction free summer we have had in the UK in two years meaning Brits will just be happy to enjoy the warmer weather. Don’t overthink on the style; something with a hint of angulation and shape is great to distinguish your drinks from the standard curves and bowl shapes found in the industry but aim to keep it simple. Allegra from Utopia is the prime example of a sleek and modern twist on a classic glass design that will be sure to go down well with customers. Offering a full range including a red and white wine glass, champagne flute, craft beer glass and water rocks tumbler. Alliance Online: Contact: 0844 844 4300 |

teapigs reveals their new decaf tea!

It’s been a long time coming but teapigs are thrilled to finally unveil their first ever decaf tea. This new launch is an exciting trade up for stockists and customers from a trusted brand, particularly amongst those who are looking for better caffeine free teas to enjoy throughout the day - especially before bed! “The decaffeination process can be quite harsh which often leaves you with a sad, tasteless tea,” says Louise Cheadle, teapigs co-founder and tea taster. “Our decaf uses the C02 method which is a lot gentler on the leaves and gives you a stronger, better tasting brew but without the caffeine. We know some of our stockists still serve bog standard decaf in a paper teabag in their rooms next to our premium teas and herbals. Now people can complete their tea offering with a delicious decaf that has all the taste but none of the caffeine“ Visit:

Wake Up to the Smell of Melitta® Filter Coffee and its Aromaboy®

Seasons Outlet

Seasons are one of the leading Garden Outlets located in South Wales, featuring the very latest garden furniture. With over 22 years trading, we always strive to find exclusive and innovative designs, but at very affordable prices.Transform your B&B or hotel into a garden oasis. Whether you’re looking for something contemporary or are trying to achieve a classic look in your garden, Seasons have a magnificent selection of furniture sets to choose from. There’s also a great range of water features, garden ornaments and lighting and all under one roof. A spectacular shopping experience awaits you instore or online. For all your enquiries, please contact us. 01656 723399 | | Website: | Store: Unit 9 Parc-y-bont, Aneurin Bevan Avenue, Brynmenyn Industrial Estate, Bridgend, CF32 9SZ

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Small in size but big at preparing delicious coffee for twocup pleasure, the Melitta®Aromaboy® champions a classic compact design with its period retro appearance. Ideal for holiday home lettings, this iconic filter coffee maker is very much an energy saving appliance. Complete with a practical and illuminated auto-off function which turns the machine off when not in use, the Aromaboy® runs on an energy-saving 500 watts making it economical in electricity consumption. The space saving machine also comes with a transparent water container and a dishwasher proof glass jug with filter. Melitta® Aromaboy® is available in black, white and beige/brown priced £34.99. For trade enquires please contact us on: 0844 800 8055 | |

25/03/2022 13:04

Product News

MSS Mobile Signal Solutions Love Maps On

Create the Wow Factor with a stunning wallmap of your area. Present-day and Vintage Ordnance Survey Maps of any area on made-to-measure wallpapers, canvases, ceramic tiles, glass splash-backs and much more. Allow your guests to truly discover the local landscape. An amazing addition to any Guest House or Hotel. Our products are designed to bring colour and flair to bedrooms, bathrooms, hallways, foyers and function rooms. Whatever the colour scheme or style, you'll find a contemporary, historical or art map to complement it. Our maps range from World Maps, Designer Maps, Antique Maps, Art Maps, Globes and Text Art Maps to Personalised Maps from Ordnance Survey and Personalised Vintage maps. Our online map store gives you fast and easy access to a whole world of wonderful maps at affordable prices. Visit

Hotels and B&B's are often faced with the problem of having poor mobile signal throughout the building. Building materials including foil-backed insulation and remote locations are the main reasons for poor signals. Whether staying for business or pleasure, people need to be connected at all times. Roaming laws have meant that calls outside your home country are not as expensive as they once were, making business calls and home calls using mobile phones from a hotel a much more frequent occurrence. For this reason, it's imperative for hotels, and guesthouses to have quality mobile signal strength to improve customer satisfaction and thus aid in receiving repeat business. If your property has no reception, you can ensure full coverage throughout by taking steps to install an MSS booster system. Once installed it will improve their overall experience and in turn provide repeat business. Visit: hotel/ or contact:

Product News


SabeeApp Hotel Management System’s latest development, an integrated ID Scan is now available! With the help of SabeeApp's built-in ID scanner, hotel guests can upload their travel documents in seconds, even from the comfort of their home through the GuestAdvisor application. This way, check-in only takes seconds which will increase the overall guest experience and simplify the tasks for your reception staff. What if guests don't want to take the opportunity to scan their documents at home or download GuestAdvisor? No problem! SabeeApp’s brand new Front Office Manager was created to solve this problem; the receptionist can scan your guests ID in minutes by using only a smartphone. The system can read national IDs, passports or driving licenses and the data is automatically transferred into SabeeApp’s PMS. By using these solutions, not only can you reduce the time spent with checking in but also you can fulfill the mandatory regulations if there’s any. To learn more, visit SabeeApp’s website: | Contact -

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Versatile, supportive and super-comfortable are a few words to describe the Hotel Mattress range at Mattressman. Going above and beyond to provide your guests with a rejuvenating night’s sleep, the Hotel Mattresses include fantastic features that will contribute to a sumptuous stay at your establishment. They incorporate body-moulding pocket springs with a support tension that’s suitable for every sleeping position, high-quality hypoallergenic fillings and breathable cotton covers too. The Hotel Mattresses are in congruence with Source 5 fire regulations and are available in all standard sizes: even adaptable zip and link options to transform a twin room into two singles. Our trade team can provide expert, impartial advice on what mattresses are best suited to your establishment, so don’t hesitate to get in contact with us today on 0800 5677 625 or To view the range, visit April 2022 || Luxury BnB || 27

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Is it worth it...?



Cameron (Left) and Dani (Right) - owners of Distant Hills Guesthouse

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Luxury BnB catches up with three of the businesses who recently appeared on Channel 4’s popular TV series, Four in a Bed. Editor Juliet Horner finds out if the show is worth applying for and how it might benefit your business. By

Juliet Horner


our in a Bed is one of the nations most watched tea-time tv series and never fails to provide entertainment. But as fun as it is to watch, is it worth putting your business through the trials and tribulations of national exposure? There’s no doubt that the participants scrutinise every tiny detail of their competitors' properties, but they’re also being scrutinised by the public, which can result in some major consequences, for better or for worse. So the question is, is it worth it? This time last year, we spoke to Sue Brierley, owner of Gables Pod Camping, who won her week’s competition. They had that many booking requests that their booking system actually struggled to cope with the demand. A year on, Luxury BnB catches up with three more businesses who appeared on Four in a Bed at the start of 2022 to find out how they were affected and whether they would recommend it to other hospitality businesses.

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Distant Hills Guesthouse

Distant Hills Guest House • •

Four in a Bed block aired: Week commencing February 7, 2022 Distant Hills Guest House Episode: Wednesday February 9, 2022

Dani Mackinnon appeared on Four in a Bed with husband and co-owner, Cameron Mackinnon. Dani and Cameron own Distant Hills Guest House in Spean Bridge, Scotland, and won their week’s competition. “We’re really lucky because we’ve had really positive feedback,” said Dani.

Distant Hills Guesthouse

Distant Hills Guesthouse

"I'd definitely recommend it to other owners if they have a strong business." “We’ve seen huge benefits. We filled 10% of our annual occupancy within the first five days of our episode being aired. “The average length of stay has also increased. Typically, guests would stay for one or two nights,

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INSTAGRAM @distant-hills-spean-bridge @masonsmeyseyhampton @thequeensarmseastgarton @fourinabed @studiolambert

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but now it’s increased to three or four night stays.” Dani also explained that within a week, they had picked up 650 new followers on Facebook. Winning against such “stiff competition”, they were both “beyond shocked to win”. Dani said: “It reassured us that we do have a quality guest house and offer good value for money. “We are so proud to have the winning plaque on show in our hallway and our guests love to chat with us about our time on the series.” But would they recommend applying to other business owners? “We really enjoyed it and I’d definitely recommend it to other owners if they feel that they have a strong business,” said Dani. “You’ve got to be confident in yourself as well as your business because it’s a risk. It could all go wrong quite quickly.”

Dani and Cameron

Distant Hills Guesthouse

The Masons Arms • •

Four in a Bed block aired: Week commencing January 31, 2022 The Masons Arms Episode: Monday January 31, 2022

Husband and wife team, Greg Toogood and Vicki Small, own The Masons Arms in Gloucestershire.

The Masons Arms

"One thing you do have to do is make sure you’re always open and honest." Greg and Vicki came third in their round of the competition. “We genuinely didn't go on it to win it,” said Vicki. “We just went in to have fun and hope we’d get some good feedback from people who've done this longer than we have.” Despite coming third, they still believe Four in a Bed is definitely worth applying to. “We’ve had a lot of people inquiring about us,” said Greg. “We’ve also had a lot of old customers and people we’ve known in the past come and see us because they know where we are now.”

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The Queens Arms • •

Four in a Bed block aired: Week commencing January 31, 2022 The Queens Arms Episode: Wednesday February 2, 2022

Freddie Tulloch owns The Queens Arms in East Garton with his wife, Sue, but appeared on Four in a Bed with his cousin, Ben.

"It was incredibly good fun and we made some really good friends." At the end of their week, it was revealed that The Queens Arms came fourth, but this hasn’t stopped them benefiting from the show. “My wife was sceptical about the whole thing at first,” said Freddie, “but she’s realised it was a good decision to take part and has seen the rewards.” As soon as their episode had aired on tv, Freddie had people calling to book themselves a stay at The Queens Arms. “The lunch bookings have also gone through the roof,” said Freddie. “It was incredibly good fun and we made some good friends. I think [our competition week] will

be shown again because it does get heated at some points.” Although it would be amazing to win the Four in a Bed Winners plaque, you don’t have to win to see the benefits of appearing on the show. “The camera crew tried to explain to me that it wasn't about winning, which I couldn't really get at the time because I’m really competitive,” explained Freddie. “They just kept telling me not to worry if something went wrong or if somebody finds fault with it, because the people who watch it will see through that. “If they like it, they will come, and it's totally true.”

Freddie (Left) and Ben (Right)

Filming Four in a Bed

Freddie (Left) and Ben (Right) filming Four in a Bed

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Soda Bread with Lisa Holloway

Lisa Holloway owned and ran Compton House for 14 years, an award winning B&B in Newark on Trent. She took part in Four in a Bed, and also went on to present a 35 part programme ‘To B&B the Best’ for Channel 5. Last year, Lisa moved to Oxfordshire, buying an adorable cottage called 'The Beehive' where, after renovations are complete, Lisa will be running it as a tiny B&B! All rights reserved © Lisa Holloway 2022

Homemade bread in the morning is a wonderful addition to any breakfast, but sometimes running a Bed and Breakfast just doesn’t allow time for proving and kneading and nipping back to see if the dough has risen. So here is an easy recipe for Soda Bread, which makes wonderful toast, slices beautifully for mopping up the egg and freezes like a dream. I used to make 8 loaves at a time and always had some on hand to defrost overnight. The number of times guests took the recipe home is legion, and in the old days I used to take a bit of my buttermilk plant to give away too. Like all the best recipes, this is my Mother’s, and her first buttermilk plant was given to her by our Irish neighbour. Now you can buy cartons at the supermarkets which makes life easier. Experiment until you find the mix of flour best for you, I hope you and your guests enjoy it as much as we do. And don’t forget to make a wish before you pop it in the oven!


Email: IN: @looholloway

w READ ONLINE & SHARE >> lisaholloway_april22

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This recipe makes two large loaves of soda bread. It also makes wonderful toast and freezes beautifully, but as the bread has no preservatives it does not last longer than three days. It’s a good idea to cut a loaf in two and freeze one half if you only need a few slices.

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Ingredients •

• • •

Measure 900grams (total) of two types of flour. I use 450g of wholemeal flour and 450g of plain white flour, but you can use whatever mix of flour you prefer; seeded, more wholemeal than white, or all white. 2 and a half teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda 1 teaspoon of salt Half a pint of buttermilk (3 x 284ml cartons) or enough to make a good, stiff mix, not too sloppy. If you don’t have enough buttermilk, add some runny yoghurt or a bit of milk


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Put your flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and buttermilk into one big bowl With your hands, mix everything together thoroughly until a good stiff mix Sprinkle some white flour onto the work surface and gently knock the bread mix into one big, or two round loaves Lay the loaves on the baking tray, cut a deep cross onto each loaf MAKE A WISH! and put your loaves into the middle of the oven. Cook in the oven for about 40-45 minutes. I swap them around half way through cooking to get them both evenly cooked When you take them out, they should sound hollow when the bottom is knocked Put a skewer into the middle and if it comes out clean the bread is done If it’s not cooked in the middle, give it a bit longer, or turn the oven off and leave the bread in the oven for another 20 mins or so, to make sure it is cooked right through. No one wants a soggy middle! Then, this is important, wrap each loaf in a tea towel to cool. This keeps it moist. Then keep in a plastic bag, or freeze

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Karen's Karen Thorne has ran Hopton House B&B in Shropshire for over 16 years and the Bed and Breakfast Academy for over 14 years. Through the B&B Academy, Karen trains aspiring B&B owners in how to set up, buy, run and market their own B&Bs. Karen runs monthly online courses and has recently launched a B&B Marketing membership for existing B&B owners, so she can help them to organically and authentically market their own B&Bs.

Read Karen's blog to discover more about toilet paper origami, how marrying a plumber has been very handy, and more about life as a B&B owner: bandbacademy.

w READ ONLINE & SHARE >> karen_april22

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Eggs Benedict

Whenever we eat breakfast out these days, it seems that eggs benedict is always on the menu. Either that or one of its many cousins such as eggs florentine, royale or even California (avocado apparently!) At my own B&B I always offered an extensive breakfast menu - cooking and feeding people is my thing - but it did take me a while before I was brave enough to start attempting hollandaise at 7am in the morning. The first few attempts resulted in actual tears. On one occasion a pan may actually have been flung across the kitchen. My mistake was trying the traditional method, involving a lot of whisking in a bowl over hot water. I just ended up with something that looked like scrambled eggs. My younger self would have given up in a strop. But the older I get, the more I find that I persevere at things. Maybe it’s sheer stubbornness or not wanting to let something containing so few ingredients get the better of me. Finally, I mastered hollandaise thanks to my Kenwood mini chopper, the cutest little butter pan and a mini vacuum flask that, prior to installing fridges in the rooms, I gave guests their milk in. It turned out to be the most popular breakfast special at my B&B, and it kept my husband happy as eggs benedict is his favourite breakfast albeit deconstructed with the bacon, poached eggs and english muffin all laid out separately on the plate. Here are my top tips for creating a hollandaise sauce your guests will love, without the tears. Following these tips, I’ve only had one hollandaise failure in 10 years.


Use a liquidiser or, if you’re making smaller quantities, a Kenwood mini chopper - one of my favourite kitchen gadgets. You can even make hollandaise for one without any waste.




Use a small vacuum flask to keep the sauce warm. Before pouring the sauce in, swirl some boiling water around the flask. This will keep your sauce warm for a couple of hours. Make your own English muffins. This isn’t essential, but they are a world apart from the ones you buy. I make mine in batches and freeze. If your hollandaise gets too thick - it will thicken up a bit in the flask - whisk in a few drops of boiling water.

There are 3 main reasons Hollandaise sauce failing: • •


Skimping on the butter - this is no time to go on a diet. The butter isn’t hot enough - it needs to be bubbling but without burning. You need to be paying close attention at this stage. Adding the butter too quickly, it needs to be added in a slow, steady stream. A little mini butter pan with a lip is really useful here or pour the butter into a small jug first.

For Karen’s Hollandaise recipe, visit her blog at April 2022 || Luxury BnB || 35

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ELPING The Local


OMMUNITY With The Great House B&B...

When village-wide power cuts hit their village, this rural B&B in Exmoor opened its doors to the local community, free of charge. Read on to find out all about the wonderful support they received. By

Juliet Horner


he storms we experienced in February resulted in some terrible accidents. Lorries were being blown over, bins were flying around, trees crushed cars and homes… But it’s not all doom and gloom. After village-wide power cuts, one hospitality business in Exmoor went above and beyond to help it’s local community. The Great House B&B opened its doors to people in their local community after the storms caused lengthy, village-wide power cuts. “We had a 36 hour power cut starting Friday morning,” said Bruce. “Luckily we didn’t have any guests in because everyone had decided to stay home, which was probably a good decision considering the weather.” Sheila Harvey-Larmar and her husband Bruce own and run the Grade II listed B&B, and were one of the first properties to have their power restored in the village. “I think the businesses took priority because the amount of compensation [the power company] would have to give us is a lot higher than domestic properties,” said Sheila. “So we had our power restored and the rest of the village didn’t have any power.” Sheila explained that due to their very rural location, there is no gas in the village. “There’s literally nothing to fall back on unless you have a generator,” said Sheila. “We tried to get hold of one, but they’d all sold out.” As soon as power was restored to their B&B, Sheila and Bruce opened their doors to the local community. They decided to put up posters and social media posts, offering use of the B&B’s amenities to local residents. Their notices explained that they were offering the following to all village residents, for free:

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• •

Shower & Washing facilities Washing machine/dryer for essential laundry • Mobile phone charging • Loan of gas camping stove (2 available and 1 kettle) • Limited fridge space • Use of oven for your own pre-prepared meal • Hot meal to anybody without cooking facilities • Hot water bottles • A room to anyone in need The notices also stated that if Sheila and Bruce could help with anything else, all the locals had to do was ask and they would do their best to help. “We knew everybody else would be having problems and dying for showers,” said Sheila. “So we put together a poster and put it in the local shop, on the village notice board and even delivered a few by hand. “Then next thing you know, we had someone knocking on the door saying, ‘Can we use your shower? My daughter has an interview tomorrow and she won’t even be able to wash her hair’.” The pair officially closed the

B&B so that no one could book rooms, ensuring that the property was only open for the community. “We think the power is back on and back to normal now, but if anyone needs us again, they can just call us and ask to use the facilities,” said Sheila. Surprisingly, other hospitality businesses local to The Great House B&B didn’t offer similar services. “Somebody on Facebook tagged one of their friends who had young children and might have needed to come over, and he lives in the next village,” said Sheila. “The other pubs that have similar facilities weren’t open, but I said to Bruce, ‘Let’s see if anybody needs us. We have power and we might as well share it’. Although unintentional, this good deed soon received plenty of positive support and attention. Bruce said: “People were saying how nice it was to see some local spirit. “They were all so grateful and even people we'd never met were

just coming to the house, chatting to us and telling us what a good thing we were doing. “Someone on Facebook even said that this is why they will come back and stay with us again, because of the kind people we are.” Sheila said: “It was quite humbling. We didn’t think anything special of it, but it’s nice to know other people think that.” She added: “It actually turned out to be quite good marketing. “It really wasn’t intended that way. It really just came from the heart.”

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Oh so Sustainable with Lucy Agace

Lucy Agace founded Responsible Rental Solutions 3 years ago to help guide smaller accommodation owners to incorporate sustainable practices into their businesses. 35 years as an underwater photographer and conservationist, demonstrated to Lucy the urgent need for sustainability action. Lucy provides sustainability certification for the hospitality sector and is a member of the GSTC. She is the UK partner for Green Globe as a professional auditor and certified with the University of Cambridge Institute of Sustainability Leadership. Email: lucy@ FB: Go Green Sustainability URL: https://www. gogreensustainability. com/certification-services/ responsible-rentals

Spring is here and it's the time for new beginnings and fresh starts. As we watch the colourful early flowers spring up, we are reminded how much joy they bring and how they prompt us to start thinking about our outside spaces. By all means change the bed covers or cushions, but why not take a look at some eco-friendly/ sustainability practices to really demonstrate your appreciation for the environment and natural resources. Let's take a look at the ways we can reduce the use of natural resources namely water and energy. I mentioned in the last article about switching to a renewable energy supplier, this is the first step. We already know how fossil fuels like oil, coal and gas are currently the main provider of energy in the UK. We also know burning these fuels emit harmful Greenhouse Gases that collect in the atmosphere causing our planet to heat up. Many of the alternative energy suppliers are purchasing part or all of their electric energy from renewable sources like solar or wind. Energy suppliers such as; Octopus Energy, Utility Warehouse and Ecotricity are market leaders and still in operation. Gas, on the other hand, can only ever be gas there isn’t a ‘clean’ gas. This is why we need to move away from using it. With fuel costs reaching all time highs we should look at ways to reduce usage and this can be done in a number of ways.

Energy •

Make sure all light bulbs are LED

All appliances should be set on their most efficient setting and turned down or turn off when the property is vacant

Any new appliances should have an energy star rating of no less than B preferably A

Install motion sensors to light fittings anywhere it is possible and applicable

Make sure heating controls are easy to use and easy to understand so guests, in frustration, don’t leave heating on when they are not in so they know they have warm accommodation to return to

If you have a hot water tank make sure it is well insulated along with any exposed pipes.

Have the hot water coming on in off-peak times. Heating hot water is known to be very costly

It might be time to think about offering EV car charging facilities. At the very least guests may need access to a power point near enough to where they can park their vehicle (have a lead handy)

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We turn on our taps and water comes out. We take it for granted don’t, but it too is under threat. Water stocks are dependant on rain and also the way commercial water companies look after the resource. Toilet flushing accounts for 1/3 of the our water use today. Depending on occupancy numbers average households get through 130 litres a day. We can make adjustments to reduce the use of water and I have listed a few ideas below... • • • • • • •

Fitting aeration filters to tap spouts and shower heads will reduce the flow of water but not reduce the experience Dual flush toilets that offer a 3 or 6 litre flush can help save water. They typically save 20% of water It is also possible to retro fit an existing toilet cistern and some water companies will provide these FOC If possible isolate the cold water supply to taps and turn down the flow to a minimum Install rainwater a catchment device no matter how small If you find your water bills are particularly high and your accommodation business is long term you might consider sensor or timer taps Perhaps not a water issue but a drainage issue - make sure you have, inside rooms with toilets, sufficient clear signage about what can and can’t be flushed

These sustainable practices may not be obvious to your guests at first, so you will have to make an extra effort on social media and your booking partner to highlight your initiatives. Whether it’s AirBnb or one of the booking partners make sure whatever eco-friendly changes you make are listed here. It’s important to shout about your achievements, both what you have done and why you have done it.

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Losehill House Hotel & Spa


Aerial shot of Losehill House Hotel & Spa

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Alex Kudrjavceva, Spa Manager at Losehill House in the Peak District, uncovers how they create the perfect wellness retreats for their guests. Learn how to create a relaxing atmosphere, whether it’s worth hiring instructors, and why it’s important to consider your guests’ wellbeing By

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Juliet Horner

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How do you create a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere for your guests? Alex: Where our treatment rooms

are located, they are set almost in like a separate wing, connected to the main hotel so We have dimmed lights, quiet music and a separate spa lounge, where people can wait for their treatments and just relax afterwards too. There's nice fruity water on the side and glossy beauty magazines that are based on wellness and holistic treatments. As for the spa facilities downstairs, we only allow up to eight people at the same time, so people pre-book their slots before arrival and that’s just to make sure that everyone has enough space and not all over each other. People can stay in their groups and enjoy their time without feeling crowded.

Where should business owners start if they want to start offering wellness retreats or facilities to improve wellbeing? Alex:

I would definitely do some googling because the wellness industry is massive and every year new things come out. You need to be on the same level, progressing with the new things coming out. If you're a business owner and you don't have any knowledge in the spa or wellness sector, then you would definitely need to hire somebody. Knowledge is of massive importance in this sector, especially because you’re working with people’s physical health and their mental health too.

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Swimming Pool

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Hope Valley, Derbyshire

When looking to hire someone with knowledge, is there anything in particular that you should look for? Alex: I've been at Losehill for sev-

en years and as Spa Manager, I'll always be looking for qualifications and relevant experience. However, sometimes you may not have a lot of experience, but you might be a very nice and caring person and you're a team player. Experience and knowledge can come with time. At the moment I do look for the people who love what they're doing.

What facilities do you have at Losehill House specifically related to wellness? Alex: We have spa facilities that include a swimming pool, sauna, steam room and hot tub. We do offer treatments as well. We have four treatment rooms and, mostly concentrate on facials and body treatments and massages. We have a lot of spa days, where people will come and use our spa facilities. They might have a treatment and also have lunch with us. I would say the most popular treatment is the full body massage. Bedroom in the hotel

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Treatment room

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Do you have any activities that are good for wellness? Such as yoga? Alex: We’re quite a small hotel so we don’t actually offer activities, but only because we don't have the facilities for that. We did think about offering pilates because one of our staff is a qualified pilates teacher. So in the future, that might be something people can do here, but at the moment we don't do any sports activities. If an owner knows that one of their staff members is a qualified instructor, do you think they should start there? Or should they hire an external person? Alex: I feel like if you already have this person on board, then why not? I think it's a great idea. It just depends on whether you have the facilities or not. Unfortunately, at the moment we don't have the space to do this, but I think it's a great idea. If you have the space and someone who is already trained, then why would you go and look for someone else? I even considered training in Pilates myself, because it's not a very long training process and I think it's great for everyone to have something extra. And if you don’t already have someone in-house, do you think it would be worth it to hire an external person? In terms of the cost? Alex:

I think so, because it's very popular now. People are starting to think more about their health and they aren’t just looking for massages and treatments. I think as a cost, it's definitely a win-win for everyone if you can offer something like a yoga class.

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Losehill House Hotel & Spa

What about the products you use at Losehill? Alex: As a hotel, we like to use lo-

cal products. The soaps we use in our rooms are locally made. As a spa, we work with a French company called Thalgo. It’s a marine based company and we’ve been in partnership with them for more than ten years. Their products are all cruelty free and they use environmentally friendly packaging. They also do a lot of work with you on your recycling system and they also work with a massive French charity who help to clean beaches and clean the seas. I think it’s very important at the moment that any products you use in your hotel need to be environmentally friendly.

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Treatment room

Dining Room

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Why do you think it's important for hospitality businesses to offer wellbeing retreats or wellness packages? Alex:

I think because the past couple of years have been a stressful time, whether that's COVID related or some other situation in the world, it's nice to have a place where you can just leave your phone on the side, relax and not have to think about anything. You can be looked after, even if it's just half a day, it's really nice to feel this pamper and care.

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Do you have any advice for introducing aspects of wellness to your business? Alex: It all depends on what you can offer. Do you have the facilities? Do you have the space? Do you have enough staff? If you don't have enough staff, and for example, they’re poorly and can’t run their yoga session, who else will do it? It's very important that you don't upset your guests. You need to have enough staff to call on to cover any classes or treatments.

SOCIAL MEDIA In: @losehillhouse Fb: @LosehillHouseHotel Tw: @LosehillHouse Fb: @ThalgoUK In: @thalgouk In: @thalgo_france Tw: @ThalgoUK

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