Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Hotel Inspector...

Peter and I have watched enough episodes of The Hotel Inspector to be able to put WBP through the Alex Polizzi critique before we open, which is useful. There is a perverse enjoyment in watching some of the cringe making hotels and B&Bs that Ms Polizzi has to endure. And like her predecessor Ruth Watson, she is not afraid to tell it like it is, which is also often amusing (her line to one couple stating their idea was "like the bastard child of a thousand maniacs" made me chuckle).

So, at present we are busy choosing ingredients for our breakfasts, costing them out per head, settling on an appealing presentation which says 'wholesome homegrown traditional English with a modern twist for the discerning palette' (quite a lot for a plate to say really). 

We have also been working on the menu and website wording; deciding what necessities and luxuries should be included in each guest room; what should be kept on stand by for requests; what level of service our guests would expect; and what is a pointless money sink (i.e. the out dated minibar of many a faded hotel). 

Our point of difference is that we offer an intimate boutique experience where very few guests have the run of a very large and well appointed estate. The wedding and event venue aspect aside, our core business as a luxury lodge is at the end of the day provision of a bed and breakfast. Guests should have the best night's sleep followed by the best breakfast they've ever enjoyed in a setting of unparalleled beauty with elegant unobtrusive hospitality.

The Bed Part
Guests will stay in five star luxury in one of the manor house's three themed suites. Each suite has been impeccably finished, from the hand-carved furniture and luxurious soft furnishings, to the fine art and antiques curated from our private collection which complement each elegant interior.

Named after famous English country houses, The Chatsworth, Blenheim, and Brideshead Suites will offer all the traditional elegance and luxury of their namesakes. Furnished with authentic Georgian furniture, fine silks, and original art by artists such as Chagall and Picasso. A night at Willowbrook will always be a night to remember. 

Each of our exquisitely appointed suites includes:

·         A fruit basket and complimentary bottle of champagne.
·      Hand carved beds dressed with the finest quality bed linens from around the world.
·         Fresh cut flowers from our gardens.
·         Art and antiques curated from the Willowbrook Park collection.
·         Air-conditioning with in-room climate control.
·         Fully complimentary gourmet snacks.
·         Espresso machine.
·  Pillow menu to select the ideal pillow for your stay. (Upon booking you can choose from soft Goose down, firm fibre and hypoallergenic pillows).
·         Iron and Ironing Board
·         Nightly turn down service

Our suites will also feature the latest in modern technology to suit the requirements of all guests whether they are travelling for business or pleasure. This includes:

·         Complimentary WiFi.
·    An iPad with internet access and a variety of apps including subscriptions to international  magazines and the Willowbrook Park app for guest convenience.
·         In room Bluetooth audio system.
·         Flat screen TV with access to digitally stored and live streaming media.
·         Phone with complimentary local and national calls.
·         Conveniently placed bedside USB charging sockets.
·         Printing and Business Services

Every room has a beautiful and well-appointed marble ensuite with elegant Rowe and Perrin fixtures including powerful invigorating shower-heads and deep tubs for a relaxing soak. Every stay  includes:

·      An exclusive Molton Brown toiletry hamper for a truly pampered experience.
·      Additional spa items available upon request
·     Slippers, robes and brollies provided for the duration of your stay (and for purchase if desired).

The Breakfast Part
The mark of distinction of a Willowbrook breakfast is its freshness: the fact that you can see the animals being ethically farmed, see where the eggs are collected daily and the seasonal produce is plucked from the ground. 

Above: Full English from Pinterest

Willowbrook Breakfast
This hearty cooked breakfast is a contemporary take on the classic full English using only home grown and locally sourced produce. It includes home baked artisan breads, beef sausages, bacon and free range eggs all from Willowbrook Farm, served with  fresh seasonal produce from our potager garden.

Continental Buffet
Guests can help themselves from a wide range of wholesome cereals, pastries and homemade breads served with fruit from our orchard. The buffet is served with a variety of fresh juices, homemade preserves, teas and coffee.

We also hope that our many finer acts of hospitality will provide pleasurable memories for guests, such as cocktail hour, where guests are invited to join their hosts and watch the glorious sunset over the park whilst enjoying a complimentary cocktail and canapés in the Grand Salon or on The Terrace.

We will be subjected to the same 'Hotel Inspector' treatment when the officer from Qualmark comes to accredit us for our star rating under the "Boutique and Lodge" category. We will be hoping to get an endorsement such as this:

So, with the unutterable words of Ms Polizzi ringing in our heads we will ensure that everything surpasses the inspector's standards next year when he or she pays us a visit.


  1. I'm sure you'll pass with flying colors as you seem to have thought about every little detail to insure your guests experience the very best in luxury hospitality. When can I move in?

    1. Thanks for your vote of confidence. The inspector probably won't come til March, as we want to have everything in perfect order before the visitation. We are also getting towards the thin part of the wedge where the timing and budget (evil word) are starting to cause a lot of stress. Still, we try to remain cheerful and keep our heads down and our hands busy. DLC.x

  2. My golly you have thought of everything! In advance, Miss Fussy here would like a doona not blankets, solid fibre pillow, yoghurt & Bircher muesli for brekkie (even though yours looks fab, I struggle with the full hot catastrophe in the morning), lovely WP postcards to send to my envious mates & most importantly, a separate room from MOTH. His snoring is so loud it would put the noise of a fully loaded A380 on take-off to shame.

    Have you thought about becoming part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World Group? Thorngrove Manor here in Stirling has always done very well via their connection with SLH.
    M xx

    1. Hi Millie,

      I have just looked at the SLH and Thorngrove websites. Aren't they amazing. Stirling is so picturesque - what a lovely neighbourhood to live in. Yes, we can do something fresh and light for you, and thanks to over a foot of solid masonry between each room I don't think there is any chance MOTH would be able to wake you.

      Postcards - what a great idea. It reminds me that I will have to get on to the stationers and have some lovely letter writing paper and envelopes printed for guests too.

      Good to here from you Millie. Eagerly await another blog post from you when you and fit it into your hectic life! DLC x

  3. The pillow menu is a splendid idea and sets you aside from other accommodation. You truly have put so much thought in to all aspects. All the best for your Qualmark accreditation!

    1. Thanks. When we are up and running and you are next back in NZ we would love for you to come and visit. DLC.


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