Riviera Guesthouse – A Day In The Life
Riviera Guesthouse is located on the sea front in the popular seaside resort of Whitby situated within the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. There are 15 bedrooms, 11 of which are sea facing rooms where guests are able to watch the sun rise and set over the sea in the Summer. We find out what life is like for Emma & Zed trying to juggle running a business as well as looking after a young family.
What is a typical day running Riviera Guesthouse like for you?
Myself and my husband, Zed, have run the Riviera Guesthouse together for over 5 years now. A typical day is ‘orderly chaos’ at the moment as we have a young family as well as our 15 bedrooms Guesthouse, so potentially 30 guests, to accommodate. We have a toddler, Zak, and a new baby girl due any day now (yes…peak season!!) so we are very much a friendly, family-run guesthouse.
The aim of the day is to keep the ‘orderly’ part for the guests and the ‘chaos’ to the kids!
Wake up time depends on the little ones but we aim to be in the kitchen beginning the breakfast preparations by 7am. Zed does the cooking and I generally serve the guests – we have had to get a little help in of recent due to having a young family but where possible, we love to be at the front of house together.
Once breakfast has finished, we both enjoy having a chat with our guests. We also say ‘bye bye’ to those guests checking out which isn’t our favourite part of the day because many are fabulous people and a lot are now returning guests so have become friends to us. This is also an important part of the day as we make a concerted effort to find out how guests have found their stay. The compliments mean a great deal and we welcome any constructive feedback as we just want to make the Riviera Guesthouse better and better for our guests.
We have an amazing lady who helps us service the bedrooms. She is incredibly hardworking and is pretty much part of our family now so she begins on the bedrooms. We do all our laundry ourselves so once everyone has checked out, Zed starts on the washing and ironing and I will get the little ones out for a couple of hours (usually including shopping for the Guesthouse essentials).
Although we have a check-in time of 2pm onwards, we are very flexible with check-ins so we often start welcoming our new/returning guests straight away.
Once I return back, Zed takes on ‘Daddy’ role and I put on the Guesthouse ‘hat’. I begin on the administrative tasks required that day. These range from emails, bookings, advertising, new photos/descriptions/offers on websites, updating social media, responding to reviews, organising for any repair work etc.
We continue with the check-ins and laundry throughout the day and usually the majority is completed by about 6pm when it is ‘tea, bath and bed’ for the little ones.
We have an hour or so to catch our breath and actually talk to one another before retiring in order to be raring to go again at 7am tomorrow (oh…and 11pm, 2am, 4am with the kids!).
What kind of breakfast do you serve and do you use local produce?
Although Whitby is a relatively small town, there are well over 175 accommodation providers so we need to stand out from the crowd.
Our stunning sea front location gives us a fabulous head start but we feel that along with comfortable rooms and friendly service, breakfast needs to be above and beyond. Our breakfasts are serviced in our sea facing dining rooms which have floor to ceiling bay windows so panoramic views stretching from the harbour entrance, across the North Sea to the neighbouring bay of Sandsend.
We don’t just offer the standard Full English like many of the other accommodation providers, we allow guests to pretty much pick how they’d like their Full English, e.g. what out of the 8 items, whether as a toastie or on a bun, maybe just scrambled egg on a bagel. We also cater for a variety of dietary requirements e.g. vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free.
Alternatively, guests can choose to start their day with smoked salmon draped over scrambled egg which is an incredibly popular dish or maybe our ‘American style’ breakfast – bacon and mushrooms on a muffin, drizzled with maple syrup.
Of course, to give a true Whitby breakfast – guests can choose our Whitby Kippers. These are sourced from the only traditional Smokehouse in our famous historic port of Whitby. This Smokehouse and Shop is famous locally and world-wide for excellent, high quality kippers.
Along with the cooked options, we offer over 10 varieties of cereals, fresh fruits, yoghurts, nuts and dried fruits and juices. We also offer 10-15 different Twinings herbal/fruit teas along with tea and filter coffee (which our guests find so much ‘yummier’ than instant coffee!).
The majority of our reviews mention our breakfasts, the quality and selection, therefore this is something we will only continue to add to.
Top 3 household appliances/gadgets you could not be without and why.
Obviously our washing machine and tumble dryer – these are on pretty much all day every day (certainly in the summer months) to keep all our bedding fresh, our cotton napkins and tablecloths flawless and our towels clean and fluffy.
Our good quality dishwasher is also vital in order to set the breakfast tables with sparklingly clean crockery and glasses.
Lastly our reception buzzer – this allows us to get our guesthouse jobs done and be with the children until our guests need us.
Describe the favourite part of your day.
We love every minute of running a Guesthouse. We don’t actually feel like we work a day in our lives – yes days are busy from dawn to dusk – but we are doing something we love and feel so blessed to be in this trade.
Our favourite part of the day is interacting with our guests – our guests are the reason we love what we do. We also love catching up with our returning guests who feel like friends. Most have been returning from when we first began over 5 years ago so have seen our family grow around us and are as interested in our lives as we are in theirs.
What would you say was the biggest chore?
This may sound untrue to some but we really don’t find any of it a chore. All the Guesthouse jobs are tasks which we welcome in order to keep up the standards we have worked so hard to obtain.
We have recently been awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2016 and LateRooms ‘Simply The Guest’ Award 2016 and these awards mean so much because it shows our hard work and commitment is recognised.
Sometimes the laundry can appear an onerous task however even that becomes satisfying when we think that the pile is there due to our guests having had a relaxing and often well-earned break away.
Outside of running Riviera Guesthouse how do you like to spend your free time.
I enjoy a get together with my ‘mummy friends’ (even more so a lovely meal out!) and Zed enjoys going out playing for his local cricket and football team and tries to get to the gym when he can.
Having a young family and the Guesthouse means that we don’t necessarily have much free time together but when we do get it, we love to spend the day as a family. This is quite rare as one of us always needs to be ‘on hand’ at the Guesthouse. However, just a trip to a farm, lunch out or even swimming (as a family) is perfect ‘re-coup’ time for us – lots of laughter and family smiles is our relaxation.