Welcome to “ON THE MARKET”, the new section of Luxury Bed & Breakfast website specifically designed to showcase the best B&Bs for sale across the country.
If you are looking for a B&B for sale in your local area but can’t find what you’re looking for here, drop the Luxury Bed & Breakfast team an email or call with your requirements and we can get in contact with our network of estate agents to see if we can find you your next dream B&B.
If you would like help with any of the above, please contact our team on 01737 852 342 or email at email@example.com
Both of the following are available from Wired Magazine. Also available as a Podcast:
The curious tale of a man called Christian, the Catholic church, David Schwimmer’s wife, a secret hotel and an Airbnb scam running riot on the streets of London
It’s November 2019 and I’m standing in an Airbnb in Battersea, south London. But this is not the Airbnb I booked. Everything is slightly, confusingly, off. All the rooms are the wrong sizes, all the furniture in the wrong places. There are hints everywhere that something is up: the apartment block, a barely finished newbuild sandwiched between Battersea Park station and a Catholic church, is teeming with cleaning staff. There are cleaners in the hallways, cleaners lobbing bin bags of rubbish out of the front door, cleaners grabbing armfuls of bed linen in the elevator. It’s like a hotel – except there’s no front desk, and the allegedly clean duvet on my bed has a human-sized, yellow sweat stain running down its centre.
The capital is awash with rentals that bear all the hallmarks of hastily rejigged Airbnbs
They’re calling it the Airbnb Apocalypse. In forums and on Facebook groups, in YouTube videos and on subreddits, Airbnb hosts who have built vast but flimsy short-term rental empires are facing huge losses as the global tourism industry collapses due to the coronavirus pandemic. As Airbnb bookings vanish, scores of hosts are scrambling to find long-term tenants for their properties, flooding rental websites with cut-price furnished apartments right in the centre of some of the world’s most expensive cities.
Twinings launches SUPERBLENDS for the out of home market
For many, it’s the first drink of the day, then there’s elevenses, afternoon tea, the 3pm energiser and not forgetting high tea; there are so many ways in which tea is incorporated into everyday life, and as healthier consumption contributes increasing growth to the tea sector, consumers are demanding an enhanced tea experience when consuming out of home.
To meet the growing trend for teas offering health and wellbeing benefits, Twinings has launched its SUPERBLENDS range into the hospitality sector.
“Understanding emerging health trends has helped guide the development of the SUPERBLENDS range”, explains Claire Fluen, Shopper Marketing Executive at Twinings Foodservice. “Tea has the opportunity to grow further to meet the consumer health need and 24%* of consumers are planning to increase their tea consumption as a result of a keener focus on their health & wellbeing. Younger consumers are entering the tea category via Green & Infusions because of the associated health benefits and a brand such as Twinings brings credibility, accessibility and mass appeal for those wanting to showcase their range of teas in their venue.”
Operators have a fantastic opportunity to create a premium tea serving using the range of SUPERBLENDS which deliver a ‘SUPER’ ingredient providing a health benefit from either a fruity or green tea base with an added vitamins or minerals to support health and wellbeing. The new SUPERBLENDS range comprises SLEEP, GLOW, FOCUS AND DIGEST and to really leverage the range and drive cross sales, operators could promote a certain tea at different times of the day and add in a meal or snack to complement the drink.
FOCUS would be a perfect breakfast time tea; a delicious mango and pineapple fruit tea with ginseng and added Vitamin B6 to help fight fatigue. A caterer could create an amazing breakfast offer with a cup of FOCUS and a bowl of piping hot porridge to really start the day well. As an after-meal drink, DIGEST offers a twist on the popular mint tea with a rooibos tea base, apple, baobab and spearmint to support digestion, offer this after lunch or dinner for a delicious end to any meal.
For hotels in particular, SLEEP delivers the perfect in-room drink for guests looking to unwind and relax before bed; a spiced apple, vanilla and camomile tea with passionflowers which can help to promote a restful night, and with a one star Great Taste Award, guests will enjoy sipping this nightcap.
“Not only do these blends deliver on taste, which is the most important factor for consumer purchase* but they also have super ingredients that bring a health benefit with an added vitamin or mineral to help support everyday wellbeing. Our new products are blended with botanicals and taste fantastic, and this emphasis on health and wellbeing is a growth driver for tea sales. The various functional benefits of SUPERBLENDS should be promoted in-venue and operators have an excellent opportunity to up sell their beverage offering.”
For more information please see the attached press release.
Rick Sciuriaga bought Number 46 in Hastings this year, and is trying not to fix what isn’t broken. Bill Lumley talks to the first-time B&B owner, whose strategy is to cherry pick what works best
WHEN you take over your first commercial hospitality property whether it be a terraced suburban B&B or a large boutique hotel, the temptation to put your mark in it can be huge.
Many is the time new B&B, guest house or hotel owners will tell you they were unable to wait to start renovations and running things the way they consider best. It is not often you hear owners saying they want to see what works best before making any changes. Yet that is exactly what Rick Sciuriaga is doing with Number 46 Rooms & Apartments in Hastings.
He acquired the property in February this year and is running the business with his sister Jocelyn. Their mother worked in tourism and the two of them grew up staying in all standards of B&Bs, hotels and guest houses. These were mainly in Europe but more recently in seven-star properties in the far east. Rick says that gave him a taste for the kind of service and offer that he likes, and that he would like to offer his guests.
He quit his job in high-end retail because he sensed a need for change.
Rick was jointed by his sister who worked and owned restaurants overseas.
“It is a perfect situation in terms of her knowledge and my knowledge, and we work well together,” he says.
“With my previous experience I know what the luxury end of the market wants in terms of service delivery and I want to put some of that experience of dealing with the public which comes as second nature,” he says.
He explains: “Most of my immediate family live in Hastings. This opportunity came up and it set the ball rolling. I started looking at what other B&Bs were for sale up and down the country, but I really wanted to be in Hastings. Having found this one it ticked so many boxes – location, size, affordability and an excellent track record.”
The property was in good condition when they moved in and, owing to the fact that it had been running so well and had received so many good reviews he saw no rush to change anything just for the sake of changing it.
“In time I will put my own stamp on it with new décor and so on, but as for changing the infrastructure or the way the business is run I don’t think I will need to change anything drastically,” he says.
One of the first decisions he made was to keep on the existing housekeeper, whom he described as fantastic. “A lot of the reviews are based on the cleanliness of the establishment and she has been cleaning there for the past five years, so she is an asset to the company and keeping her on was vital,” he says.
The previous owners built up the business over 12 years from next to nothing, and Rick says he counts his blessings for the help they have given him and continue to provide. “We have become friends; we talk a lot and I look on them as mentors and they still offer advice for example if something crops up that I am not so sure about they are always happy to help us out. When it comes to the handover, I couldn’t have asked for anything better,” he says.
The owner wanted someone with a passion to buy it. “She saw that in me and was very keen to sell it on to me and to come back and see what I had done with the place over time.”
OTAs & Marketing
One of the first things Rick is looking to change is the look at the website – the shopfront of the business. The previous owners admitted they hadn’t really given that much attention to it over the past few years, so it is looking dated. But before I change it I need to update some of the rooms and the décor to mirror them on the website.” He says he has given himself three years to get the property looking the way he would like.
We use all the usual OTAs managed by a channel Manager. They are basically our advertising. Provided you can keep up with good reviews they are a perfect platform and the commission we pay to the OTAs can be offset against a non-existent marketing budget.
Rick can be contacted at numberfortysix.com.
TOP TIPS from TINA BODEN, The Tiny Troubleshooter
- As yourself, are your priorities for purchase life-style or income focused?
- What type of customers do you want to attract – business, leisure, focused on a specific market.
- How much can you afford? Just like buying anything, you need to know this before you start looking not once you have your heart set on something.
- Understand the income you can generate and the expenditure you will have. Put together a 2 year cash flow plan including services you may have to buy in. This list should Include items like marketing, bookkeeping & maintenance. Look at what you can do yourself.
- Speak to people in the industry and understand what owning a BnB entails. It’s not just cooking a few breakfasts, making a few beds and having the rest of the day off, it’s hard work.
- Accept that what you saw at the property pre sale may not be reality post sale.
- Maintain a relationship with the previous owners if possible so they can help if you need a little advice.
- If you have staff ensure you hold a meeting with them and set out your plans so you keep them onside. Transfer of ownership is often hard for them and having to recruit new staff can be hard enough without taking on a new business as well.
- Commence positive marketing to previous customers through a newsletter and social media. Start this as soon as possible starting with an introduction as the new owners.
- Make a plan for any upgrade work and create a timescale based on the actual cash flow in the business not what you predicted. This is often very different and what you planned originally may not be achievable post sale.
Situated in the sunny, sheltered haven of Babbacombe Bay, The Cary Arms and Spa on the Beach in Torquay is a large inn dating from the early 17th century. It has gone through many changes over the past 400 years before the sprawling property was adapted in the last decade into a highly successful boutique hotel.
As its name suggests, The Cary Arms was originally an inn when it opened on the bay, and boasts some famous visitors including Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. “We have a lobster bar in the summer based around visits from Winston Churchill and his team during the war. But it has been an inn on and off for 200 years,” says general manager David Adams, who has been in charge of the property for the past three and a half years.
The business today comprises a mixed bag of guest accommodation. The original building itself has the original 10 accommodation units including two cottage suites that the current owner opened with 10 years ago. Then in 2016 and 2017 a total of six beach huts were added.
The process of keeping such an old property and its associated structures up to scratch providing premium luxury comfort for all its guests is a constant challenge.
David says: “It’s a very old building by the sea. The oldest part of our site, the thatched Rose Cottage, is over 400 years old. It is a constant job to keep it ship-shape.”
In fact, every room is routinely refurbished every two years, he says. “We have just started work on putting new bathrooms into the rooms within the original inn building. We bought two new self-catering cottages online last year, and we are looking forward to bringing on an additional five-bedroom self-catering unit later this year. There always seems to be something going on!”
MIXED BAG OF ACCOMODATION
Original Building – 10 accommodation units;
luxury doubles, which are sea-facing, with balconies or ground floor terraces, ensuite bathrooms, king sized beds – “everything you’d expect in a luxury hotel.”
One two-bedroom family suite in the original building and two cottage suites, named Shell, one bedroom, lounge, kitchenette, and with a bathroom freshly refurbished in March. The other such suite, Pebble, has two bedrooms with a lounge, kitchenette and bathroom.
The heart of the operation occupies a building nearly 200 years old offset by rooms that have a premium mix of modern facilities to go with the classic design: White Company toiletries in refillable dispensers to reduce single use plastics; voice-activated Alexa devices with Spotify music libraries along with free outgoing calls; Nespresso coffee machines; and Netflix-enabled flat screen TVs.
The property includes a new development that opened in 2016-17: six beach huts and two beach suites, modelled on the quirky original design of the brightly coloured traditional beach hut you see dotted along the classic seafront promenade, but with a modern luxury twist. “The beach huts all feature one bedroom, but with the bedroom itself on a mezzanine floor and with a lounge and bathroom downstairs with underfloor heating and Sonos sound systems, heated mirrors in the bathroom to prevent condensation when you shower, plus Smeg fridges, Nespresso coffee machines, and the same flat screen TVs and Netflix,” says David.
There are also bi-folding floors and terraces, and to round off guests’ luxury experience, lying on the pillow they have full view of a porthole looking straight out to sea.
Finally, there are a range of self-catering cottages ranging from three to five bedrooms, sleeping from four to nine people. David says: “These are sold on a self-catering basis, but guests have full access to the full hotel range facilities including the spa, restaurant and bar.”
Dining experience –
This is a dining experience to remember, for the restaurant itself offers what it claims are two of the best tables at which to dine in Devon: The Captain’s table which seats six and the Pod which seats four. The restaurant also offers Gastro Nights, with menus specially designed for the occasions by the head chef and paired with wines chosen by the head sommelier.
For a final touch of luxury all guests’ rooms have a decanter of sloe gin on arrival, plus a variety of different confectionery treats which, as David puts it, “give a real sense of nostalgia: sticks of rock, Kit-Kats and Orange Clubs!”
Locally sourced food
The Cary Arms takes the whole idea of locally sourced food very seriously. “Wherever possible our food is locally sourced depending on the seasons,” explains David. “We are right on the sea, and very lucky to be less than 10 miles from Brixham fish market, one of the best locally operated landing fish markets left in the country. It still has a fully working fleet of day trawlers, so when we say the fish has landed that morning it really has landed that morning on a small day trawler fleet, unlike some of the bigger fish markets where even if it had landed that morning it could have been frozen out at sea in the hold for two or three weeks before they come back into port,” he says.
He adds: “We have a great guy down there who picks our fish for us in the market every morning and brings the best of the day’s catch straight to chef for that day’s menu.”
While using local produce as much as possible, the Cary Arms is remarkably self-sufficient when it comes to freshly grown herbs, with its own herb gardens dotted around site. “We have recently planted a few patches of perennial veg around the site, rhubarb, horseradish, Jerusalem artichoke, and we have two local places dedicated to growing vegetables for us.”
Reaching out to the local community
One of these is in partnership with a local care home, Maidencombe Manor, which supports adults with additional needs, both learning and physical. This has a five-acre skills workshop garden, where its residents spend the days potting around in the fruit gardens and vegetable beds, learning skills whilst staying active.
David explains: “We have a standard agreement with them to take all their surplus fruit and veg. This supplies us with almost the volume of fresh produce we need in the summer months and is a great way to support a local community project.”
The local food initiative does not stop there: “We also have a training allotment which we use for our apprentice gardeners to learn how to grow vegetables, then three quarters of a mile from here, providing a lot of the vegetables for the chef. Meanwhile we have a local wholesaler who works for a number of local farms for everything else we need,” he says.
Partnership with Combe Pafford School, a centre for children with additional learning needs. We take 2 students on work placement 2 days per week to help them acclimatise to the workplace and learn skills they need to have successful careers. We’ve had one student from them for 2 years on work placement with our gardening team. He then stayed with us to do his apprenticeship and is now full time and is actually looking after the next generation of students from his own school. It’s absolutely great to see how he has grown and developed with us over the last 4 years. We had 4 apprentices start with us this September across the hotel and it’s really great seeing the next generation come through.
A local brewery produces Sammy’s Ale for us, named after the resident seal who spends most of the day taking mackerel from fisherman at the jetty outside the hotel, 50p from every pint sold is then donated to the RSPCA.
Rowcroft, a local hospice, is doing a 2 day sponsored walk along the South West Coast Path in May, we’re looking forward to welcoming the 100+ walkers taking part for what will most likely be a welcome break from them halfway through their second day. They do great work in the local community so we’re of course more than happy to provide complimentary food and drink to those taking part so they can keep their energy levels up.
We’ve started a new partnership with a local care and support provider this year, Maidencombe Manor, who provide both residential and outreach care to adults with additional needs. They have an amazing 12-acre site with both a carpentry workshop and 3 acre vegetable garden they use for skills therapy. Our cottages are already showcasing bird tables made by them and this year we have agreed to take all their surplus fruit and vegetables off their hands. It allows them to add funds to their operation and gives us the incredible opportunity to have organic produce grown less than 3 miles away.
The spa is a major attraction for guests to the hotel. David says: “It gives people something to do on a rainy day. We are in England and we can’t get away from the rain, even located as we are on the English Riviera. However, many palm trees we plant round here, we can’t make the sunshine all year round!”
The spa certainly contributes to the status of the hotel as a compact boutique hotel, he says. “It is designed for our hotel residents: we do not allow membership for non-hotel residents, so there is always that exclusivity and privacy,” he explains.
Within the spa are a hydrotherapy pool, a sauna, a steam room, and an experience shower that can be set to anything from blast of arctic winter to temperate rainforest depending on which button you press. There’s also a singles treatment room and a couple’s treatment room.
Conveying the satisfying, elite experience of luxury this provides, he says: “Sitting back in the hydrotherapy pool you have 180-degree views out to sea; you lean back at 34 degrees and bubbles go in. No matter how wet the weather is out there, you can lie there and pretend you are in the sea, you’re nice and warm, and it’s amazing!”
While the spa gets less use in the summer it’s still popular year-round for treatments, he says, noting that it has definitely proved a massive benefit to the hotel.
The local sourcing extends to the inn itself, which is open to non-residents from noon and serving lunch until 3pm and dinner until 9pm.
David explains: “A local brewery provides us Sammy’s Ale, named after our local seal that hangs around our sea jetty in the summer months, with 50p from every pint donated to the RSPCA.
“We offer a full range of Devon gins as you’d expect, and we have a partnership with a local rum distillery which supplies our dark and spiced rum distilled from scratch up the road in Exeter. It’s a great sustainable partnership with no packaging waste, and we have our own three litre oak barrels behind the bar which they come down and refill for us, poured straight from the barrel at the bar to our guests,” he says.
The inn also serves local wines from Devon and local ciders. “If you can get a product locally then we have an option for it,” he says.
The Cary Arms attracts a wide mix of guests. “Typically, guests tend to be people who want an exceptionally high quality, refined service, but delivered in a relaxed, informal and unpretentious way,” David says.
It is hard to say how guests differ from the typical visitor to Torquay, he says. “We are a premium property with premium service and premium standard, so there is obviously a different price point between us and a lot of the other properties in Torquay. But then we also rate very high in value for money as well from the people who do come to stay.”
The age range of guests is remarkably wide. “We have a couple of guests in their 70s who have been staying in Torquay every summer for 50 years in pretty much every hotel in the bay. They found us three years ago after having stayed in the same place for 10 years, and now they are with us for three weeks every summer. It just goes to show that all visitors to the area can find something they like at the Cary Arms.”
He says it is hard to pin down quite what it is that makes the Cary Arms such a great success. “It is down largely to how welcoming and relaxed we are. We are a small and compact team and have been together for a while now. It is a cliché, but people do really seem to like to work here. We are relaxed, we have a laugh, and we get on well with the guests.”
He adds: “If we need to be incredibly efficient and get the job done, we can, and if we have time to relax and have a chat with the guests, we can do that too. I think that’s what people like. The staff here are real people with life stories and jokes to tell. I think the guests really like being able to come in and get what they are used to getting when they used to go to their local pub 20 years ago in terms of that friendly, relaxed and welcoming experience but delivered to a much higher standard with refined service levels.”
That informality appears to underpin a remarkably high staff retention level at the hotel in a competitive market of which many properties would be envious. “Staff retention is absolutely amazing,” says David. “It is very rare that we would lose a full-time member of staff. Obviously, we have temporary staff called upon through the high season but in terms of the core team it is exceptionally stable. In fact, a lot of staff have been here since we opened 10 years ago.”
When asked about the secret to this success, David said: “A lot of it comes from developing staff from the bottom up. Nearly all my senior and HOD positions are filled by staff who have been with us since the start of their careers. It’s also a great place to work, we usually get it right so my team get to spend their day around happy guests and aren’t dealing with complaints and grumbles all day so are happy themselves. It’s a bit of a snowball effect, happy guests equal happy staff, happy staff equal happy guests.”
The Cary Arms is notably dog-friendly, and in this regard has won a number of awards over the years. David says: “A couple of luxury doubles are dog friendly, a couple of beach huts, all the self-catering cottages, and we have two distinct sections to our restaurant and dining area, one dog friendly and one dog free. The only communal area in the hotel where dogs are not allowed to go is the spa.”
We use what we call the holy trinity of social media – Instagram twitter and Facebook. I think Instagram is best for telling a story if you have an event enabling you to have videos and photos posted on it as people are arriving, while they are here and as they are leaving, and things like that, with a story board, which is particularly effective for us. It’s also useful for promoting upcoming events. There needs to be a discipline to how that information is used, with the right links. We have loads of tags.”
“In the last couple of years, we have considerably increased our number of followers to 27k across our social media platforms.
“We used some stunning imagery, ran some competitions to encourage the interaction with our followers, created some interesting & exciting content, for example; events, news, offers, research popular hashtags, trends, ect…and kept a friendly & informal tone to our posts.”
Today this historical property has a total of 23 units, which includes the self-catering cottages and two-bedroom suites. Excluding the self-catering cottages the total is 18, currently sleeping a maximum of 75 guests.
Its success as a high-end hospitality destination today is down to a combination of the heritage of the site, the regular attention to detail when it comes to equipping the rooms with luxury, and perhaps most notably of all, the informal approach to guests adding a comfortable feel of ease to the sense of luxury.
Our one rosette restaurant offers a great mix between high end dining and nostalgic classics.
A breakfast buffet where guests can help themselves to items such as smoked salmon and real honeycomb is there along with our cooked to order breakfast menu featuring classics like bubble & squeak with fried duck egg, smoked kippers, eggs hollandaise however you like it and of course the show-stopping full breakfast.
We offer a really relaxed lunchtime service with guests ordering at the bar in a traditional inn style with menus displayed on blackboards on the wall, a great selection of light bites, including the ever popular handpicked Devon crab sandwich offer are available along with mains such as fish and chips, steak and ale pie and catch of the day. Chef also offers up some great specials too, last week saw an incredible corned beef hash absolutely fly out of the kitchen, he’d cured his own brisket for nearly two weeks and the whole thing was made from scratch, I’d never tasted anything like it.
Dinner sees the white linen come out, lights turned down, candles lit, roaring open fire and live pianists every Friday and Saturday night. It’s an incredible setting and Chef really makes great use of the fresh seafood he receives each morning from Brixham market, just a short hop away.
“Many of the rooms have Voice activated Alexas, giving access to a huge library of music along with free outgoing UK calls. There are decanters with sloe gin on check in, Kit Kats, orange clubs, sticks of rock.”
The best bit will always be that amazing view of the Jurassic Coast out of the window though, it just can’t be beaten”
1. Build a new website and update your marketing
It has probably been a bugbear of yours for ages. Finally, you have the time to polish up your website so when the restrictions are lifted and people search again for quality accommodation, yours will stand out. And there are plenty of UK based designers out there needing work at the moment so you might even get a good deal! Contact us for a list of people we’d recommend.
2. Get round to that snagging list
So much of your time, money and care has been invested in bringing your indoor offering up to scratch. But even the best places have room for improvements.
3. Tidy up that outdoor space
Have you neglected the potential value of your outdoor space? See page 40 for more tips. Besides buying in new products, patio weeds and neglected flower beds are crying out for your attention. Give it to them while you have the time!
4. Enter the Luxury BnB Awards 2020
Entries are now being invited for the second Excellence in Luxury Service Awards. Visit luxurybbmag.co.uk/awards
5. Subscribe to Luxury Bed & Breakfast magazine
From this month, we will be charging £19 per year (after an initial 3 issues). The online issue will remain FREE.Subscribe to both issues at luxurybbmag.co.uk/subscribe/