The Hotel Inspector
They say that good things come in pairs - well I really do believe that now. I was just finishing a phone call with ITV Meridian who are featuring the Hotel and Langtrys Restaurant in a programme called Destination Dining when I receive a message that Channel 5 are on hold.
They were looking for a small quality family run hotel to feature in a TV series called The Hotel Inspector. As the Langtry Manor fit the bill on all counts they wanted to come and do a screen test. Many hoteliers would and have run for the hills when it comes to such a request. I mean anything with the word Hotel Inspector in it sends a shiver down most hoteliers' spine. Naively, perhaps, I relished the thought of some more exposure for the hotel. A few years ago we were featured on the BBC Holiday programme and were inundated with enquiries. It put the term "the phone rang off the hook" into perspective.
So the screen test went very well and both my mother and myself thought we did an admirable job. We mentioned the history of the hotel and the fact that it was built in 1877 as a lovenest by Edward VII for his mistress Lillie Langtry. We also talked about the fact that it had been designed by her with many interesting nooks, crannies and motifs to explore.
We told them that thirty years ago when we took over the hotel it was more like a guesthouse with the Kings room split up into three different rooms and modern blue wallpaper in the dining hall. However it still had that special ambience that has remained since the day it was built.
The call came on the Monday and they wanted to start filming on the Wednesday. I immediately launched directly onto a crash diet and ordered an extra special spring clean.
Many of the staff were dubious about the decision to expose the hotel to such scrutiny as you never know what can go wrong, however, I had the courage of my convictions. The film crew arrived and interviewed the Family prior to the Hotel Inspector's (Ruth Watson) arrival.
I now understand why she did not say hello or even smile at me, but that was when I was wondering if I had made the right decision. Her reputation of being ruthless and taking no prisoners was being confirmed in my mind. She chose me as her first victim for a grilling and what a grilling it was! My whole attention was taken with responding to the cross examination that I was receiving - in my own restaurant. My mind was unable to process the fact that I was being recorded for national TV at the same time.
Next on the block was my mother and my brother. I was not permitted in the room while they were being interrogated. I could only hope that they dealt with it better than I did.
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