One of my many dreams was to own a small Hotel by the sea… I realised this dream some years back when David and I bought a run down Hotel in Southbourne- Bournemouth. The Hotel was on it’s last legs and had had all the blood sucked out of it – the only thing it had going for it was it’s Location…Location… Location…with wonderful sea Views a stones throw from the Hotel.
I believed in my dream and went for it 100% by doing one full year at Catering and Business Management at Bournemouth University so that we could hit the ground running with a full hotel on the May Bank Holiday weekend.
I did all the cooking – with an average of 26/28 covers for dinner bed and breakfast – I also did all the laundry late into the night. Of course I had staff but I was very hands on – I had to be – as David was still running the family business. David was brilliant – he would walk through the door with his briefcase – put it down and I would hand him soup plates – he would just turn round and walk into the dining room – besides this he also did all the accounts etc…The entire hotel needed gutting… but I knew given the opportunity I could turn it round. All ten rooms had to be gutted and all ten bathroom/en suites had to be replaced… so quite apart from having a teenager at this time – also trying to gut the hotel out of season and pay back huge commercial loans was a big eye opener.
I have written a book about this experience which I may try to get published when time allows…The best thing about this hotel was and always will be the Location – get that right – then it’s just hard work after that.
Throughout the winter months with rain flooding from balconies into the dining room – we took Pilots from F.R.A at Bournemouth Airport – I don’t think we would have survived without them
Thanks Guys – and for the wonderful memories.
So, as you can tell from the above I am not afraid of hard work and never have been.
I’m a good person and have great compassion – and I’m a good friend with great loyalty. And here we are at another crossroads in life – still with the fire in my belly and the internal motivation as strong as ever.
Siobhan is happily married with a son of her own. David’s Business hit the skids because of the death of the high street… but he’s happy to be out of the rat race. Now we have the time and contacts and money to focus on my dreams. I helped David for thirty years in his business and was always there for him – apart from the hotel years – now its pay back time … which seems fair.
Our Initial Concept.
The logistics of taking the dream from the initial stages and getting help with the design – then having it manufactured in China… this was a huge step and fraught with many, many problems from importing to storage and from marketing to selling.
We made some serious mistakes along the way… but hey… they make you stronger for the second round. If you cannot learn from these mistakes then you should not be in business in the first place.
The cost to date has been heavy in pain and tears and time. We even had to fold the company once and begin all over again because we allowed the wrong person to become involved as a partner.
Now we are on the threshold of a new dream and we are free of any third parties promising what they cannot fulfil.
Everything is now in place to take this to a whole new level… and this time we are ready.
To quote a song that has great meaning…
I can see clearly now the pain has gone…
Let the journey begin…