Haven (4/7)

Five’s documentary series examining failing hotels in the UK takes another look at one of the establishments that featured in an earlier episode.

Following on from the first visit of hotelier and author Ruth Watson, this week’s show sees the cameras return to the Haven in Great Yarmouth to see if owners Elly and Rob have completed their hotel’s much-needed redesign.

When Ruth first visited the nine-bedroom Haven Hotel in Great Yarmouth, her mission was to rescue the fortunes of owners Elly Koopman and Rob Farrow. The couple bought the hotel a mere four months before they called on Ruth for help, after realising that they were out of their depth and desperately needed classes in running a hotel.

Upon arrival at the Haven, Ruth made the acquaintance of Elly and Rob, and learned that while the couple were keen and ambitious, there was one major stumbling block: they knew nothing of the business. Elly was determined that the Haven should be the first guesthouse in Yarmouth with a five-star rating, but Ruth was anxious that she manage her expectations and aim for a more rational three or four stars. The initial inspection was not all bad news – Ruth felt that the work the pair had already done was heading in the right direction, but warned that the couple would need to speed up the improvements if they were to last the season.

Elly and Rob’s first lesson in being good hoteliers started with a fact-finding mission to a nearby fivestar guesthouse. Despite the vast differences between the two buildings and their respective situations, however, Elly stuck to her guns and refused to lower her goal of achieving five stars. Ruth then hit upon another plan to show the couple how far they would have to go by taking them to her own hotel, the Crown and Castle in Orford. Here, head chef Max set about teaching Elly and Rob how to make a quality breakfast. Ruth then set the pair a hotelier’s exam to test them on the finer points of the business.

With Easter fast approaching, Ruth wanted Rob and Elly to complete the Haven’s much-needed refurbishments before the crucial holiday period. To this end, Ruth arranged for her team from the Crown and Castle to makeover the Haven’s oldfashioned lounge and bar – but things did not go as smoothly as planned. The mounting tension between Ruth and her charges came to a head when a busy Rob and Elly were asked to test out their breakfast skills on Ruth’s team.

But, despite the disagreements, Rob and Elly finally completed the work on the Haven and waited anxiously for Ruth’s return to show it off. What they did not realise, however, was that they still faced two more major hurdles. Firstly, Ruth sent four ‘mystery shoppers’ to the Haven to put the facilities and hospitality to the test. These special guests highlighted a few teething problems but, on the whole, their visit went well. Then, Ruth arranged for a real hotel inspector to stay the night and award the Haven a star-rating based on his experiences.

Now, the Hotel Inspector returns to Great Yarmouth to catch up with Elly and Rob. In the months that have passed since Ruth’s visit, have the owners gained the business nous they needed to make a success of their establishment? Has the hotel been successfully redesigned? And has the Haven managed to win the five stars for which Elly was so desperate?

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