Five’s documentary series examining failing British hotels revisits one of the establishments that featured in an earlier episode. This week’s show sees the cameras return to Bournemouth to visit Vincent and Lidy Van Nuyk, the Dutch owners of the 14-bedroom Safari hotel. When hotelier Ruth Watson first met them, Vincent and Lidy were deep in debt and in danger of losing their business.

Vincent and Lidy took on the Safari after 13 years spent running a restaurant in Ireland took their toll on Vincent’s health. However, their hopes of a quiet life were dashed: the hotel failed to turn a profit and the pair were driven to the brink of bankruptcy. The lack of money was reflected in the shabbiness of the hotel, which was in dire need of renovation. “We feel defeated,” sighed Lidy. “We want to improve, but we have no cash for it.” To save money, Lidy and Vincent carried out all the work themselves – including cleaning the 14 bedrooms and doing all the cooking – and were forced to live in one room. Overwhelmed, they had no idea how to pull themselves out of this hole and needed someone to show them how to improve things.

When Ruth first visited the Safari to assess the situation, she immediately noticed the “dubious” signage – including an unfriendly ‘No Jobs’ sign in the front window. Things did not get much better inside, as Ruth clocked the hallway’s eyewatering colour scheme. “I see yellow and red décor and I know I’m in for something vile,” she shuddered, before moving into the chaotic safarithemed lounge and bar. “It’s just junk!” she gasped, taking in the vast array of jungle-themed bric-a-brac. “I just find it so depressing.”

When Ruth met Vincent and Lidy, she pulled no punches. “There’s no way of me saying this without it sounding offensive,” she stated, baldly. “I hate this.” Reeling slightly from the criticism, Vincent showed his new guest to his best room for the night – but she had nothing good to say about that either.

Ruth immediately noticed a stain on one of the towels, crumbling décor, unpleasant bedding, a “pitiful” bathroom and a mirror “you wouldn’t steal from a skip”. The other bedrooms did not fare much better. “Look at this shower!” shrieked Ruth after spotting a skirting board installed, bafflingly, halfway up the cubicle wall. Eventually she came to the difficult conclusion that she could not stay the night – but returned for breakfast, which she deemed one of the hotel’s stronger points.

Ruth told Vincent and Lidy that the hotel’s books made for “woeful reading”, and explained that the only way to resolve their “Catch-22” situation was to make radical changes. She suggested transforming the lounge into a chic, all-day breakfast café, which would provide much-needed revenue to be ploughed back into the hotel. “The future’s looking beautiful,” declared an optimistic Vincent after accepting Ruth’s suggestions.

Despite the enormity of the task, the refit began quickly. A team of professional cleaners gave the hotel a much-needed once-over; the bedrooms were transformed; and the lounge was reborn as a cool, modern café with tasteful safari touches. However, when the day of the café’s opening arrived, Ruth fretted that Vincent was not going to be ready. “They’re not going to get their act together,” she worried.

Now, the Hotel Inspector returns to Bournemouth to catch up with Vincent and Liddy. In the months that have passed since Ruth’s visit, have the owners managed to conquer their financial problems in order to complete the Safari’s much-needed renovation? Has the new café proved to be a success? And does Vincent still believe the future is beautiful?

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