Management of Hull’s first boutique hotel are flying the flag for the city’s independents after emerging as the surprise package to win a TV hospitality challenge.
The Hideout Hotel overcame tough competition from tourism heavyweights including North Yorkshire and Edinburgh to win the award for best bed and breakfast in Channel 4’s “Four in a Bed” show.
Jodie Richardson and Enya Donohoe, who manage the Hideout Hotel, said they entered because they wanted to show the charm of Hull and its array of independent businesses to a nationwide TV audience.
Two of the businesses which featured in the coverage – Hotham’s Gin School and Thieving Harry’s café and restaurant – said the coverage highlighted the level of collaboration which has become routine between Hull’s independent businesses.
“Four in a Bed”, which ran on Channel 4 from Monday to Friday during the last week, showed representatives of each destination visiting their rivals for an overnight stay between lockdowns during 2020, running the rule over the facilities and sampling activities in the local area.
Guests gave their feedback on each location and the Hideout Hotel was announced as the winner on Friday after visitors revealed how much money they thought each experience was worth.
Jodie and Enya visited the Juniperlea Inn gastro pub at Blackshiels near Edinburgh, Starshinezzz farmhouse B&B at Trimdon Grange near Durham and Hideaway cabins and camping at Baxby Manor, near Thirsk.
They ranked each venue based on cleanliness, comfort and overall quality after staying overnight and taking part in activities which included a forest walk, kayaking and apple picking.
The episode focusing on the Hideout Hotel challenged the preconceptions of the guests as they arrived to discover the mid-century style and luxury furnishings of the accommodation, the fun of making their own gin at Hotham’s Gin School and the unique dining experience at Thieving Harry’s after a walk through the Old Town and round the Marina.
Other contributors in the background included Marla’s sandwich shop in Paragon Arcade, The Blending Room coffee roasters and traders in Trinity Market.
Emma Kinton of Hotham’s Gin School said: “It was a great showcase for Hull and it made us realise that you can come here for a short break and have a great time purely by enjoying the independent businesses rather than the big chains.
“They are businesses run by people who are passionate about what they do and about collaborating with other independents. It’s just the norm for all of us.”
Jodie said the appearances on Four in a Bed prompted glowing feedback from the other participants, from friends and business contacts and from prospective guests.
She said: “We’ve had some lovely messages on our social media and there was a big spike on the website which is great to see. Occupancy has been surprisingly good during the last year. It was strictly NHS workers during the first lockdown and more recently we’ve had contractors and other people visiting the city with their work.
“We were thrilled to win but the whole point of entering was to show off Hull and the other independent businesses, because we have both worked in so many of them and the city is so unique.”
Enya said: “All the guests on the show were pleasantly surprised. We took them to some of our favourite places and nobody expected the experience they got. If you do not like Hull you are not doing it right. People who hate Hull have either never been here or have never left.”
[Phil Ascough – Ascough Associates]