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Westward Ho! hotel given makeover by Alex Polizzi and Hotel Inspector show

By Molly Mileham-Chappell

A hotel in Folkestone, which previously received more than 50% ‘terrible’ reviews online, has been salvaged by a TV hospitality expert.

Alex Polizzi, who presents Channel 5's The Hotel Inspector, was in the town over several months to help restore the two-star hotel Westward Ho!

The episode featuring the hotel overlooking the Leas aired for the first time last week.

Alex Polizzi at the Westward Ho! Credit: Channel 5
Alex Polizzi at the Westward Ho! Credit: Channel 5

The hotelier said at the beginning of the episode: “This hotel has some of the worst reviews I’ve ever seen.”

After investigating, she established that the 13-bed guest house in Clifton Crescent had been struggling with occupancy levels and that there was tension between live-in managers Danielle and Lloyd and owner Jon.

Lloyd said: “It’s a 24/7 job. We have no staff so every duty is basically our duty.”

Jon inherited the building from his mother and wanted to keep her vision for the hotel, where she wanted to retire. Jon had seen some of Lloyd’s previous work and decided to make him manager.

But his concerns about the professional relationship were clear: “I wouldn’t be involved in this after 16 years if I didn’t think it had potential. At this stage I need another set of eyes and ears.”

On Ms Polizzi’s arrival, she said the hotel ‘felt unloved’ and believed a lack of experience was holding the young couple back.

Alex Polizzi at the Westward Ho! Credit: Channel 5
Alex Polizzi at the Westward Ho! Credit: Channel 5

She described the pair as ‘glorified cleaners’ and decided to send them off to France for a night at a well-managed budget hotel in Boulogne, which is twinned with Folkestone.

But on their return, Lloyd handed in his notice and the pair moved into a bedroom at Danielle’s parents’ house. Despite an attempt by Ms Polizzi to mediate the situation, Lloyd and Jon were unable to reconcile.

Jon brought in his daughter Kimberley, who previously worked in customer service, to manage the bed and breakfast.

Ms Polizzi refurbished one of the family rooms for inspiration and asked the new manager to focus on the breakfast offerings, before inviting a French family to stay.

They ultimately gave the hotel a good review.

The makeover at the Westward Ho! Credit: Channel 5
The makeover at the Westward Ho! Credit: Channel 5

Owner Jon said: “The experience has been inspiring. We’re going in the right direction now and hopefully onwards and upwards.”

Since the refurbishment, the hotel has received more positive reviews on TripAdvisor.

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