An in­spec­tor calls

A coun­try pile in Devon is put un­der the mi­cro­scope

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE - SU­SAN KUROSAWA

View­ers of the pop­u­lar re­al­ity tele­vi­sion show The Ho­tel In­spec­tor would be well aware of the ex­act­ing stan­dards and of­ten de­spair­ing as­sess­ments of its star, Alex Polizzi, as she vis­its guest­houses, small ho­tels and B & Bs across Bri­tain. She is “an award-win­ning hote­lier” with a for­mi­da­ble pres­ence who also ra­di­ates charm and great good hu­mour as she at­tempts to sort out fal­ter­ing prop­er­ties.

Some­times the own­ers, no mat­ter how badly their busi­nesses are do­ing, reckon they know bet­ter than Polizzi and refuse to coun­te­nance her ad­vice, whether on staff man­age­ment or overly complicated menus. There are of­ten more tears than cheers but therein lies the show’s voyeuris­tic ap­peal. She rolls her eyes, flinches at thread­bare tow­els and flimsy cur­tains, shrieks at clashing colour schemes, and won­ders why, when she thinks she has al­ready vis­ited the worst places imag­in­able, there is al­ways an even more hideous one lurk­ing off some heav­ing mo­tor­way or be­side a tatty beach.

Polizzi is from a dynasty of hote­liers and knows the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try inside-out. Her mother, Olga Polizzi, is a renowned in­te­rior dec­o­ra­tor, sis­ter of Sir Rocco Forte of the epony­mous ac­com­mo­da­tion group, the suc­ces­sor to his fa­ther Charles Forte’s Trust House Forte em­pire. Olga runs Ho­tel Tre­san­ton by the sea­side at St Mawes on south­ern Corn­wall’s Rose­land Penin­sula and the Polizzis own Ho­tel End­sleigh in Devon, where I am bound, un­der­cover, to turn the ta­bles, as it were, and in­spect the in­spec­tor.

I want to put the ho­tel to the test in the same foren­sic fash­ion that Polizzi em­ploys in her show. Of course, Ho­tel End­sleigh is hardly in trou­ble and I know I won’t be sur­rounded by cracked Dres­den china shep­herdesses and grubby an­ti­macas­sars hid­ing stains on vel­veteen chairs. It’s a flour­ish­ing coun­try-house re­doubt, madly pop­u­lar on week­ends and set in the Ta­mar Val­ley on more than 40ha of wood­lands and rum­pled hills. It is so close to the wild and moody reaches of Dart­moor that com­pli­men­tary Ho­tel End­sleigh post­cards come with a mock frank­ing stamp of the lo­ca­tion.

A Lon­don friend books me online us­ing her credit card. I am just an­other guest, not a snoop­ing jour­nal­ist. I go for the cheap­est gue­stroom cat­e­gory and my cham­ber,

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.