Friday, 24 September 2010

Mapplethorpe Exhibition

Just got back from the opening of the Mapplethorpe exhibition at the Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne. The entrance is swamped with warnings about the sexually explicit nature of some of the photographs which should certainly get a few of our local gentlefolk reaching for their pen to write to the Eastbourne Herald newspaper.

In the circumstances, I was a bit disappointed to find very little which might be remotely described as erotic.....perhaps I should write to the Eastbourne Herald to complain.......

The exhibition runs from the 25th September through to the 21st November 2010 at the Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne.

Monday, 6 September 2010


Who would believe that buying five television sets (32 inch Samsung TVs for the technically minded) could cause such a problem. First the credit card we used bounced and, while we are sitting here awaiting delivery, nobody bothers to tell us.

So we submit a second order (using a different credit card) which bounces because the company cannot believe that anyone would want to buy FIVE television sets….certainly no one bothered to appreciate that the first line of my address has the name of a hotel in it!

Finally after I have convinced everyone that I really do want five TVs the shop gets cold feet because it is my name on the credit card and not that of the hotel manager…… I now know why the MasterCard advert says ‘”there are some things that money can’t buy” …..

……five Samsung television sets!!!!!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Positive Reviews

Definitely in a good mood today as I read three positive reviews on Laterooms then then find another positive review written on TripAdvisor.

The Laterooms reviews talk of the friendly staff, amazing rooms and excellent breakfast although one guest said they had to wait too long on the first morning….the staff got a real telling off over that I can tell you!!!

The TripAdvisor Review said they felt as though they were “staying with friends” and suggested that “customer service here is not just a phrase in passing, but in the culture of the hotel” ….. what a nice comment and what an aspiration for all of us.

PS My good mood was further lifted when I read a review for one of our competitor hotels titled ‘A Big Disappointment’ describing the place as more cheap than chic . The reviewer goes on to describe the room as tiny, the curtains as terrible, the breakfast as simple and the look as jaded.

PPS I am now reading about the dirty pants on the balcony of room 108 at the Travelodge….and the reviewer has even been kind enough to include a picture for us all to see. …I am off to check my balconies!!!!

TripAdvisor reviews at

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Art @ the da Vinci

The da Vinci Hotel offers an excellent venue for local artists with ongoing exhibitions in the spacious downstairs rooms. Recent shows have included work by a community group of disabled artists as well as the annual Open House exhibition.
The latest exhibition is provided by FrockArt which is a group of Sussex based women artists who regularly exhibit together. The works is exhibited over 4 rooms and includes paintings, prints, photography and textiles.
The exhibition is open between 10.00am and 5.00pm each day and runs until the 30th October. Members of the artist group will regularly be in residence to talk to visitors...we look forward to seeing you here.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Don't get ripped off

One of my favourite songs from the musical ‘Les Miserables’ is titled ‘Master of the House’ which offers an extensive list of how to rip off your paying guests....

Charge 'em for the lice. Extra for the mice
Two percent for looking in the mirror twice
Here a little slice. There a little cut
Three percent for sleeping with the window shut
When it comes to fixing prices
There are a lot of tricks he knows
How it all increases. All those bits and pieces
Jesus! It's amazing how it grows!

I am ashamed to say that, when it comes to fixing prices, a few of the Eastbourne hotels have managed to perfect the art of extracting additional money from their guests using a variety of ploys. For your information, I am happy to offer a few of the most common money generating schemes as follows:

Room only rate
I appreciate that some guests might not want breakfast but the tendency to offer room only rates is often a ploy to get you to fork out outrageous amounts of money for poor quality breakfasts. We include a full English breakfast as part of the advertised rate and do not believe that breakfast should be offered at an additional cost.

Early booking in
I find it hard to believe that some hotels expect you to pay extra money for the opportunity of getting into you room before 2.00pm....what justification can they offer for such practice. If you tell us that you are arriving early then we will always try to accommodate your wishes – and at no extra charge.

Late booking out
Our guests appreciate that rooms need to be serviced before the next occupants arrive but charging you extra to stay beyond 10.00am is a bit steep. If you want to leave late and we can accomodate that within the housekeepers hours then we will do so – and at no extra charge to you.

Parking permits
A recent traveller review for a local hotel thought that the £2 cost for a parking permit was rather reasonable...there are other reports of guests being charged up to £5. These permits cost hoteliers £0.50 to purchase and our philosophy is to give all of our guests complementary parking permits for the duration of their stay.

Little extras
Some hotels like to charge you extra for those little extras ....such as soap and shampoo. We don’t expect our guests to provide these essentials and we certainly don’t intend to fill our foyer with machines that dispense such items. We are happy to provide soap, shampoo, toilet paper etc, .... to our guest with our compliments.

Sea view
You can see the sea from all of our front rooms if you lean out of the window as far as possible and look to your right. Of course we don’t charge extra for our ‘sea view’ and certainly do not extort additional money from our guests on arrival. The price we agree is the price you pay...and that includes taxes!

Please let me know of any other money spinners which you find out about and I will be happy to include them on my list.

PS The musical piece titled ‘Master of the House’ can be at

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Five new rooms

Summer is upon us again and time to spend our money and open a few more rooms. Five more rooms at the back of the house which Farakh is calling his budget rooms. I am not sure about the budget rooms judging by the money so far expended ...and that doesn't include the wallpaper at £55 per roll.
The new rooms are being rewired and replastered. We are having to start again with the bathrooms including all new fixtures. Then it is the walls and the floors plus the furniture and the curtains balance permitting Anyway, we promise to keep you posted on their progress - so watch this space.

PS The picture above is one of the old rooms. The beds had to be taken to the tip. The woodchip took ages to remove and the colour scheme (mostly magnolia and peach) just had to go

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Every hotel should have one....

I have suddenly realised that one of the strengths of the daVinci are the staff themselves and, in particular, the manager whose contribution to the hotel is rarely acknowledged.

Frank (aka Farakh to his family) has held the role of manager since the opening of the hotel and is responsible for the day to day running of the establishment. He looks after the booking system, updates our availability, manages the hotel finances and was responsible for designing the hotel website.

In the morning he is up early serving the guest breakfasts and is so particular about quality that he rarely lets anyone else cook. Interestingly enough, the only complaints that we have ever had about breakfasts were on the days when Frank was not in charge....I suppose I should be grateful that he takes so few holidays!

As if this is not enough evidence of his varied talents, Frank is the person responsible for the designs in our rooms at the top of the hotel.

Every hotel should have a Frank and I am pleased that we have and they have not!!!

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Beachy Head Lighthouse

Trinity House intends to switch off the Beachy Head lighthouse because modern navigation equipment has made lighthouses less important for negotiating the coast.

The lighthouse is the second lighthouse in the area and was brought into service in 1902 when the original Belle Toute lighthouse was decommissioned because of cliff erosion.

The Beachy Head lighthouse was staffed by three lighthouse keepers until 1983 when it became fully automated. The iconic red-and-white striped tower is 43 metres high and situated 165 metres from the base of the cliffs.

The new lighthouse was built under the direction of Sir Thomas Matthews, the Trinity House Engineer-in-Chief and took two years to complete. The lighthouse was constructed from 3,660 tons of Cornish granite.

The original Belle Toute lighthouse still remains although not in its original position. In 1999 due to continuing erosion threatening the future of the building the lighthouse was lifted up on runners and dragged 17 metres inland to safer ground.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Another year at an end and I have decided to draw up my own honours list dedicated to all of those people who have managed to make my life a misery during the course of 2009.

In no particular order............

The skip company who thought it acceptable to take additional money from the hotel credit card long after we had settled our bill.

The building company who installed new showers on the top floor of the hotel and put half of them in the wrong way around.

Our contracted lift company for telling us about the faults with our lift but fail to do anything about them.

British Gas for failing to send us a bill then trying to recoup the money by threatening to take us to court.

‘JustTravelling1’ who asked us to ensure that art work was suitable for viewing by young children and had no pictures with 'naughty bits'.

‘PJS999’ who managed to write a negative review about us on TripAdvisor in spite of the fact they never stayed at the hotel.

The neighbour who lets their dog crap all over the beautiful square outside the hotel because they can’t be bothered to clean up.

The local council for introducing parking restrictions and not even giving us a day off on Bank Holidays ...what a rip off!

The Planning Committee for hassling me mercilessly about the hotel sign and then approving it unconditionally.

The Performing Rights Society who are now trying to extort money from us because we have television sets in all of our bedrooms.

...and finally.

A big thank you to all our guests who made 2009 such a memorable year and our very best wishes for 2010 when we look forward to seeing you again.

Paul and everyone at the da Vinci Hotel