Hotel Owner Hotel Owner July 2017 digital - Page 37

FEATURE DU MAURIER’S DESK Willy. So people leave here to walk there Why don’t you live in Cornwall? and we’ve got Dozmary pool which is quite Mainly because my daughter is doing close to the Inn. her A Levels and we didn’t want to disturb her schooling. So there’s a How did you get into the hospitality special about running a hotel. Most of it possibility that once she goes to industry? is just leading a business, dealing with university this autumn we may consider I sold out a large group of companies about staff, dealing with the financial side of moving down to Cornwall. six years ago and one of the things I have things. There’s a lot of just straightforward always fancied having one day was my own business which I already knew. The 20% I Is it the first property you have owned? hotel. So I bought it for the fun of it rather picked up quite quickly. It’s the first hotel yes. Are you hands on at the Inn? Do you plan to own anymore or will What have you learned since working Very much so. I commute every week from you stay at the Jamaica Inn for the there? Surrey which is a journey of 250 miles. It long haul? One of the things I’ve learned is that 80% takes me three and a half hours. I come down I got close to buying another hotel recently in what you do with running a hotel is just at the crack of dawn on Monday morning although I understand that is now being standard business techniques that you’ve and I usually stay till the Thursday or Friday bought by someone else. So [when] the learnt over the years. It’s only that odd evening and occasionally I do a full week as right hotel comes up I’m interested in 20% that has to be learnt. That’s what’s well so I can see the seven-day cycle. acquiring a second one. than the need to earn an income. Jamaica Inn is a hotel and restaurant based in north Cornwall and has been accommodating guests since 1750 when it was a coaching inn. It served as a rest stop for tired travellers but quickly became a ‘safe haven’ for those carrying contraband to smuggle through the country. Half of the brandy and a quarter of the tea smuggled into the UK is said to have passed along the Cornish and Devon coasts. The property gained recognition when English author Daphne du Maurier stayed there following some heavy fog. Following her experiences and the smuggling and ghost stories told to her during her time at the Inn, du Maurier wrote the thriller novel in 1936 titled Jamaica Inn which was later produced into a film by Alfred Hitchcock. During its existence, the presence of ghostly spirits have been rumoured to be commonplace at the property with ‘Most Haunted’ featuring the hotel in a TV episode. One incident that stands out in terms of creepy goings on is the mysterious – and still unsolved - death of a guest who was called outside as he was enjoying a tankard of ale. Leaving his half drunk beverage, the man stepped out and his body was found on the moors the next morning. It is rumoured that his spirit returns to the bar to this day. Due to its history the Inn has since become a museum-cum-hotel, offering ghost visits and complete with a gift shop. July 2017 37