Alex visits the market town of Wisbech, where the 300-year-old Rose and Crown is in crisis.
Alex Polizzi attempts to help the struggling Sunnyside Hotel in Blackpool. In a bid to boost the B&B's pitiful occupancy rate, the owners plan a huge refurbishment - but refuse to take on Alex's suggestions. Can she get them to incorporate her design ideas and improve the lousy service?
The Sunnyside Hotel lies in an ordinary-looking Blackpool street packed with guesthouses. The three-star B&B is owned by Julie and David. With no previous experience in hospitality, the couple bought the nine-bedroom Sunnyside three years ago. They are now teetering on the edge of bankruptcy with a miserable occupancy rate of 20 per cent.
Julie and David have an audacious plan to rescue their business. Flying in the face of a worldwide recession, they want to spend £190,000 to refurbish the establishment - turning the three-star Sunnyside into a five-star hotel named Langtrys. With intelligent lighting, electronic key cards and TVs in the bathrooms, Julie and David are convinced they will rise above the competition.
It does not take award-winning hotelier Alex Polizzi long to spot the Sunnyside's problems. She is initially struck by the establishment's unique style of décor. Then there is the matter of staff failing to carry Alex's bag up to her room. The next morning, she finds the breakfast is barely adequate for a three-star, and some way off the level of five-star accommodation. Alex sits Julie and David down to discuss her findings. Her first point is that the pair need to look at reducing the budget for the build. Secondly, Alex is concerned by their lack of taste, and presents them with her vision of what a five-star B&B should look like. Lastly, she tells Julie and David they have a long way to go to attain the level of service that is needed.
On her return to Blackpool, the hotel inspector unveils her cost-saving design. However, Julie and David feel it lacks the 'wow' factor and claim it looks like a Travelodge. Apoplectic with rage, Alex leaves, convinced that Julie and David never had any intention of listening to her. Do they really want her help?
A month later, Alex returns to the Sunnyside to find that Julie and David have had a change of heart and are taking on board a number of her design ideas. The next area for Alex to tackle is the service. No matter how much they spend, if the couple do not deliver in the service stakes, they will not get their badly needed five stars. Alex sends Julie and David to a local luxury B&B and tests them on a variety of aspects of service. They both fail to come up to scratch. Alex tells them in no uncertain terms that they need to buck up their ideas or all the money they are spending will be wasted.
When Alex returns to Blackpool for her final visit, the Sunnyside Hotel has been transformed into Langtrys. Alex is impressed with the new interior - it is light and modern with airy rooms, fantastic bathrooms and all the modern conveniences a five-star guest would expect. But Alex's big concern is still the couple's sub-standard service.
The ultimate test is a full guesthouse, including an assessor from Visit England paying a secret visit to give Langtrys its new rating. After a hectic night, Alex reveals the assessor to David and Julie. Will he award them the five stars they so desperately need to make their business a success?