Series 5 - The Walpole Bay Hotel, Margate

Jane Bishop, proprietor of the Walpole Bay Hotel

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Alex visits the Walpole Bay, an Edwardian hotel in Margate that is rapidly reaching crisis point. Can she talk some sense into the feuding family owners and give this fading venture a brighter future?

The Walpole Bay was once at the epicentre of the Margate tourist trade. But much like Margate itself, this once grand old dame has seen better days. The Edwardian hotel was on the brink of closure until the Bishop family attempted to rescue it. But with no previous experience of the hospitality industry, it has not been a smooth ride for them.

Mother Jane Bishop rules the roost at the Walpole. However, the family is increasingly riven by arguments and Jane's disgruntled son, Justin, and frustrated daughter, Domini, are desperate for a bigger input into how the hotel is run. Unable to reach an agreement on the best way to rescue their troubled finances, the Bishops are at breaking point. If something is not done soon, the Walpole Bay faces closure once again.

Hotel inspector Alex Polizzi, part of the Rocco Forte hotel dynasty, has just the background and training to point out where the family is going wrong. On her first visit, Alex realises the magnificent building and fabulous features are drowned by matriarch Jane's limitless appetite for collecting tat for her living museum.

The next morning, Alex calls a meeting with Jane, Justin and Domini to discuss her findings. Toughtalking Alex pulls no punches - if she wants to save the hotel, Jane is going to have to give up her fiefdom and let her children have some control. She will also have to get rid of some of her exhibits. They are all going to have to make the Walpole work as a business rather than a hobby. A tidier but still crowded reception greets Alex on her return to the Walpole a month later. It is a very clear message from Jane that the museum is here to stay. Fortunately, Alex is one step ahead and has called in an expert to secretly visit the museum. The news that her pride and joy is a confused mess in need of some serious pruning does not go down too well with Jane.

Alex calls another meeting with Jane, Justin and Domini. She is concerned that too much time is being spent on the museum, to the detriment of the hotel. She offers to help with marketing and modernising the rooms, but in return the family must get organised on the business front and host a soiree to reveal the new rooms to the world. When Alex returns for her final visit she finds that Jane has finally pruned the museum back. The guests love the new-look rooms and pared-down museum, and an almost harmonious management team is putting the final touches to the impending party. The hotel is full and the party for almost 100 guests is just getting started. Can the Bishops make the event a success and restore the Walpole Bay's flagging fortunes?



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