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Monday, October 18, 2021

Hoylake B&B Number Fifteen in Stanley Road attracts visitors from across the world. Here, proprietor Hilary Skinner gives an insight into what it's like:

There is no such thing as a typical day when you run a bed and breakfast and that’s one of the reasons I love it! You meet so many fascinating people and it is lovely when guests come back again and again, although I enjoy meeting all my new guests too.

With our fabulous location overlooking Royal Liverpool we do of course get lots of golfers, but we get plenty of other guests too. As well as those visiting family and friends we get windsurfers, sand yachters, walkers, bird watchers, Navy and Army officers (much to the envy of my friends!), and people visiting the area on business. We’ve also had two guys whose “job” is to deliver treats to golfers part way round the course, by remote control truck or model airplane – what a job!

Weddings are a topic on their own. We’ve had brides stay the night before the wedding (and a Ferrari and Rolls in our driveway) nervous grooms and best men sitting with their I pads at breakfast frantically searching on Youtube for a video of how to tie a “real” bow tie, and several couples on their wedding night. One photographer said to me, “I wish every bride could start from here with your spacious rooms, you wouldn’t believe the number of times I have to photograph the bride and bridesmaids in a room the size of a broom cupboard!” We’ve refrigerated a cheesecake overnight (a wedding cake made out of wheels of cheese) and provided sieves, palate knives, icing sugar etc to a houseful of guests who had each been asked to bring a cake to a wedding as the dessert. I’ve learned that my role is to help with the last minute crises and when guests are getting ready for a wedding I’m always on hand with sellotape, scissors and a variety of pins!

"I’ve learned that my role is to help with the last minute crises and when guests are getting ready for a wedding I’m always on hand with sellotape, scissors and a variety of pins!"

Any famous faces? A favourite question – well we had Colin Montgomerie, but lovely though he is, he isn’t the famous one! However we have had a famous actress, a famous cricketer and an Olympic Gold medal winner and world record holder….so yes!

Any tricky moments?.... Well there was the guy who drove up from South Wales and arrived here, unexpectedly early, at 9am, when the previous night’s guests were enjoying their leisurely breakfast. He knew his company had booked a twin and a single room and he wanted to make sure he got the single. Slightly unfortunately for him, one guy didn’t turn up so they each got a room to themselves anyway. Then there was the couple who turned up a day early when we were full. We coped and they were extremely apologetic when they checked the dates on their e-mail and realised their mistake!

I’m amazed by the number of people from different countries who visit us. To date we have had guests from twenty six different countries, including Pakistan, Bermuda, Russia, Alaska, Japan, Slovenia, and, surely hard to beat, St Kitts and Nevis. The second thing that surprises me is that guests often help clear away after breakfast. When I try and get them to stop, because they are after all on their holiday, they say things along the lines of “we clear up at home, and we feel at home here, so we WANT to help”. And one thing I certainly didn’t expect was the number of thank you cards and present guests give me. I’ve had bouquets of flowers, bottles of wine, a voucher for a restaurant “so you can enjoy somebody else looking after you for a change” and a manicure, to name but a few.

Is there a job I’d rather do? I doubt it….although flying those treats in by model airplane does sound fun!


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