Would you put your property on reality TV?

Well, that’s exactly what one hotel in the Lake District is doing, starting on Channel 4 this weekend.  Well, it’s not quite reality TV, but close, with a new eight part TV series documenting life inside a three star Lake District hotel.

The Damson Dene Hotel was filmed last summer for a TV show titled ‘The Hotel’.  The eight part fly-on-the-wall documentary starts on Sunday 17 April at 8pm and will continue for eight weeks.  Created by the team behind popular TV shows such as ‘The Family’ and ‘One Born Every Minute’, The Hotel follows the highs and lows of staff and guests at the Damson Dene with highlights ranging from weddings and proposals to the day to day running of the hotel.

The Damson Dene Hotel is a three star hotel located close to the hamlet of Crossthwaite.  The property offers a total of 40 bedrooms including 10 with four poster beds and three family suites.  Other facilities onsite include a bar, restaurant, gym, swimming pool, sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi.

It’s a brave thing to do, that’s for sure. Quite what will be uncovered and how the hotel will be shown could potentially drive bookings, or drive them away.  What’s certain is that it will be an interesting insight into life behind the scenes of a typical british hotel.  I hope it does the hotel more good than bad!

The Damson Dene’s manager Wayne Bartholomew, is the undoubted star of the show and will be a central character with whom audiences can relate.  The hotel owner, Jonathan Denby is also a central character who’s keen interest in Slow Food is evident during the series.

Rooms at the hotel cost from £59 per person per night including breakfast or for an additional £20 per person per night visitors can upgrade to a dinner, bed and breakfast package.

‘The Hotel’ will air weekly on Channel 4 at 8pm from Sunday 17 April.   Good luck!!

To find more information on this hotel, please click here.

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23 thoughts on “Would you put your property on reality TV?

  1. Thanks for posting on this, or I would have missed it! The set-up actually rings scarily true of the hotel I manage, and as such, I probably wouldn’t take part in such a series. Although very funny and watchable, I’m not sure by the end of the series if this hotel will come off well, or more as a comedy joke. I do hope not.

  2. Good 1st episode, but I wonder if the hotel’s wishing they had never allowed cameras in. Look at the negatives – an entire customer facing staff of Eastern European’s who speak very poor English, a chef that I wouldn’t let me cook beans on toast for looking at him, Henry hoover left out whilst people are checking in, shabby rooms… it’s so watchable, especially for hotel managers like me, but it’s potentially bad publicity if the rest of the series goes the same way.

  3. When that poor guy dragged that table across the room at the end, and the vase shattered to the floor, I couldn’t stop laughing. Pure comedy if nothing else!

  4. One word. Funny!
    However, surely that owner is slightly concerned about what’s being shown and how his hotel is looking on natioanl tv… it’s no advert to go and stay there.

  5. Would you stay at a hotel that you now know has so many Eastern European staff (and not only that, staff that can’t even speak English, or follow simple instructions)?
    Not me. If anything, I’d cancel my reservation.

    • Thanks everyone for your comments so far. Interesting that by far, all comments I’ve had both on the blog, and through Twitter and email have all been from hoteliers, and so far you’ve all been put off doing something similar!
      I think it’s important that we continue to watch the next few episodes and then judge this hotel. Quite clearly, there are many “charachters” at work in the hotel and remember, I am sure the makers at Channel 4 are carefully selecting the most watchable bits, so it may not be a true dipiction.
      Stick eith it, and keep the deabe coming on Hotel Insight – great stuff so far!

  6. Not sure that Channel 4 are depicting the hotel as they saw it – just picked bits that are watchable. I wonder what editing control the hotel actually has?

  7. Guys, lets hold back criticism until the end of the series. Yes, theres a lot of negatives there, but a few positives too. The personal service re engagement is one example.

  8. What I don’t understand is how a hotel could take on staff who’s first language isn’t English, having presumably interviewed them! surely they must have realised from the interview they could speka NO English in some people’s cases?

  9. I’m going to book just so I can try and spot the rather odd owner and see if he tells me to put sugar in my flowers! Hahaha

  10. Simon – Hotel Insight’s fast come the hotel industry’s message board for this programme! Great to see everyone exchanging views. I’d have my property on The Hotel like a shot! All publicity is good publicity as far as I’m concerned.

  11. Ok, so there’s a lot of negativity here. Come on guy’s, let’s look at a big positive. It’s a beautiful setting in a beautiful part of the British Isles. The hotel openly say they are very 3 star. It screams one thing. Refurb. Do it up, make it a 5 star spa retreat. There’s potential there. And I wouldn’t be surprised if that owner is using the programme to market and see the hotel on to someone else for a tidy sum. (Or do the work himself off the back of C4’s money).

  12. @Sophie Earl – 100% agree!!!!!!! Funniest thing on TV this year (well, maybe not quite… but still made me laugh!!)

  13. ok, 3 episodes in. Really funny, good entertainment, but I have to admit, having worked in the hospitality industry for 30 years, it makes me feel embarrassed. If they knew how bad they would look, why do it?
    Horrible staff, an angry, nasty bully of a chef, dated hotel – that’s what people are saying.

  14. Have to admit, I’m getting a bit sick of the show. I too own a small hotel, not dissimilar to this one, and it’s giving us all a bad name. Inappropriate staff, lack of English speakers, bad management… I just hope the good British public don’t tar all independent hotels with the same brush.
    THIS IS DOING THE INDEPENDENT HOTELS CONSIDERABLE DAMAGE!

  15. Good to see this week the real and honest opinions by guests – and C4 showing the good and bad and how different they can be – everything is about personal opinion in a guest relationship.
    However, one thing is for sure – there are more bad than good, and the way the hotel manager handled the TripAdvisor review was appauling. That guy will never work in hospitality again.

    • Hi everyone. Thanks for the many comments about The Hotel – great to see so many opinions being shared here on Hotel Insight. I will be interviewing the Manager and Owner of the Damson Dene, so please leave any questions you have and I’ll put as many of them as possible across. This interview will be to answer questions from the hotel industry – so be open, honest and frank and ask the burning questions you have!
      I will post the full interview on Hotel Insight as soon as I can. So, please either leave your questions here, or email me at hotelinsight@hotmail.co.uk
      Cheers, Simon
      Editor of Hotel Insight Blog!

  16. Hi all,
    I had decided for a long time not to leave a comment on this post, or tweet what quickly became niggles and frustrations about what I was seeing on The Hotel, but after watching the latest episode on Sunday evening, I decided Hotel Insight was probably the place to let out some anger to people who understand the hospitality industry.
    Firstly, and probably why I get worked up about this show, is that what Channel 4 are showing is not how the average hotel operates. I am sure the television company are putting together all the tasty bits, and actually, this is not a true reflection on the hotel or how it’s run. However…. I do object to this manager. He comes across ok in the interview sections, then he has the misfortune of being shown at his most stressed. Like I say, I am sure his behaviour on Sunday’s show was picked out to make good TV, but lets face it, as a GM you NEVER speak to staff in that way – especially if English isn’t their first language. He employed the poor guy afterall.
    It’s for this reason I decided to comment on this post, as it seems many hoteliers like myself have done. I have 25 years behind me, managing places just like the Damson Dene, and can honestly say, i have NEVER spoken to staff like that. If the Owner has anything about him, he will review this footage carefully and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
    One word of defence for the GM – 50% of the staff shown on this programme are work-shy and offensive – must be a tough team to manage.
    Most of all, what I am not happy about is that the general public now think what’s shown by Channel 4 is common place in all small British hotels. This is not the case. We are professionals. Our industry prides itself on bringing through leaders and excellent business people – so anyone reading this, please take my work for it that this is a bad reflection on what’s a diverse and great industry.
    Rant over. Channel 4 – PLEASE be fairer to these guys. GM – remember your position!
    Cheers, Andy

    • Hi Andy, thanks for your comment, and a very passionate defence of our industry. And actually, I think Andy’s expressed what a lot of people are feeling who are contributing to this blog. Let’s face it, most people reading this work in hospitality at some level, and to see the industry represented badly does hurt. We should remember though that there are two sides to every story, and this is not a factual documentation about hotel operations. Channel 4 and the makers of the series have to provide content that entertains. If that means picking out every bad things that’s happened, that’s what they will do. Yes, I totally agree with many comments about the way situations have been handled, but let’s remember we are seeing what a TV company want us to see.
      Thanks all for your comments, I’m pleased to see that the show’s made such good talking points and that my blog has been a real hub of opinion!
      Cheers, Simon – Editor of Hotel Insight

  17. Wow, what a rant Andy, but fully support what your trying to saying. Nice as he comes accross, if that GM walked into my hotel wanting a job, he woulsn’t get it. If I were him, I’d be asking Channel 4 / Owner of Damson for compensation!

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