A family-run B&B is celebrating its 30th anniversary today (July 11).
The Devonhurst in Eastern Esplanade, Broadstairs, is run by the Payne family – Margaret, David, Matthew and Kadriye.
The business was started in 1987 when Margaret and David moved with their family to fulfill the dream of running a guest house.
After 25 years, Margaret and David were joined in the business by youngest son Matthew and his wife, Kadriye.
In the beginning…
David said: “We bought The Devonhurst Hotel in April 1987 as a doer upper. It took 13 weeks to refurbish and we opened our doors on July 11, 1987.
“Refurbishment meant new ceilings, walls, rewiring, central heating, replumbing and new vanity units, beds, bedding, crockery and a new kitchen.
“The first day we opened back in 1987 we had no advance bookings and were empty, by the end of the day we were full! We filled up off the road with guests from the USA, Switzerland, South Africa, Australia and of course the UK.
“It is very different now with advance internet bookings direct from our website, telephone bookings and careful use of OTA’s.”
The couple were not finished with the refurbishment work and withint three years had revised the layout of the B&B, created two new en-suite balcony bedrooms and en-suited all the others. They had help with a grant from the English Tourist Board and advice and a soft loan from Thanet District Council tourism department.
David said: “At this time we also had our first of many annual visits from the Hotel Inspectors, just as you see on television. We currently proudly hold a Four-Star Guest Accommodation Grading and a Silver award from Visit Britain.”
Catering for all tastes
The family, who have been winners and runners up in the annual Pride in Thanet awards several times, offer guests an award-winning Kentish breakfast usually local produce and also cater for vegetarian, vegan, celiac and other special diets.
Booking is easy as the family have embraced new technology. David said: “We have developed our own online management system to manage bookings, it will also take deposits and final payments from a guest even if you do not have an EPOS machine! It has just been released into the market place for other similar businesses to use.”
40,000 guests – so far
Over the years the Paynes have had some 40,000 guests and plan to host many more.
David said: “You never know who is coming to your door but we enjoy every minute of it. Once it was the Metropolitan police checking us out for a stay by Dr The Rev Ian Paisley and his wife, another was a famous author who stayed with us over Christmas but did not tell us until they returned home.”