A rescue mission originally thought of as lasting for a year or two turned into a 35 year lifetime love affair with a beautiful old building. There were to be battles royal with neighbours not wanting their status quo to be altered, and with the local fire authority who sought to impose draconian new safety measures. John Searancke came to the role of hotelkeeper almost accidentally, and most definitely with much reluctance. After his parents’ marriage fell apart, he was dragooned in, at the age of 22, to pick up the pieces of their new venture, a barely-trading country house hotel that had, frankly, seen better days. Not only was it posting an annual loss, but the fabric of the building was crumbling and there was no money left to make improvements.
Over the years, and with the steepest of learning curves, the grand old building was renovated and transformed to meet the requirements of the modern discerning traveller. Accolades for the hotel and its restaurant were won; together they became a well-regarded destination for a number of celebrities – and those that deemed themselves to be celebrities but were not. Stories abound featuring idiosyncratic guests, overbearing public bodies, fractured family life and animals of all shapes and sizes. The local fire station next door was demolished one foggy night, people were frightened by flying dogs and snakes in the long grass, and there were, as befits a country house, strange goings on in the night. Many were the guests who checked in who really should not have been seen together.
"The Reluctant Hotelkeeper by John Searancke is an engaging memoir that takes readers into the life of the author who ended up reluctantly being a hotelkeeper, and how his rescue mission ended up being a love affair with an old building. His parents had bought the place in the countryside to save their crumbling marriage, and the author was pulled into this venture when he was just 22. The role of a hotelkeeper is not as easy as many think because the reality of life in a hotel is very different, and the hours required to make it a success are punishing. The memoir is also a tribute to all the people who worked behind the scenes and helped in making this grand transformation a huge success.
I do not usually read memoirs, but found this book intriguing so I decided to read it. And boy am I glad I did - this was a superb book.
This is the third book by author J Searanke and it is a memoir of his 35 years helping run the hotel until his retirement. It was a very enjoyable book The descriptions were so vivid all you had to do was close your eyes as imagine them happening right before your eyes. I could just see myself enjoying a summer afternoon looking back at the splendor before me and thinking I was right there alongside Searanke as the renovations were taking place.
This book was provided for free in exchange for my honest opinion.