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the top end of the market. “That was a huge project and, from an aesthet- ic point of view, the thing people will probably have noticed changed the most. It’s a rolling programme, we’re constantly updating all the rooms, but you obviously have to do it in stages. When I first arrived the rooms above the restaurant were the luxury ones, now they’re at our starting price.” All this work, he says, is due to people’s expectations changing. “10 or 15 years ago guests would be very happy with the small- er, less modern rooms. Now people are more travelled and they want more from their holiday experience. Gradually they started asking for air con, coffee machines and bigger bathrooms. So we’ve had to adapt


and follow customer trends.” If peo- ple want even more luxury then the hotel does now offer the owner’s house for rent. The 5* accommoda- tion sleeps four people, has bespoke artwork, remote control curtains and a bath overlooking the water.


“Dartmouth doesn’t have a contemporary bar with unobstructed views of the river, so this really could put the Dart Marina on the map


In terms of staffing numbers


Paul says their ratio of foreign born to UK staff hasn’t changed much


over the last 10 years with 35/40% coming in from abroad. Paul says they don’t have a high turnover of staff and he hopes that’s because people really do like working at the hotel. “Many of our staff are approaching or have just passed the 10 year mark, we have some- one who has been here for over 35 years! I don’t think there is a secret. We treat our staff as we would want to be treated ourselves, we give them a birthday present, an egg at Easter, a bonus at Christmas and a great party every January. It’s nice for our guests to see familiar faces when they return year after year.” The next big project for the hotel is


the construction of a new waterside bar with seating for around 50 inside and 30 out. Paul is hoping it will become the new ‘place to be seen’. “Dartmouth doesn’t have a contem- porary bar with unobstructed views of the river, so this really could put the Dart Marina on the map in terms of food and drink.” Building work won’t start for another year or two; in the meantime the hotel has a vintage alternative in mind. “We’ve managed to secure a classic Citroen van which has been converted into a bar. It needs a bit of work but will look great set up down by the water serving cocktails and guest beers – roll on the summer.” •


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