As the pub in Ribble Valley had become a foodie destination, the logical thing to do was to open rooms, said Steven Smith. “People were asking all the time, when are you going to get rooms?”
The pub launched its accommodation offering in 2019.
Freemasons at Wiswell is a destination venue in the heart of a beautiful village, Smith added.
The gastropub offers gourmet packages including food and breakfast. “It’s all about the food first then some beautiful rooms,” he said.
The style of the rooms is “crisp and clean”, he said, with bold colours. They are “second to none” according to Smith. “Nothing has been left unturned”.
It’s the sheer quality and attention to detail that he believed sets the rooms apart.
And why should guests stay at pubs over hotels? “It’s a lot more relaxed [and] an enjoyable environment,” said Smith.
“If you want to have a real chill out and get away from everyday life, pubs are the perfect backdrop to do that.”
To instate each room cost around £50,000 each. This is a lot of money, Smith acknowledged, but from the beds, to the cabinets, to the towels, everything is the “best quality”.
Per year, the rooms do a “massive” return investment of £3540,000 to £400,000. The rooms’ décor is “timeless,” leaving little need for renovations.
However, if something isn’t right, the pub will replace it to make sure the experience is as good as it can be, and as perfect as the first year they opened.
Smith gives some words of wisdom to operators looking to invest in rooms: “Make sure you buy back correctly, make sure the rooms keep with the character of your pub, and don’t go crazy”.
In addition, he said you should spend well – making sure you buy once and buy right, rather than buy cheap and buy twice.
In the future, the operator aims to instate 10 to 12 rooms at the gastropub.