Leighton Buzzard residents can watch The Dukes B&B star in Channel 5's The Hotel Inspector

What did Alex Polizzi make of the Heath and Reach pub and B&B?

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 6:09 pm
Updated Thursday, 17th June 2021, 6:18 pm

Leighton Buzzard residents are in for a TV treat tonight as The Dukes B&B stars in Channel 5's The Hotel Inspector.

The popular show sees no-nonsense presenter Alex Polizzi transform struggling businesses, and in the latest series Alex is not only supporting guesthouses "on their last legs", but through a pandemic, too!

Alex first came to visit the Heath and Reach B&B back in the summer of 2019, with the makeover taking place between the June and October, followed by another visit to discuss the impact of Covid-19.

Owner of The Dukes, Sarah, with presenter Alex Polizzi. Photo: Sarah Smith.
Owner of The Dukes, Sarah, with presenter Alex Polizzi. Photo: Sarah Smith.

Owner, Sarah Smith told the LBO: "They have really got my focus back and made the whole thing more professional. Working with Alex and her team, they were just so supportive, and it was nice to run ideas by them.

"I suppose it was quite good timing in terms of I'd been open for about three years, went through a personal struggle - and then the pandemic happened.

"It's been tough but I'm hoping the airing of the show will boost room bookings again."

During a trailer for the series, which was recently promoted on ITV's This Morning, Alex can be heard telling Sarah: "pull it together woman!"

Talking about the biggest challenge of filming, Sarah laughed: "Receiving criticism! You've just got to take it on the chin.

"I knew what was wrong but having it confirmed and pointed out was hard to hear.

"I wholeheartedly wanted to make improvements, so that's how I took it. I knew we could do something about it."

Sarah, 48, signed up for the show after she received a 'round robin' email looking for applicants, and is thrilled with the strides forward that The Dukes has made.

Although filming started back in 2019, the process was delayed due the pandemic, and Sarah is pleased that the episode has finally made TV screens - and that life is slowly returning to normal.

Discussing the reopening of the pub and B&B, she said: "It's been up and down. It was really busy on the 12th April. It was busy for the first couple of weeks and then it got really rainy the last two weeks before the 17th May and no-one wanted to come out.

"Since 17th May it picked up and we started getting bookings for parties for after 21st June, but now these have had to be postponed until after 19th July."

She added: "Before Covid we used to get a lot of workers who used the bedrooms - businesses are encouraging working from home now - but it's picking up for weekend trade. I'm hoping the show will encourage people to come and use us."

The Dukes offers B&B accommodation with indoor and outdoor dining, while you can hire space exclusively for your own private event.

Visitors can also enjoy a meal out in the 18th century building.

Sarah said: "We love table service. My general manager is from Spain, where table service has always been the norm. We are really proud of our makeover and the work Alex and her team did with us and we have continued to make improvements after filming finished.

"We had the thatch replaced in February this year, which was in a desperate state, but now it looks amazing!"

The Dukes stars in The Hotel Inspector tonight (June 17) on Channel 5 at 9pm.

The pub is currently open Mondays to Thursdays from 5pm - 10pm; Fridays and Saturdays from 5pm - 11pm; and from midday on Sunday.

To find out more, visit: https://www.thedukes.uk.com/