Berkeley guesthouse set to expand after TV success

Berkeley guesthouse set to expand after TV success

SR_403_001 Harri and Claire Chiba outside the Vale of Berkeley guest house (9158579)

SR_402_001 Harri and Claire Chiba outside the Vale of Berkeley guest house (9158586)

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A COUPLE from Berkeley are using their recent successes on a national TV series as a springboard to expand their popular bed and breakfast.

The Vale of Berkeley Guesthouse last year appeared on Channel Four’s “Four in a Bed”, a TV show pitting family-owned hotels against each other from across the country.

Owners Harri and Claire Chiba, a former IT salesman and fitness instructor respectively, opened in May 2012 and since then have seen positive reviews grow for the guesthouse, even becoming ratings-website Trip Advisor’s number one bed and breakfast for Berkeley.

In addition they have recently been awarded a “certificate of excellence” by the website, which is only given to the top ten per cent of establishments consistently achieving outstanding traveller reviews.

Not ones to stand on their laurels, the Chibas have already drawn up plans to increase the number of rooms they can offer as well build a brand new kitchen after buying the attached red-brick house next door.

They plan to knock through the wall and create three extra bedrooms, meaning a total offering of nine as well as relocating a brand new kitchen set to be finished and open for business by the new year, at a cost of around £60,000.

The site, which includes a one-acre garden, will be able to hold 18 guests when finished and a few part time staff might be taken on to help with the workload.

Mr Chiba, 49, said currently half their trade was from travelling contractors in the area to carry out work while the other half was largely wedding guests using nearby landmarks for their nuptials, such as Berkeley Castle.

“I would say we’re very optimistic, we have launched a new package specifically for weddings, which will help with the extended guest house,” he said.

“Business is going very well, given that we are new to this to be rated as first in terms of places in Berkeley when others have been going longer than it is great.

“We have had the plans drawn up and hoping to start mid September worth the guest house hopefully reopening after the Christmas break on January 5.”

Mr Chiba added that they were even considering opening a new bed and breakfast nearby when the works were completed on the current building.

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