We would like to take this opportunity of saying thank you for taking the time to visit Harriet House website and for we hope that we may welcome you one day to our little B & B in the beautiful city of Canterbury. By way of a little history of Harriet House, we thought it would be nice to tell you about our own journey.
We embarked on our new adventure of becoming Bed and Breakfast owners at the end October 2017 with the purchase of Harriet House. The previous owners, Terry and Chris were amazing. Not only had they extended the property significantly but had built a nice little business. Harriet House was at that time number 5 on Trip Advisor for B & Bs in Canterbury! They were so helpful and it was clear Harriet House meant so much to them and they wanted us to be successful.
Paul and I (Heidi) had worked in the corporate world for many years and decided it was time to do something different in our pre-retirement years! Paul had spent his teenage years working in his parent’s hotel in Margate and attended catering college from the age of 16 until he was 18, when he left Hospitality to pursue a career in sales. After 40 something years in pharmaceutical sales he feels he has finally returned to his roots. We’re glad to say that he has retained all of his culinarily skills and makes a pretty decent breakfast, which we hope you will enjoy. I spent the first year continuing my role in London but on December 31st 2018 I finally said goodbye to the corporate world.
By our third day living in Harriet House we opened the doors to guests, honouring bookings taken earlier in the year by the previous owners. It was during the 2 weeks of the Canterbury Festival and closely followed by Graduation ceremonies, so it was a really busy time, and on some days, we were fully booked. It was great fun and we are glad to say our guests didn’t see the join and the transition was pretty smooth!
Whilst the previous owners increased the footprint of the property, it was looking a little tired and in need of a makeover! So, in November 2017 we established a programme to upgrade parts of the guest accommodation and by January our first major project was under way! We replaced 17 tired white doors throughout the house with solid oak doors which we believe transformed the look almost immediately. During August 2018 we embarked on completely renovating the guest Breakfast Room and at the same time we replaced the boiler and upgraded to a much larger water tank. We are delighted that both went fairly smoothly and we are really pleased with the results. A brighter, more spacious eating area and a plentiful supply of hot water.
In early October 2018 we installed plantation shutters in all rooms and bathrooms which we think make a significant difference not only to the look of the rooms but will also be a great way to keep the rooms cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter and will hopefully contribute to an even better night’s sleep as they act as really effective black out blinds.
In January 2019 we closed out ready for our largest project yet! We completely upgraded the kitchen area to make it more efficient for commercial use along with ensuring it is a great private space for us to enjoy. Not content with a disruption to our kitchen we decided to completely redesign our private bathroom too! It was chaos!
During our close out, our 2 double rooms, our twin room and single room were also treated to new bathrooms and all the rooms gained a Nespresso coffee machine for that little extra bit of luxury. By mid-February the work was completed and we were ready for the 2019 season to begin. We enjoyed a fabulous year and whilst pretty tired we loved every minute!
So, in January 2020 after a much-needed holiday we started our final phase of refurbishment. Whilst we planned to redecorate just 2 rooms, the twin room and the double room on the ground floor, Paul in his usual enthusiastic style decided to do them all! The new carpets were laid just days before our first guests were due to arrive and following a couple of nights working to the small hours, we were ready! We were very excited and more than ready to begin what was going to be a bumper year in Canterbury. The Golf Open and the Lambeth Conference to name just 2!
Little did we know that by March the 21st 2020 we would go into a national lock down along with the rest of the world due to the Coronavirus! Whilst we delighted in re-opening on 4th July and had a very busy 4 months, we were closed again by the end of October. It was a tough time for everyone. However, we did use our time wisely. The hall, stairs and landings had a makeover along with our Superior King rooms. We are delighted that now our refurbishment project is complete and are proud of our new look. Paul has created a lovely slide show showing the transformation of Harriet House over the years – click here to see the photos
Lockdown gave Paul and I lots of time to reflect on our future. We spent many hours in the garden enjoying the great weather over the summer and it was during this time we took the decision to embark on a new adventure and bought a brand new beautiful 4 berth motorhome. It has always our dream to take off on long adventures when we finally retire so we thought it would also be a great investment for the business. With the popularity of staycations it seemed a perfect addition to our holiday accommodation offering! Check our new website www.harrietsmotorhome.co.uk and if you think a motorhome holiday is for you one day in the future then just let us know!
We are so grateful that we are one of the businesses that have survived and despite this set-back we will continue to build on the success of the business and continuously improve the guest experience for anyone choosing to stay Harriet House or Harriet’s Motorhome and hopefully will we welcome you back for a second or even third visit!
We have tried to think of everything to include on our website, but I am sure there will be things we have missed. If you choose to book a stay, you will receive a list of restaurants recommended by both us and previous guests. We can also offer recommendations for places to have a drink, or great places to visit in the area. Not only are we sampling the delights of Canterbury personally as often as we can, we are always getting great recommendations from our guests!
If you have any questions, please just ask and if we don’t know the answer, we are happy to ask Mr Google and find out for you.
Hope to see you soon!
Paul and Heidi