Australians, Canadians, Italians and Spaniards have all experienced the quality of service at a Spalding guest house recognised by the UK’s official tourism body.
Despite having no formal training in hospitality management, Viv Barker has earned a five-star rating for White Lodge Guest House in Halmer Gate from VisitBritain.
Viv said: “I have businesspeople staying here during the week and wedding guests at weekends, as well as foreign visitors who come to research their family tree.
“When the guest house opened eight years ago, I went to see all the factory managers to tell them what a good quality of standards and service I offered.
“But I never knew what a hotbed of industry Spalding is, with food producers, packaging firms and lorries constantly coming in and out of town.”
White Lodge and other guest houses in Spalding, Crowland, Holbeach and Long Sutton are part of the Guardian’s year-long Shop Local, Eat Local, Play Local campaign, supporting independent businesses in South Holland’s four towns.
The campaign’s timing couldn’t be better for Viv who has earned a Certificate of Excellence from travel website TripAdvisor.
Viv said: “When our guests arrive, they can expect a bit more than just bed and breakfast because we have sandwiches, cheese and a home delivery restaurant service where people can order meals through me.
“It’s very important for people who want to stay in a non-corporate environment to provide a friendly greeting to ensure they can relax here and do what they’ve got to do.
“I’m a people person, rather than an office person, and I’ve found there is a huge spectrum of people who come to Spalding.
“But I’m not sure how many people here are aware of that.”