Hospitality veterans Simon Rhatigan and Simon Kershaw are betting that bicyclists will spend massive of their new upscale lodge within the North Yorkshire seaside resort of Scarborough. The Bike & Boot overlooking South Bay’s sandy seaside is the primary in a—ahem—chain. The following to open shall be a new-build within the Peak District in March 2022 with one other opening in Sherwood Forest the next yr.
Thus far this summer season, the 65-room boutique lodge has had 95% occupancy, mentioned Kershaw.
In 2019, Rhatigan and Kershaw took out a £2.eight million mortgage from OakNorth—the “financial institution for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs”—to purchase and match out the run-down Mount Lodge on Cliff Bridge Terrace overlooking Scarborough’s iconic Spa Bridge. Over the next 18 months, they reworked it into the hip and classy Bike & Boot.
The Grade-II-listed constructing was initially a Georgian terrace, with servant quarters within the basement. Now that basement—trademarked as “Wadobi” (an abbreviation of “walk-dog-bike”)—has rooms devoted to bicycle storage subsequent to a bicycle cleansing zone with a hosepipe, bike detergents, chain lubricants, and, for tinkerers, a software station and bike pump.
(The Wadobi additionally has a canine grooming station and a 16-seat cinema with three each day movie screenings, free for visitors.)
Upstairs there’s Bareca (“bar/restaurant/cafe”) a high-ceilinged bar-and-grill restaurant the place, at Three pm every day, the on-sale truffles are moved to the plush lounge for visitors to eat at no cost. Cyclists love cake.
Adorning the partitions of the lodge are taxidermy heads made not from culled beasties however bicycle helmets. There are additionally cantilevered full bicycles and sculptures created from defunct bike components and big wall maps of native biking locations similar to Dalby Forest, a mountain biker’s delight. Rest room doorways within the plush bedrooms and suites sport full-length close-ups of motorcycle gears.
Why market an upscale lodge to cyclists?
“You solely have to go searching to see what’s occurring,” mentioned Kershaw, mentioning that the uptick in bike owner numbers began nicely earlier than the pandemic’s bicycle growth.
“Within the Yorkshire Dales, you’ll be able to overlook driving a automotive as a result of you’ll be able to’t wade by the sheer variety of cyclists,” he added.
And lots of cyclists are, nicely, loaded.
“Spending £10,000 on a bicycle isn’t uncommon anymore,” mentioned Kershaw.
“And should you’ve invested that a lot on one in every of your cycles, you don’t depart it within the boot of your automotive; you don’t depart it strapped to the automotive; you wish to convey it into any lodge you’re staying at.”
Some lodges enable visitors to wheel bikes to rooms, however there’s no want on the Bike & Boot as a result of, with full CCTV protection, the basement Wadobi is safe.
Till 2016 when he went into partnership with Kershaw, Rhatigan was managing director of Devonshire Motels and Eating places and earlier than that was proprietor of the award-winning Feversham Arms Lodge and Verbena Spa in Helmsley, North Yorkshire. Kershaw is a former senior Whitbread government. Neither are cyclists.
“My son launched me to biking’s potential,” mentioned Kershaw.
“He acquired into biking when he was at college and have become utterly mad on it. I went together with him to a motorbike store in Harrogate to purchase him a motorbike for his 18th birthday and there was a giant crowd of individuals outdoors, with the store title on their jerseys. My eyes had been then opened to seeing the large variety of different biking teams.”
Cogs began to click on in Kershaw’s enterprise mind, helped alongside by one other trusted supply: “Martin Wooden, our architect, is a fanatical bike owner. He goes throughout on biking journeys.”
Bike & Boot might have a biking (and climbing) aesthetic, nevertheless it’s removed from unique to cyclists and walkers. The lodge is purposefully canine pleasant, and catering to a canine clientele is one other rising area of interest within the hospitality market.
Nonetheless, the lodge is utilizing biking’s avenue cred as a particular advertising and marketing software. It has appointed skilled bike trials rider Jack Carthy as a model ambassador—he’s seen in a promotional video pulling stunts within the lodge and downtown Scarborough—and, in Could, the lodge sponsored its first “sportive” biking occasion.
The 55-mile Velo2Velo Scarborough Bike & Boot Sportive began outdoors the lodge and adopted a part of the route of the 2019 Tour de Yorkshire skilled biking race. The occasion was open to all however boosted enterprise for the lodge, too. The basement saved 128 bicycles on the night time earlier than the sportive.
4 extra occasions are deliberate, mentioned Kershaw, together with a mountain bike sportive, a household sportive, and a hill climb.
A visitor may not arrive on the lodge as a bike owner however might find yourself changing into one, believes Kershaw. If that’s, they rent one of many lodge’s electrical mountain bikes at £60 a pop.
“Have you ever been on one? They’re astounding.”
The lodge has a fleet of 4, with one other 4 on the best way.
“Folks go off on them, and after they come again, they’re all smiles, saying ‘we simply acquired to get one, we simply acquired to get one,’” mentioned Kershaw.
“They’re revolutionary, actually.”
In addition to touring round Scarborough on these electrical mountain bikes, visitors are additionally zipping 25 miles to Whitby alongside the Cinder Monitor.
It is a cycling-and-hiking path on the disused railway observe that after ran between the 2 cities.
Lockdown hit Scarborough onerous: virtually 20,000 jobs within the native financial system depend on tourism, however within the present sunhine, the longer term seems to be vibrant for Scarborough. Billed as one in every of England’s first seaside resorts—fashionable for the reason that 1700s as a spa city—Scarborough is at the moment being spruced up by the native council in an initiative referred to as Mission Sunshine.
Due to £20.2 million from the nationwide authorities’s Cities Fund, introduced on March 3, extra biking services—similar to protected cycleways—will even quickly be added. Bike & Boot is due to this fact nicely positioned to experience biking’s surge in recognition.
“Are you able to inform the distinction between these pics of Scarborough and Marbella?” requested the lodge’s cheeky Twitter account not too long ago.
“Ditch Marbs and go to sunny Scarbs as an alternative,” demanded the social media poster, including that “Scarbados” was now the in-place to be. Arrive on the town with a bicycle to be much more on-trend.