Read all about The Pheasant Hotel’s lockdown delivery service ‘Phezeroo’ and discover your interior design inspiration
Nearly a year on from the very first national lockdown, plenty of businesses have learnt to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances.
We all love hearing about the innovative business ideas that have cropped up across the country and one popular hospitality venue in North Yorkshire have shared their story with us.
The Pheasant Hotel overlooks a peaceful duck pond in the village of Harome and boasts the Boutique Hotelier’s Innovator of the Year Award 2020 for the implementation of their local lockdown delivery service ‘Phezeroo’.
About The Pheasant
Before Luxury BnB could learn more about Phezeroo, co-owner Jacquie Pern told us a bit more about this romantic country venue.
The main building houses 12 spacious bedrooms with two additional dog-friendly rooms in the secluded courtyard.
But the hidden gems are the popular getaways: Plum Cottage and The Pheasant Suite.
“They’re not part of the main building so they’re quite private,” said Jacquie.
“Plum Cottage is a little converted outbuilding across the far side of the courtyard area. It’s completely separate from the hotel and has its own little terraced area overlooking our herb garden.
“It’s very self contained with a bath in the bedroom, and if you wanted to kind of batten down the hatches, you can certainly shut everything out and keep to yourself.”
She added: “The Pheasant Suite is actually attached to the main building but it’s got a completely separate entrance. So again, you can just disappear and not see anyone if you didn’t want to. It has a sitting area, small kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. It’s all very spacious.”
Despite the global pandemic, The Pheasant Hotel had a very successful summer last year.
Jacquie said: “We were really busy and between the period of July and November last year, we were running at about 98% occupancy. But I think that was because people weren’t going abroad.”
Sadly, the national lockdown that brought in the new year resulted in numerous cancellations.
“I think at the moment, people are not particularly keen to book anything because nobody knows what’s going to happen,” said Jacquie.
Like any establishment that has opened at one point or another since last March, The Pheasant Hotel has made sure they are operating safely.
“We’re quite lucky here,” said Jacquie. “We have quite a big lounge area, bar area and two dining areas, so we didn’t really have any issues with moving many tables because we’re actually quite spacious anyway.”
But it’s not just the space available that needs to be managed.
“We ensure that everyone uses hand sanitiser before they come in and we always log everyone’s temperature as well as operating a Track and Trace system and using the government sign in app.
“We’re trying to manage people as best we can, so unless there’s any additional restrictions when we do reopen, we will just reopen as we were previously.
“All our systems are in place so we could open tomorrow if they let us,” said Jacquie.
When the country entered its first national lockdown in March 2021, many businesses adapted their operations so they could keep trading.
Co-owners of The Pheasant Hotel, Jacquie Pern and Peter Neville, decided to run a local delivery service which they named ‘Phezeroo’.
“We’ve slightly changed things as we’ve gone on to make it more manageable and a little bit different for people,” said Jacquie.
“Last time we did it we ended up in the kitchen nearly everyday, so this time we offer three, 3-course set menus on Friday and Saturday evenings and a 3 course Sunday lunch.
“Everything is prepared here. We can deliver but generally it’s a collection service. We have a secure collection point just outside the reception area and people just pull into the car park, collect their package and go.”
Those who live locally can place their order over the phone and pay via card or bank transfer.
“We ended up doing our New Year’s Eve menu as a takeaway service, right as we went into lockdown,” said Jacquie.
“Luckily we’d already been doing it previously so we had all the packaging and everything ready to go. We actually ended up doing more takeaways on New Year’s Eve than we originally had booked in the restaurant!”
Despite the success of Phezeroo, The Pheasant doesn’t actually make a profit out of the takeaway service.
“We cover the cost of the food and the people preparing it. It wasn’t set up as a profit making venture. It just covers the costs and provides a service for the local community if anybody should want it,” said Jacquie.
“We do it because we like to be able to offer people something even though we’re closed.”
If you are thinking of running a similar service for your local area, Jacquie passed on some important food for thought.
“You’ve got to really want to do it and you’ve got to work out a manageable way of doing it,” she said.
“That’s why we only do Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, because we consider that we’ll probably get as many orders over those days as we would if we were doing it all week.
“It’s a logistical thing really. You’ve got to make sure that it’s manageable.”
She added: “Also, because we’ve been doing it for quite a while, we’ve built up quite a good database of local customers, so we can immediately get menus out to a lot of people. That can take quite a bit of time to build up.
“We send out an e-flyer every week. I imagine that most people have a database anyway, so just start with that.”
Not only is Jacquie a co-owner of this country venue, but she also does all interior design herself.
The Pheasant’s interior proves that you don’t need a background in interior design to make your property look amazing.
“It’s just always been something that I’m interested in and it’s quite nice to do something a bit different as well as the hospitality side of the business,” said Jacquie.
Jacquie gets her inspiration from a variety of hospitality businesses that she admires.
She said: “I really like The Pig Hotel Group and the Limewood Hotel Group. I also really like Daylesford on the Bamford estate, The Wild Rabbit and particularly the Firmdale hotels in London which are by an interior designer called Kit Kemp.
“I’ve always been inspired by those venues. I mean, you’ll always have your own style and everywhere’s different, so it’s got to reflect the property, but that’s where the majority of my inspiration comes from.”
Jacquie describes her style for The Pheasant as ‘Country Chic’ and says it’s “quite an eclectic mix”.
For those who want to take on the challenge of doing their own interior design work rather than hiring someone, Jacquie has plenty of advice to pass on.
“Unless you have a particularly good eye for design, it’s a good idea to get some kind of help because you could end up wasting a lot of money if you’re not careful,” she said.
“Find somebody whose style you really like and get them to help you come up with a few ideas.
“At the end of the day, it has to reflect your own style and taste, your own personality and it has to be appropriate to the building.”
She added: “You’ve got to get a really good balance between practicality and style.
“It’s so easy to spend a lot of money and produce something incredibly stylish, but it might not be very practical, or you discover that it marks, or it’s not sturdy enough.
“As much as you want something to look homely and nice, it’s got to be robust enough to cope with the commercial environment otherwise you’ll be frustrated all the time because things aren’t withstanding the wear and tear that they need to.”
She added: “If you’re not hands-on in your business and not there day-to-day, you need to ensure that whatever it is, is designed in a way that staff, management and customers can keep it the way you want it.
“It’s so frustrating if you create something that you really like and people aren’t looking after it the way you want it to be looked after, so you’ve got to make sure it’s durable.
Jacquie believes another important aspect is to make sure you don’t overspend.
“A lot of people just throw money at things and it’s a complete waste because it’s not viable,” said Jacquie.
“For example, if you really love an expensive, beautiful fabric, don’t use it on something you need a lot of fabric for. Choose a cheaper fabric and dress that piece up with the more expensive fabric or add some trim.
“You could do the body of a sofa in something very practical and cheaper, but dress it with cushions made in the expensive fabric to make it more luxurious.”
She also said to keep any expensive core elements fairly neutral, as you don’t want to keep changing really expensive items.
“If you want to change other bits, you can, and the neutral core will stay the same but everything else will look refreshed and the whole place will look different,” said Jacquie.
“If you can, create a theme or style that runs through the whole room, then some pieces can be interchangeable which is helpful. So if you want to freshen things up by just moving things around slightly or changing the odd bits and pieces, you can alter one or two elements and it looks like the whole room has been refreshed.”
She added: “For me, the main thing is the important balance between style and practicality.”
5 Top tips for interior design
1. Choose practical, cheaper fabrics for larger surfaces such as sofas and carpets
2. Dress up the cheaper, practical fabrics with the more expensive fabrics and beautiful trims to make elements look more luxurious
3. Keep expensive products quite neutral so that it goes with different designs and you don’t have to send even more money when you update other pieces
4. Create a style and theme that runs all the way through the room, with interchangeable features
5. Take advantage of interchangeable features by updating and swapping frequently so that everything looks fresh and new, even if you only change one element
This article was first published in Issue 46 of the Luxury BnB Magazine in February 2021: