It’s that time of the year for reflection, what’s past in the last year and what is to come….
I can’t believe that it is nearly 7 years since we completed the purchase of Seascape and all the happy memories that it now holds. Having been brought up as a child by the seaside, I had dreamed for a long time of having a seaside retreat. Late 2007 we stumbled upon Rainbows End Park and, the day I went over on my own to take a look, my chin dropped when I drove onto the site. I could not believe the view, openness and peaceful feeling of the site. Mark came over next time with me, felt the same about the location and very quickly we made the decision to purchase, being one of the first owners on the site.
We set up the chalet as a second home for us, spending time on the décor and furnishings – the intention was to create a real retreat, somewhere warm, welcoming that would be a real bolthole, even though it was only 15 miles from our home in Norwich.
Over the years we have enjoyed so many happy times at Seascape, on our own, with Nathan and other family and friends, parties, barbeques, walks and beach games. We have made great friends on the site.
Time does have the habit of marching on and life events change things. The boy became a young man with other interests and 2012 brought some trying times. It became more difficult to find time to get over to Seascape and the running costs of a second home was a luxury we could ill afford when we were not regularly using the chalet. So, with heavy hearts and a few tears we made the decision to put Seascape on the market for sale. However, that was clearly not in the script!
After several months and several timewasters, we decided on plan B. Over the years we had many guests stay at the chalet, but not on a real commercial basis. We had never advertised, but the feedback we had received from the people who had stayed was always so positive, maybe we did have something special to offer? So, late 2012 we changed our mind set, leapt into action and decided to properly enter into the holiday rental market. We had great support, our friend Rob Ward (who actually introduced Mark and I to each other!) used to be a lawyer but had changed direction and become a professional photographer. Rob took some amazing photos of the chalet and beach on a beautiful October day and pointed me in the direction of his website designer, David “the web God”.
Then we were off ! live on the worldwide web…… Looking back things happened so quickly, our first “official” guest arrived on Christmas eve 2013 with her lovely dogs and bookings started rolling in for 2013 by word of mouth, repeat visitors and the website. That first guest has now stayed with us four times !
So things have changed, and like everything, there are good and not so good things.
The downside we can’t just decide on a sunny June evening to go straight from work to the chalet to enjoy the long summer evenings, we can’t leave our personal stuff at the chalet, there is a lot of paperwork and time spent doing marketing and admin (although if I am truly honest I really enjoy this as I have slightly nerdy accountancy tendencies) and I dread things breaking or stop working and it impacts on guests’ holidays.
But the positives far outweigh these things – our guests have been delightful, friendly and so respectful of our home. I have truly enjoyed the interaction with guests and helping them to have a lovely holiday. The feedback we have received has been wonderful, we could not believe that we were awarded a Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence in our first year based on the guest reviews received!!
AND best of all, we still get to enjoy Seascape ourselves from time to time. So the best of both worlds really.
So forward into 2015, lots of bookings in the diary, new interior design plans as we want the chalet to continue to look fresh and, all being well, the patter of tiny feet for us THAT’S FOUR NOT TWO ! This year should bring our own dog to share the chalet with us and become the new poster girl for Seascape !
If you have ploughed through this, well done and a very Happy New Year to you and your family – maybe we will welcome you next year ?
Here’s a few of our memories