‘Tiring but fun’: Antrim B&B owner’s Hotel Inspector experience

Could The Hotel Inspector help a County Antrim B&B? We caught up with its owner to see what’s changed.

‘Tiring but fun’: Antrim B&B owner’s Hotel Inspector experience.

Last week, we reported that a County Antrim bed and breakfast would appear on the most recent episode of The Hotel Inspector.

The episode, which aired on Thursday (9 May), saw Alex Polizzi visit Billy Andy’s in Mounthill, near Larne, in an attempt to change its fortunes.

We caught up with owner Eamon to see how things had changed since the filming, and indeed airing, of the show.

Billy Andy’s – a dream and a struggle

The exterior of Billy Andy's.
Credit: Facebook/ SIXTY SIX – Drink Eat Sleep

Buoyed by previous successful ventures, local businessman Eamon purchased 19th-century pub, restaurant, and inn, Billy Andy’s. “It was always my dream to own a small boutique hotel,” he told the show.

Billy Andy’s undoubtedly boasts potential, with accommodation, a 60-seater restaurant, and two bars. However, Eamon’s big ideas for the place had been plagued by money and staffing issues.

At the time the show was filmed, these issues meant the restaurant and bars could only open on weekends, though the rooms were available to let throughout the week.

Over a year into his custodianship of Billy Andy’s, the business’s future still relied on the profits from Eamon’s other business ventures. He estimated his expenditure to be upwards of £100,000.

But, with a can-do tenacity and the help of The Hotel Inspector’s Alex Polizzi, could Eamon improve the fortunes of Billy Andy’s?

Enter the Hotel Inspector – Alex Polizzi to the rescue

A photo of Eamon with The Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi.
Credit: Facebook/ SIXTY SIX – Drink Eat Sleep

The Hotel Inspector immediately got to work to help Eamon realise his dream. While Billy Andy’s no doubt has a way to go, the episode seems to culminate in hope for Eamon and the business.

Polizzi advised Eamon to increase his nightly rates both during the week and, crucially, during busy weekends. While the increase per booking is relatively minor, it should hopefully allow Billy Andy’s to sustain itself without the help of Eamon’s other businesses.

Billy Andy’s will also now open its bar and restaurant during the week, which should do away with the midweek lull brought about by the previous lack of midweek hospitality amenities.

So, what’s changed? – have the B&B’s fortunes improved?

Diners perusing the menu (left) and a roast chicken dish (right) at Billy Andy's.
Credit: Facebook/ SIXTY SIX – Drink Eat Sleep

We asked Eamon and the team at Billy Andy’s what has changed since implementing Polizzi’s advice and since the airing of the show.

“Since the episode aired, we have had people calling in for lunch, or booking in for future dates,” he told us. “We have had lots of messages of support and enquiries”.

In terms of the filming experience, we wondered what both the positive and negative aspects were.

“It was very tiring,” admitted Eamon, who, according to friend and colleague Leigh-Ann, “hadn’t had a day off in months”.

However, Eamon said the experience was a lot of fun, adding, “We had good craic with the crew and Alex and felt privileged to take part in such a long-running show”.

Though Billy Andy’s – now called Sixty Six – is a little bit out of the way from Belfast, it offers visitors a unique gateway to the Causeway Coastal Route and its surrounding attractions. We asked Eamon what the best things to do nearby are.

He revealed it’s a really great place to get into nature, citing natural attractions like the Gobbins cliff path and Gleno Waterfall.

He also advised visitors to “take a drive down the Antrim Coast, where you have Carnfunnock Country Park, Cairndu Golf Club, Ballygally Beach and Castle, Glenarm Castle, and Carnlough Beach and Harbour”.

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