There’s nothing more satisfying than watching a makeover show, whether it’s seeing someone transform from an ugly duckling into a swan or experiencing the metamorphosis of a building from untidy house to magnificent home.
In the same way, just a few touches here and there can raise an accommodation establishment from so-so to splendid. ‘n Ster vir my Bed, a new lifestyle magazine programme screened on DStv channel 147 on VIATV, set out to show accommodation establishment owners and viewers alike just how easy it is to transform your ordinary guesthouse, bed and breakfast of self-catering unit into a true world class quality assured establishment.
The idea for the series was sparked by the realisation that so many accommodation establishments in South Africa would very much like to see a star perched on the wall their establishments underneath their name plates – but they simply don’t know how to go about earning one. Their ambition is as praiseworthy as it is understandable – after all, a star grading is a trusted indication of what a traveller can expect from their accommodation. It’s important because it creates a measure of predictability around their experience. For example, if you’ve made a reservation at a five-star facility, you’ll be looking forward to services and amenities of a luxurious standard. Imagine your disappointment, however, if those standards are not met. If the establishment of your choice has been graded by the TGCSA, you’ll know that you’re assured of consistency.
Of course, not every traveller is in search of a five-star experience. Having a range of establishments to cater for every taste and budget – from a rustic lodge to a hotel room that makes you think you’ve arrived in paradise – is what keeps a tourism industry vibrant and sustainable.
But, for those establishment owners in the hospitality industry who would like to gain a little more prestige, it’s comforting to know that adding just a little touch here or there could make all the difference. Often, it’s not a major overhaul that’s required; simply a rework of the facilities already in place.
This is precisely why the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) is excited to partner with the ‘n Ster vir my Bed team. The series sees TGCSA Chief Quality Assurance Officer Darryl Erasmus travelling through one of Gauteng’s favourite tourist towns, Cullinan, advising a range of establishments – from guesthouses to bed and breakfast and self-catering units – on how to make improvements to up their star grading.
Travelling with Darryl is the creative team behind Idees magazines, who lend a dash of panache and flair to the project. Their insights have proved invaluable; drawing on their experience as décor and design tastemakers, they reveal how with just a little input, a room can go from blah to brilliant; how the addition of just one accessory can make create a homely haven.
The series commences in Cullinan, where Acorn House receives new look bedrooms and Destiny Lodge is advised on how to update its foyer for a fresh image. Then it’s on to the Premier Game Farm, where a remodelled patio creates a more inviting outdoor space. At Oak House, the venue gets a makeover, while Somabula Lodge’s ossewas are updated to make its authentic and novel experience that much more memorable. At Dolphin Whisper, apart from structural adjustments to the patio, a new take on the breakfasts served daily is all it takes to catapult the establishment to new heights, while Dina’s Cottage was went through a complete makeover. The final venue to benefit from the team’s expertise is Yesterday’s Dream, where guests in the honeymoon suite are set to receive a (pleasant) surprise, thanks to an updated look.
The series is hosted by JanHarm, the much loved owner of Gastehys JanHarmsgat. His discussions with Darryl from the Grading Council who is always on hand to ensure that the establishments meet the TGCSA’s minimum requirements and grading criteria – make for lively and interesting conversations, certain to captivate those with a love of travel, interior design or who simply have a passion for quality accommodation.