The turn of the year is always a good time to reflect on achievements and progress, and to look ahead to what lies in store in the year ahead. And here at Duke House, we are no exception!
This time last year, Duke House was a building site – and a pretty messy one at that! Our optimistic schedule for a Spring 2012 opening was only slightly misplaced and were open for business by Easter… By the end of 2012, thanks to so many people, Duke House had been labeled a “Cool Hotel” by The Times with a rating of 8.7out of 10 (see The Times Cool Hotel Guide: Duke House Cambridge), received the HRH Duke of Gloucester, hosted the delightful Emma Kennedy for a Bat Safari for her Eccentric Britain Guardian column, enjoyed a visit from the adorable Antonio Carluccio and made the upper reaches of Trip Advisor’s best B&B’S in Cambridge.
But that is only part of the story. Even more important are our two guest books in the hall, and the story they tell of the hundreds of delightful and delighted guests that have stayed with us. Guests that have travelled far and wide from all parts of the British Isles, Europe, the Americas, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Romantic couples, parents taking a break from the children – and parents visiting their grown-up children, academics, business people, families, friends and relatives of near neighbours… we seem to have hosted every possibility.
Online reviews are great (and of course we want more of them) but the comments people choose to write, unprompted, in the guest book are just fabulous. Before we opened, those “in the know” told us how much work running Duke House would be, but that the reaction of satisfied guests would make it all worthwhile. And how right they were. Here is a selection of guest’s parting remarks…
‘Absolutely fabulous! Décor and location the best! We had a very special sister’s reunion.’
‘Outstanding – beautifully done from start to finish. One of the best I have stayed in anywhere.’
‘Lovely, quaint and the perfect mini-break from the hustle and bustle of London.’
‘Thank you for the gorgeous space!! And the breakfast was just perfect.’
‘Wonderful place, tucked away but near to shops - delightful, lovely touches, relaxing, great.’
‘Probably the best sausages in England!’
‘Would like to take the room and breakfast everywhere we go!’
‘An amazing time, we felt truly spoilt.’
We’d hoped for some attention and exposure after opening the doors, not least as we’re offering something distinctive for Cambridge. Reflecting back, this level of interest and approval and has been beyond even our most optimistic hopes! From our business backgrounds, we both know that you are only as good as you are today. And standing still means moving backwards. So we know we need to keep developing the Duke House experience so that our increasing number of returning guests and our new ones will come back again and again enjoying an even better experience – every time!