COLOURFUL Lion Hotels owner Sheikh Abid-Gulzar appeared on Channel 5’s The Hotel Inspector last Thursday night (August 2).
Mr Gulzar – who owns the Chatsworth, Mansion, Claremont and Albany hotels – locked horns with TV celebrity Alex Polizzi at his hotel.
It was the Mansion Lions which entered the national spotlight after it was named 41st out of 41 hotels in the town on the Trip Advisor website.
Alex and her team filmed for eight days in a bid to improve customer service and decor at the three-star venue.
She claimed that the steady stream of coach tours were being badly served by a diet of unimaginative food and entertainment, and pleaded with Mr Gulzar to drop any plans he had of going for four-star rating. In the end, she settled for trying to make the Mansion the best three-star hotel in Eastbourne.
Mr Gulzar said after the show, “Channel 5 tell us that up to two million people tuned in to watch us on Thursday evening, which is great publicity both for Eastbourne and Lion Hotels.
“Alex did criticise some of what we did, but then that’s natural with any hotel I guess. Most of what we do is fine. It is true we had four guests come to us who weren’t entirely happy with our service, and it was them who posted negative comments on Trip Advisor.
“But we invited them all back for a second try, and all four said on television how delighted they were with our service second time around. In fact, the programme was so popular the phone hasn’t stopped ringing from people all over the country.”
The Hotel Inspector website has been split - some viewers’ comments praise Mr Gulzar for being so bold and outspoken, others called him arrogant. Mr Gulzar said, “I am delighted that people have been speaking about me, my hotels and East Sussex – it can only be good.”