“We’re too big to be boutique,” says hotel entrepreneur

The Big Sleep currently boasts hotels in Cardiff, Cheltenham and, most recently Eastbourne. Designed to compete directly with the Holiday Inns of this world, the rooms start at £40. But there’s one fundamental difference. These are no homogenous, sterile flop-houses. From the neon yellow leather sofa in the Cardiff reception, to the crazy assortment of furniture and furnishings in the rooms, The Big Sleep is nothing if not off-the-wall.

The Cardiff hotel has 80 bedrooms, Cheltenham has 62, but each is decorated in its own unique style. They also range wildly in size: from a family room with bunk beds and kitchen facilities, to a luxury honeymoon suite for two.

Fry and his partner Lulu Anderson have always specifically targeted buildings with a challenging layout or shape. From disused office blocks to the recent acquisition of a crumbling hotel on the Eastbourne seafront, each project has brought it’s own challenges.

“Here [Eastbourne], the rooms aren’t nice, orderly shapes,” says Anderson. “They have strange nooks and crannies. It’s been really fun trying to get carpet to fit!”

Turnover at the chain has hit £2.2m, with the recent addition to the portfolio (Eastbourne) expected to bring an additional £700,000 in revenue. But these sales are set to be ramped up even further by several new projects in the pipeline.

Fry exclusively reveals the next location on his radar: Bournemouth better watch out. The Big Sleep is coming to town!

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