Southsea family business wins hit B&B TV programme

Owner Raul Aguado and General manager, Jason Gould with staff Bruce Vinton, Steve Wells and Warehouse  manager Daniel Cooper
 Picture:: Habibur Rahman

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A VINTAGE bed and breakfast in Southsea was named winner of popular Channel 4 show Four In A Bed.

Sea-la-vie, Malvern Road, Southsea won the competition against three other B&Bs and the winning plaque can be seen in the hallway.

WINNERS Eileen Hopeakoski and her daughter Jannika in one of their guest rooms. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (13659-3009)

WINNERS Eileen Hopeakoski and her daughter Jannika in one of their guest rooms. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (13659-3009)

The programme sees B&B owners stay at other establishments across the country and then mark each other by saying how much they’d expect to pay to stay there.

Owned by Eileen Hopeakoski, 54, Sea-la-vie is a four-star hotel with vintage decor on the seafront.

Eileen’s daughter, Janika, 17, helps with the business while attending St John’s College in Southsea.

Sea-la-vie was featured on Channel 4 on February 27 and the title of best B&B was announced on March 1. It beat rivals from Edinburgh, Fife and Derby.

Since then, Eileen and Janika have had a boost in business.

Eileen said: ‘It was such a great experience and we are glad we did it.

‘We were asked by the programme to compete and first of all we weren’t too sure but we had such a good time.

‘We travelled the whole country and it was nice to see how other people ran their own business. There was a clash of personalities at times but overall it was a good experience.’

Originally from Northern Ireland, Eileen moved to Portsmouth 16 years ago.

But she only started up the bed and breakfast in May last year.

She said: ‘I have this big house and Janika will be moving away to university when she has finished her A-levels and I thought, what am I to do with such a big house? It was then I thought I could refurbish it and turn it into my own business.

‘I didn’t think it would have kicked off as much as it did but we have worked so hard to get where we are.’

While on the programme, the other bed and breakfast owners scored Sea-la-vie highly on the decor and the breakfast, which was locally sourced.

Janika said: ‘My mum does really good, hearty breakfasts and I think this impressed the others.

‘It is all from Hampshire so you know you are getting quality food.’

Eileen is looking forward to the future and hopes to have a tea room in the front garden by next month.

She said: ‘I want to have a lovely tea room which people can enjoy in the summer and sit outside eating cakes and drinking hot chocolate.’