Luxury pods give Golden opportunity for pub

Stephen Hunt with one of his new luxury camping pods at the Golden Ball pub.
Stephen Hunt with one of his new luxury camping pods at the Golden Ball pub.

Former army man Stephen Hunt has splashed the cash to transform his pub and hopes his latest venture will reap rewards.

Stephen has spent £400,000 on five new hotel suites and three luxury camping pods at the Golden Ball, hoping to attract overnight stays to the picturesque one-and-a-half acre Luneside site.

With prices ranging from just £50 a night in one of the state-of-the-art pods it is quite
the bargain.

A former staff sergeant with the Royal Engineers who served in Bosnia, Stephen bought the 18th century Snatchems pub for just under £200,000 in 2011 and moved back home from Spain to do it up.

“I could see the potential,” he said.

“I was looking for a flat in Morecambe and I Googled and the pub came up.

“A mate told me to phone up Mitchell’s Brewery direct, so I did and spoke to (director) Andrew Barker. In a 20 minute conversation, I ended up buying the pub!

“It had been closed for six months and it was a mess.”

After the refurbishment, Stephen then invested £250,000 in a new extension dining room overlooking the Lune which he says has been a great success as a functions venue.

“Everything was top spec. I could have done it cheaper but it’s quality.

“From day one I knew I wanted accommodation too.”

All the new camping pods have double beds, sofas which convert to a king size bed, full ensuite shower room, flat screen TV, under floor heating and a large private decking area.

The hotel suites also have 55inch flat screen TVs, a split mezzanine sleeping area and Chesterfield sofas.

“I believe that it’s not about what you pay for a business in the first place, it’s about what you pay to get it going,” he said.

“My business ethic is always give quality for money.

“It’s also about loyalty and looking after your customers.

“I send all my customers a card on their birthdays. On New Year’s Eve I put a big party on. I do reward cards. People want value and they want to feel welcome.”

Although the Snatchems venue offers amazing views across the Lune, and with an outdoor bar being built, could be a superb future venue for music festivals, Stephen says its geography has also led to challenges.

“This business has been a hard nut to crack,” he said.

“The location is beautiful but we’re also a cul-de-sac. There’s only one road in and the tide comes in.

“But it’s great for watersports. The bird life is spectacular and it’s great for the port of Heysham.

“The link road was crucial to me buying it. Heysham 3 (power station) will be too, if that happens.”

This Friday, the Golden Ball hosts a free family launch event for its new luxury accommodation with star guest Sam Aston, who plays Chesney in Coronation Street. All welcome from 2pm. There will also be a 1970s disco with DJ Steve Middlesbrough and guests from 7pm.