A COUPLE who have spent the pandemic transforming their bed and breakfast business will feature on Channel 4’s Four in a Bed this week.

Since taking it over in January 2020, Kenny John and husband Ben Price have turned the tired looking premises at 7 Church Street into a quirky eatery, art gallery, and eight-bedroom retreat - called Creates Monmouth.

And they’ve done such a great job that Channel 4 approached them last summer to feature in its popular show, where B&B owners take turns to stay with one another and pay what they consider fair for their stay. The winner is the establishment named best value for money.

South Wales Argus: Kenny John (right) and Ben Price have transformed the B&B on Church Street

Later today, Kenny and Ben will kick off the show (5pm, Channel Four), before they head to Llanelli, Telford, and Malmesbury later in the week.

Explaining how the chance to be on the show came about, Kenny said: “It came completely out the blue. Channel Four got in touch last summer to say they wanted us to be on the show, and my initial reaction was definitely no.

South Wales Argus: The Deer Room at Creates Monmouth

“But Ben talked me into it - he thought it was too good an opportunity to turn down, and I knew he was right.

“I’m not really a TV person, and I hate being in the limelight, so I’m very nervous and will probably be cringing at the telly!”

South Wales Argus: The Deer room and the Hare Warren room at Creates

He says he believes the show is a culmination of the hard work they have put in over the last year in the most trying circumstances.

They have only been open for four months of the last year, and have been operating a takeaway service for most of that time to keep things ticking over. Last month they were able to begin their accommodation services again.

South Wales Argus: The bistro and downstairs area at Creates

“We were completely new to the industry last January, just finding our feet - and then the pandemic hit,” he said.


“It’s been an extremely emotionally challenging time. We have the Creates Art Gallery and the bed and breakfast on Church Street - so we’ve probably covered the bases in terms of the industries most hit over the last year. I’m tearing up just thinking about it to be honest.

“But we’ve tried to make the most of the spare time we’ve had together. We’ve put so much work in and we hope that comes across on the show.”

South Wales Argus: The bistro and downstairs area at Creates

The pair have spent the time renovating the bedrooms at Creates, giving each room a different woodland theme to reflect the Wye Valley, and they’re also renovating the bistro downstairs.

“Our endeavour is always to leave the customer with a lasting memory, and that’s what we feel we can do now with the themed rooms, the gallery, and the bistro in particular,” Kenny said.

“We’re really proud of what we’ve managed because we’ve done it while constantly trying to diversify our offering with the takeaways, which has been a challenge.

“We realised that the big chains here like Costa and Coffee#1 aren’t open in the evenings to do things like takeaways, so we’ve really tried to push our offering there, and it’s been going brilliantly.

“It’s been a great last week seeing new faces coming to stay after such a long time not being able to have them.”

He believes it is even more crucial customers visit now, because funding from the Welsh Government has dried up.

South Wales Argus: The bistro and downstairs area at Creates

“Funding support throughout the pandemic hasn’t been great, and has often been late - but at least it’s been there,” he explained.

“But now we’ve realised there will be no funding until after the Senedd elections [on May 6].

“It means we’re going to have to make do with a £4,000 payment we received in March until probably mid-May. The rent here is £3,000 a month, so that shows you what we’re up against.

South Wales Argus: The bistro and downstairs area at Creates

“I feel that a gap in funding now could have been communicated better, so at least we could prepare for it.”

Intent on not giving anything away, he says he “loved every minute” of being on the show, which was a tonic from pandemic stress.

“We met some thoroughly lovely people in the industry, which was important as we didn’t really know many people at all,” he added.

“It was a really enriching experiencing for both of us. To be able to see how others worked, and to share ideas and enjoy other accommodation was a blessing.

“We learned a lot and had some great laughs, which I hope comes across.”

South Wales Argus: Kenny John and Ben Price

A spokesman for the Welsh Government said: “Our comprehensive package of financial support for Welsh businesses will continue throughout April and into May. Many businesses will already have received their full share of the £180 million funding announced in mid-March upfront to see them through until May, for others, including in the hospitality and tourism sector, cash grants will continue to be paid during April as applications are confirmed.

“Businesses will therefore see no interruption in the flow of financial support, as we move cautiously to relax public health restrictions.

“Another £200 million in additional support for business has already been earmarked in the Final Budget 2021/22. Ministers have had a constructive meeting with representatives from the hospitality sector and Welsh Government officials will work with them on options for a further support package to be put to the new Government following May’s Senedd election.”