A HIGH-FLYING couple who gave up jobs in the city to run a hotel boat on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal said they are ‘amazed’ at how popular it has become.
Nick and Gina Mead swapped fast-paced city living for the tranquil surrounds of the canal five years ago, establishing the first hotel boat to be given a five-star rating by Visit England.
In that time their boat, christened Lady Teal, has welcomed visitors from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa, as well as number of locals keen to explore the stunning views from the canal.
This year Lady Teal is already at 99 per cent occupancy for the April to October season, with bookings being made for 2015 and 2016 already.
Nick, who used to manage 150 staff in 13 countries for Experian, said: “When we discussed doing this I said it had to be the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
“It is the most beautiful canal in the country, the scenery is just stunning. People who stay on the boat are captivated by it.
“The canal is under utilised as well, which makes it perfect for us.”
Nick, 55, and his wife Gina, 58, who used to troubleshoot dental practices in London, decided they wanted to spend more time together after a narrowboat holiday to celebrate her birthday five years ago.
Gina said: “We were living together but we both worked such long hours we didn’t see a great deal of each other.
“We wanted to change that and we both enjoyed being on the boat, we’re outdoors people and this is perfect.”
The couple invested £250,000 in designing Lady Teal themselves, and it remains the only hotel boat in the north to be rated at five stars, and until last year was the only one in the country.
The boat is 60ft long and 13ft wide. It has three rooms, two twins and one single, with en-sute bathrooms, as well as satellite TV and Wi-Fi.
Its official home is Reedley Marina, in Burnley, but the couple run holidays to destinations including Skipton, Top of Wigan, Bridgewater Marina, Rodley near Leeds, Selby and Tarleton. Prices range from £630 to £1,025 per person, with single and double rooms available for three to eight nights.