Ruth Watson

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This article is about the English hotelier. For the Canadian composer, see Ruth Watson Henderson.
Ruth Watson
Born 1950 (age 65)
London, England
Occupation Hotelier, broadcaster and food writer
Known for Presenting:
The Hotel Inspector
Country House Rescue
Ruth Watson's Hotel Rescue
Spouse(s) David Watson (?-present)
Website Official website

Ruth Watson is an English hotelier, broadcaster and food writer.

Early life and career[edit]

Born in London, Ruth Watson was educated in London and at Westonbirt School in Gloucestershire. After taking up a career in graphic design, she became an inspector for the Good Food Guide.[1]

In 1983, Watson and her husband David bought Hintlesham Hall in Hintlesham, Suffolk, as a restaurant and cookery school from Robert Carrier,[1] which over six years they turned into a 33-room hotel, with an 18-hole golf course. In 1990 they bought the Fox and Goose Inn at Fressingfield, launching it as one of Britain's first ever gastropubs.[2] In November 1999, Watson and her husband bought the Crown and Castle Hotel in Orford near Woodbridge, Suffolk, which they have fully restored and run as a modern country house hotel.[3]

In January 2013, Watson commenced the first stage of a judicial review action, after the restaurant at the Crown and Castle Hotel was awarded a 1 out of 5 food hygiene rating. Watson has claimed that an independent expert has since carried out her own assessment disputing the rating, and that a judicial review will allow a court to determine the fairness of the inspection and the rating.[4] In June 2013 the Crown and Castle Hotel regained a 5 rating for food hygiene.[5]

Food writing[edit]

Watson's hotel experience brought her to the eye of various publishers, and was asked in 1994 by friend Delia Smith to be a contributing food editor on Sainsbury's Magazine. Watson subsequently became food editor of the Daily Mail Weekend magazine, for which she was shortlisted for a Glenfiddich Award as newspaper cookery writer in 2001, and won twice as Cookery Writer of the year – in 1997 and 2000.[1] Watson has written three books: the Really Helpful Cookbook published in October 2000 by Ebury Press; the slimming book Fat Girl Slim,[6] while her cook book Something for the Weekend is in its third edition.[2]

Broadcasting career[edit]

In 2005, Watson began presenting the Channel 5 television series The Hotel Inspector. In each episode of this observational documentary series, Watson would visit a struggling British hotel and try to turn their fortunes by giving advice and suggestions to the owner.[7] Watson's direct style appealed to viewers and The Hotel Inspector became one of Channel 5's most popular series of the 2000s (the show won a Royal Television Society Award in November 2006). Despite this, Watson decided not to undertake a fourth series, and was succeeded on the programme by hotelier Alex Polizzi.

In November 2007, Watson signed an exclusive two-year deal with Channel 4 to front a number of television shows, the first of which explores the commercial development of Britain's country houses.[2] Titled, Country House Rescue, the series was broadcast on Channel 4 on Tuesday nights in December 2008 – January 2009, and gained audiences of up to 2.7 million on its first run. A mini-series of catch-up episodes were broadcast a year later. A second series of Country House Rescue was commissioned by Channel 4, and started airing from March 2010.[8][9] A third series aired from March 2011, and a further series of catch-up episodes aired from August 2011. However, Watson has stated on her own website that she will not present any more series of Country House Rescue in the future.[10]

Watson also starred in another TV show that she described as "Grand Designs meets The Hotel Inspector" where she helped aspiring hoteliers start their businesses.[11] The programme, titled Ruth Watson's Hotel Rescue, premiered on Channel 4 at 8.00pm on Wednesday, 30 September 2009,[12] and continued to air throughout October of that year. However, Ruth Watson's Hotel Rescue was not re-commissioned for any further series.[10]

In April 2010, Watson guest-presented the Funk & Soul Show on BBC 6 Music, standing in for Craig Charles.[13]

In 2013, Watson presented Ruth Watson Means Business!, a 15-part series on Channel 4.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Watson and her husband live in a 16th-century farmhouse in Suffolk, 20 minutes away from the Crown and Castle Hotel in Orford. The property contains a 120-acre (0.49 km2) organic farm, harvesting some produce for the Crown and Castle.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "Ruth Watson". Retrieved 20 May 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c Dowell, Ben (28 November 2007). "Watson checks in to Channel 4". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 May 2008. 
  3. ^ "Crown and Castle". Retrieved 20 May 2008. 
  4. ^ "Ruth Watson in Orford Crown and Castle hygiene dispute". BBC News. 4 January 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  5. ^ "Ruth Watson: Hotel inspector gets hygiene stars back". BBC News. 4 January 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  6. ^ Watson, Ruth. "Fat Girl Slim". Quadrille Publishing. Retrieved 20 May 2008. 
  7. ^ "The Hotel Inspector". Retrieved 20 May 2008. [dead link]
  8. ^ "C4 wants longer run of Country House Rescue". Broadcast. 24 March 2009. Retrieved 20 June 2009. 
  9. ^ "Country House Rescue". Retrieved 29 August 2009. 
  10. ^ a b "Television". Ruth Watson. Archived from the original on 22 June 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  11. ^ "Ruth Watson ('Country House Rescue')". Digital Spy. 5 December 2008. Retrieved 9 December 2008. 
  12. ^ "Queen documentary heads up C4 season". Digital Spy. 26 August 2009. Retrieved 29 August 2009. 
  13. ^ "James May to host BBC 6 Music rock show – Media News". Digital Spy. 21 April 2010. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  14. ^ Foottit, Lesley (6 December 2013). "Hotel Inspector Ruth Watson stars in new TV show". Morning Advertiser. Retrieved 19 August 2015. 

External links[edit]