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End of the road for Torquay's TV Hotel man

By Herald Express  |  Posted: September 14, 2012

  • Mark Jenkins

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THE man made famous for his TV hotel series is selling up — and two of his other hotels have gone into administration.

Torquay's Grosvenor Hotel is for sale and the neighbouring Kistor and Inglewood hotels have gone into administration.

Boss Mark Jenkins, who shot to stardom with The Hotel fly-on-the-wall documentary, says he is now quitting the hotel business.

Grant Thornton have been appointed administrators of Torquay-based Riviera Hotels LLP, the limited liability partnership set up by Mr Jenkins last year.

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It was formed after the voluntary liquidation of Inglewood Hotel Limited, the company which formerly ran the Inglewood, Kistor and Grosvenor hotels, which was placed into creditors voluntary liquidation last summer owing £900,000.

The Grosvenor is now being sold as a separate entity. Mr Jenkins said: "I have not taken a salary for a considerable amount of time and it is the reason that I live in a one bedroom flat.

"The only reason that I am still here in Torquay seeing this through is to ensure the safety of the jobs involved and ensure that the hotels remain trading. I am doing everything that I possibly can.

"Genuinely, whatever people might think of me, I am sat here trying to make sure the jobs are safe.

"We have had lots of national interest in the sale already."

When asked if Mr Jenkins will continue in the hotel business he said: "God no."

The Grosvenor was initially placed on the market under 'confidential instruction' for £1.2million earlier this summer, but is now openly on sale for bids between £750,000 and £1million.

The saga has been filmed throughout August by a production team for a new series of The Hotel, to be shown next year.

Stephen Lofthouse, director of Bettesworths, who are handling the Grosvenor sale, said: "The Kistor and the Inglewood have been taken over and are being run as a going concern. That is all separate to the sale of the Grosvenor.

"When Mark started with the Grosvenor I think it is fair to say there was a much higher immediate spend needed. He has spent in excess of £200,000 on modernising what was perhaps a tired old lady.

"Mark is in control of the company that owns the Grosvenor. The Inglewood and Kistor and are now completely separate entities".

Mr Lofthouse said Mr Jenkins is now looking for a quick sale, and for the jobs of the staff to be retained as part of the deal.

He said: "They want to sell it quickly with, ideally, a new buyer in place by Christmas. Mark is very concerned that not one staff member loses their job in this.

"They are virtually full between now and Christmas.

"We started to market it on Monday and I have been on the phone pretty constantly since then. We already have viewings booked in for the weekend".

The Inglewood and Kistor are trading as normal and are expected to be put on the market as a going concern by Savills in Exeter in the next six weeks.

It is not known how much is money may be owed or how many jobs may be under threat.

A statement from administrators Grant Thornton said: "Nigel Morrison and Alistair Wardell have been appointed administrators at Torquay-based Riviera Hotels LLP, trading as The Kistor and The Inglewood Hotels.

"The 64-bed Kistor, and the 54-bed Inglewood, which are both on Belgrave Road, have suffered from the effects of the general economic climate.

"They are continuing to trade at the sites while they attempt to sell them as a going concern. There are no current plans to make any redundancies."

The brochure for the 46-room en-suite Grosvenor Hotel suggests 'The Hotel' comes with a turnover in excess of £1million with good forward bookings.

English Riviera Tourism chief executive Carolyn Custerson was concerned about the timing of the sale — and the fact that Mr Jenkins' latest troubles were being filmed for national television.

She said: "We are all going to have to relive this again in the New Year on national television.

"It is not indicative of what is going on in Torbay but my fear is that people will think that it is. I was one of the people who said with the first series that not all publicity is good and I stand by that more now than ever.The English Riviera Tourism Company is still owed £7,500 from the first time they got into trouble."

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  • somdalton  |  February 03 2013, 8:29PM

    atleast the man tried you can not knock him for that

    |   31
  • Chunder123  |  September 19 2012, 10:34PM

    He's no doubt a multi millionaire and this venture is just entertainment for him

    |   -66
  • Hotelavenger  |  September 16 2012, 1:55PM

    Realityzone, couldn't agree more. Anything to raise the profile of the area. However, refurbishing a 120 year old building generally has a far greater cost than building a new property, secondly the cost of demolition is enormous. Unless it mysteriously burns down. It would help a lot if Torbay Council didn't take 7 years to make decisions!

    |   17
  • realityzone  |  September 16 2012, 12:54PM

    The number of sites which will be available in Belgrave Road, including perhaps the Grosvenor with sea views, rather undermines the argument for grabbing public open space at Princess Gardens to build another hotel. Developers should be eyeing up Belgrave Road.

    |   14
  • Hotelavenger  |  September 15 2012, 1:35PM

    Cherie54: That was the point I was making, that there should be a diversity of customers attracted to stay in the bay. However, this forum is about hotels and therefore it is not relevant to discuss self catering and caravans. It would make absolutely no viable or financial sense to start converting large hotels into self catering flats or indeed clearing the land to put caravans on. The holiday flats opposite us are barely occupied throughout the year. I personally don't mind who stays in the bay as long as they are prepared to pay more and get more. The point is that paying less is detrimental to the bay and nothing can ever be achieved if we are a tuppence ha'penny resort. It's a chicken and the egg situation, can't charge more till upgrade, can't upgrade till charge more. The same applies to the town centre, it can only be upgraded if people are prepared to invest. Sadly, the only people with enough money to transform town centres are the chains of shops that no-one wants.

    |   8
  • cherrie54  |  September 15 2012, 10:43AM

    Hotelanger your argument only further empathsizes the fact that the hoteliers should not rely on one source of trade ie: coaches. Yes there should be a diversitation of trade, but as you say you cater for the trade that is growing. That is self catering for families and short stay weekend breaks. These two areas are the only ones that at the moment are growing. I stand by my stance that no investment or help has gone into helping the small shops and businesses to upgrade and basically be renovated. No there is not evening entertainment other than resturants and pubs which not all including the locals would like and use. Parking is an issue too. There is a lot of positives with the area it would be a shame not to build on that success.

  • Hotelavenger  |  September 14 2012, 5:00PM

    I don't think the family market should take precedence over any other. Most families are finding it hard to cope, financially and thus will be looking for cheap accommodation, cheap food and bargain holidays. Also not the answer in entirety.

    |   4
  • cherrie54  |  September 14 2012, 9:48AM

    Joking aside think that coach holiday reliance is not a way forward. But then neither is the stag and hen party club a way forward. Bournemouth and many other large resorts went down that road. They now have vertally no family tourism trade little or no conferance business bookings. Torbay and devon as a whole has been unique for its family and walking/sports attractions along with it's mediterain climate (though little of that now wet yuk) and tropical gardens (gone). With todays money climate the bay should be looking at attracting more of family self catering trade. This side of holidaying is growing fast with sells of caravans /camping/tourers growing. A good start with the eco playground has been made. But the lack of help given to the many small shops and businesses in the towns is failing. Lack of parking is but one small issue. When was any funding ever given to help renovate and up grade the traders on the one road most visitors use to get to the beach in paignton. When was any thought given to evening entertainment for visitors and residents alike. Apart that is from the pub or resturants and wide screen tv junkies.

    |   8
  • delboyuk2508  |  September 14 2012, 7:53AM

    I agree with Seeweed, a 4 star hotel (The Grand) getting a 0 (urgent improvement necessary) for food hygiene should not comment on others until their own is up to scratch!

    |   22
  • reptor2456  |  September 14 2012, 7:18AM

    Repeat after me. Application put forward for "luxury" flats Application turned down. Mysterious fire Flats built. zzzzzzzzzzzzz

    |   36