THE Grosvenor Hotel in Torquay has been sold to Grand Hotel boss Keith Richardson in a deal worth around £1million.
Interest in the high-profile Belgrave Road business, featured in television series The Hotel, saw 2,200 inquiries when owner Mark Jenkins announced it was for sale last month.
It will now see a massive investment to bring it up to three star status with Mr Richardson promising: "I'll do what it takes."
The move has again be filmed for Channel 4 and will be screened next year in the second and final series of the programme. Mr Jenkins will be coming back as a 'host' at the hotel when the programme hits the airwaves.
Mr Richardson said: "There is the impression that people want to come to this hotel to see Mark.
"Mark is a lovely guy — he's honest, decent and hard working. How many people in his position would still be like that?
"Now he has left this hotel with no money and no job. He is trying to build a new future for himself as a one-man show. Good luck to him, but he's going to need some money to keep himself going.
"What I have said to him is that I will pay him decently to come back and be a host. We have a deal where he will come and just chat to our customers. Every time I have been here, the guests just want to meet Mark."
The building will be brought up to three-star status and work has already begun on marketing, said Mr Richardson.
The hotel has been using coach parties to fill the rooms, but there will be a deliberate move away from that under the Richardson Hotels umbrella.
Apart from Mr Jenkins, the entire staff, who were told about the news at the start of the week, will be kept on in their same roles.
Mr Richardson said: "Last time the programme aired, the phone didn't stop ringing. They are expecting more viewers this time around. Five million is ten per cent of the population who have seen this place.
"A package of things attracted me to the hotel. It's a Victorian building and I like them, I've been buying them since 1963 and have an affinity for them.
"We will be putting the prices up when we have improved the quality. They have lovely staff, who are anxious to move it forward."
Bettesworths handled the sale which saw 2,200 people interested, 560 brochures sent out and round the clock viewings.
Director Stephen Lofthouse said he was delighted to have helped the new owners.
He said: "We always planned on using a bit of the famousness of the Grosvenor as the marketing push and that worked. We instantly got a lot of serious people.
"Everyone we spoke to had seen it on the television. And everyone saw that as a positive. With any property that is being marketed as a business, all advertising is good advertising to some degree."
Grant Thornton were appointed administrators of Torquay-based Riviera Hotels LLP, the limited liability partnership set up by Mr Jenkins last year.
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 was sold as a separate entity in this deal.
Bids are currently being looked at for the Inglewood and Kistor.