Hotelier speaks out on Railtrack scandal

25 May 2000
Hotelier speaks out on Railtrack scandal

One of the owners of the hotel caught up in last week's Railtrack conference delegate scandal has hit back after receiving calls accusing him of blowing the whistle on his guests.

Chris Wilson, general manager and partner of the 55-bedroom Balmer Lawn hotel in Brockenhurst, Hampshire, said that anonymous callers, claiming to be from travel groups, had telephoned him last week to say how dismayed they were at his lack of confidentiality and that they would not use the hotel.

"The Mirror reporters were staying at the hotel undercover at the time. The hotel didn't complain about the behaviour at all," said Wilson.

"Their behaviour was not good, but a lot of conference delegates get over-excited."

Wilson said that the worst problem was when some of the delegates, who had been drinking, insisted on using the swimming pool at 2am.

He denied that he had complained to Railtrack but said he had met with executives from the company last week after newspaper reports over Railtrack delegates on "drunk rampage" the day after the first day of the inquiry into the Paddington rail disaster in which 31 people died.

"It's a difficult position for us. We get a lot of our business from Railtrack. Although the behaviour was inappropriate, we wouldn't complain, provided there was no damage to the hotel and our staff were not abused," said Wilson.

It is the second conference scandal to hit the small town. Just 500 yards from the Balmer Lawn hotel is the Careys Manor hotel, where city traders set furniture on fire during their stay last year.

In March the Careys Manor hotel accepted close to £35,000 compensation from Intercapital Asset Management.

by Christina Golding

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