The Grosvenor hotel in Torquay, whose eccentric boss gained nationwide attention through a reality TV documentary, has been put up for sale.
Mark Jenkins has put the hotel on the market following the collapse into administration of Riviera Hotels which operated two nearby sister hotels, the 54-bedroom Inglewood and the 64-bedroom Kistor. It is believed he is now intending to quit the hotel industry.
Legacy Hotels & Resorts has been appointed by the administrators, Grant Thornton, to run the Inglewood and the Kistor, while efforts are made to sell the hotels as a going concern through Savills estate agency.
Meanwhile, the Grosvenor – which was the focus of the second series of Channel 4’s The Hotel – will also feature in the third series, which has been filmed over the summer. It is now being marketed by property agents Bettesworth at what they describe as the “very realistic price” of £750,000 to £1m for “a quick sale”.
Jenkins formed the limited liability company Riveria Hotels to operate the Inglewood and Kistor last year, following the voluntary liquidation of Inglewood Hotel Ltd – the company which formerly ran the Inglewood, Kistor and Grosvenor hotels – owning £900,000.
Grant Thornton said that the Inglewood and Kistor hotels had both suffered from the effects of the general economic climate.
However, Carolyn Custerson, chief executive of English Riviera Tourism, said that the failure of Jenkins’s business had been due to “poor management and a lack of investment” in the hotels. She also said it was disappointing that he had chosen to use the TV programme as a stage to sell the Grosvenor hotel.
“Locally Mr Jenkins is not regarded as being very professional,” she told Caterer and Hotelkeeper. “He has tried to infer that Torquay was to blame for his downfall, when in fact it was due to his bad management. The writing was on the wall two years ago.
“Mr Jenkins failed to move with the times. As well as offering no online booking facility, he was selling rooms at ridiculously low rates, which were just not sustainable. With no money available to invest in upgrading the properties, the result was poor service and standards.”
Custerson said although Jenkins was trying to drag the rest of Torquay down, the town had in fact achieved a 4% growth in visitor numbers over the past year.
She also added that Jenkins owed a considerable amount of money to local suppliers, including £7,500 to English Riveria Tourism for unpaid advertisements.
A spokesperson for Channel 4 said: “We revisited the Grosvenor for series 3 because Mark Jenkins, the owner, and his staff, were so popular with viewers who really warmed to them and enjoyed spending time behind the scenes at the hotel. The series will be broadcast on Channel 4 but no date has been set yet.”
Jenkins was unavailable for comment.
By Janet Harmer
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