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Partial hotel refunds anger racegoers

Partial refunds from Cheltenham hotels after the cancellation of the horse-racing festival have left some customers angry and out of pocket.

Most of the big hotels have given full refunds, but others are returning only part of the money or have attempted to persuade guests to leave their deposit as a booking for next year.

Geoffrey Tong, 62, of West Sussex threatened to take the 17-bedroom Prestbury House hotel to the small claims court because he risked losing half the £1,120 he paid unless he rebooked for a future date. In the end, owner Stephen Whitbourn refunded £800 and no action was taken.

The 38-bedroom George hotel has refunded 55% of bedroom costs. Owner Jeremy Shaw said: “There has been a varied reaction but the majority have happily accepted.”

The 79-bedroom Queen’s hotel and the 75-bedroom Carlton hotel both gave full deposits back after the festival’s cancellation. Joanne Blackburn, assistant manager of the Carlton, said: “We decided to keep our loyal customer base. Every single guest is booked in with us for next year’s race. Two actually sent back their deposits saying we should keep them.”

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