The 46-bedroom Grosvenor hotel in Torquay has become the sixth property within the former Richardson Hotels portfolio to go into administration.
A costly refurbishment of the hotel – and its subsequent relaunch as the John Burton-Race Restaurant with Rooms, which had been officially due to take place on Friday – was widely reported to have contributed to the administration of the property’s five sister hotels in Devon and Cornwall, which was announced on 10 January.
On Monday, the same administrators, Mark Boughey and Matthew Wild of RSM Restructuring Advisory, were appointed to take control of the Torquay hotel which is registered as Richardson Hotels (Grosvenor) Limited, a subsidiary of Richardson Hotels Holdings.
The Grosvenor hotel has a notorious history having been plunged into the media spotlight on the Channel 4 reality show The Hotel, which ran for three series between 2012 and 2015. Mark Jenkins, who became the focus of the programme for his haphazard methods of running the hotel, incurred the wrath of Torquay’s tourism industry for giving the resort a bad name.
Jenkins was initially retained by Keith Richardson, chairman of Richardson Hotels, when he acquired the property for less than £1m in 2012, in an attempt to capitalise on his television fame.
However, more recently in a bid to shake off the down-market image created by Jenkins, Richardson brought in Burton-Race, a former Michelin-starred chef, to give the Victorian-built hotel a more serious food-led focus. An extensive refurbishment, which has included a remodelling of the public area and renovation of the bedrooms resulted in a short fall of payments to the tax man and, eventually, the administration. Jenkins has since relaunched his career as a comedian and entertainer.
Burton-Race told The Caterer that it was business as usual at the hotel, where he said he was preparing for a busy dinner service. “This is just a glitch, which will be sorted,” he said. “I’m not worried. The company has plenty of assets and once one of them is sold, things will go back to normal.”
The administrators are now in discussion with property company Colliers International to agree a sales strategy regarding one or more of the six hotels. In addition to the Grosvenor hotel, the other properties which could go on the market are the 132-bedroom Grand hotel in Torquay, Devon; 71-bedroom Falmouth hotel in Falmouth, Cornwall; 58-bedroom Metropole hotel in Padstow, Cornwall; 52-bedroom Royal Beacon hotel in Exmouth, Devon; and 37-bedroom Fowey hotel in Fowey, Cornwall. All except the unrated Grosvenor and Royal Beacon hotels hold four AA stars.
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