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English councils crack down on takeaways – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

01 March 2010 by

English councils crack down on takeaways
Read the full article in the Observer >>

Former pub landlord first to be jailed for defying smoking ban

A former pub landlord has become the first person to be jailed for defying the smoking ban. Nick Hogan, 43, was sentenced to six months in prison yesterday for refusing to pay a £3,000 fine and £7,236 in costs for flouting the legislation. Hogan held a mass light-up in his two former Bolton pubs, the Swan hotel and the Barristers' Bar, the day the ban came into force in July 2007. He was found guilty on four charges in January 2008 but has refused to pay the fine despite being repeatedly hauled back before the judges. His wife, Denise, who is also a publican, was scathing about the sentence and the law. "Nick doesn't deserve to go to jail, all he has done is speak his mind and people simply don't like it," she said. "Ninety per cent of people who come into my pub want to smoke, even the non-smokers think there should be a choice. These laws are ridiculous." - 27 February, Read the full article in the Daily Mail >>

Grosvenor House hotel tipped to become residential scheme for ultra-rich
Property developers Nick and Christian Candy are believed to be working on a bid for Grosvenor House hotel in Park Lane in partnership with an Asian financial backer. The property has been put on the market by the Royal Bank of Scotland, which acquired it as part of a £1.2b package of 12 Le Meridien properties in 2001 and now hopes to sell it for more than £500m. The Candy Brothers are believed to be interested in buying a serviced apartment block next door to Grosvenor House, and property experts suspect they want to convert the apartments and hotel into a giant luxury residential scheme for the ultra-rich. - 28 February, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >>

Former Grosvenor House manager reveals darker side of five-star life
A new book from former hotel manger Neil Kirby lifts the lid on the darker side of five-star hotel guests. Neil Kirby was manager at the Grosvenor House hotel, near the Landmark where a Saudi prince is currently accused of strangling an aide recently. He recalls rescuing a Moroccan girl - the personal slave of a Saudi princess who had whipped her for trying to escape - by sending her to the Moroccan embassy by taxi. Kirby added that he did not inform the police as he was afraid of losing his job. His book, Celebrity Hotel, which is published on 25 March, underlines how lies and bribery are part of a day's work among hotel staff who have to cover up for customers accompanied by mistresses or prostitutes. Kirby also reveals that opera singer Luciano Pavarotti demanded a bigger, stronger bed - not because of his weight but because he liked to hire prostitutes three at a time. - 28 February, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >>

Yo! Sushi looks to expand in Scotland

Japanese sushi chain Yo! Sushi is making a determined move on the Scottish market after closing its first venue in the country in 2004 after three year's operation. In recent months, its sole Scottish site (which opened in Glasgow in 2007) has been joined by a new venues in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh, which opened in the final months of 2009, and a new, 52-seat restaurant in Harvey Nichols that launched earlier this month. Robin Rowland, the head of Yo! Sushi, said he saw Scotland as a "serious growth market" for the brand, which has 45 sites in the UK, and he has invested an estimated £1.5m in Scottish sites over the past year. Rowland is looking for secondary city-centre locations, and concessions in airports and train stations. Rowland also wants to open more Yo! Sushi kiosks and is also eyeing America, new overseas markets for franchise operations, and the takeaway market. - 28 February, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >>

Rocco Forte Collection posts £35.8m annual loss
The Rocco Forte Collection made a loss of £35.8m in the year to April 2009, compared with a £10.5m loss in the previous year. The steeper loss was partly due to write-downs of property valuations and onerous leases totaling £21m. The group, which recently renegotiated its lending arrangements with Lloyds Banking Group, has seen a recent improvement in trade, with year-on-year sales rising by 10% during February. - 28 February, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >>

3D Entertainments put into administration

3D Entertainments, the bar and nightclub operator that is 49% owned by Luminar, has been placed into administration. Private equity group Sun European Partners has bought 31 venues but the proceeds are expected to only cover Luminar's bank loan guarantee of £2m. Luminar has made £17.3m-worth of loan investment in 3D. Meanwhile, Claridge's owner Maybourne Hotel Group is expected to see its debt with Anglo Irish Bank and Bank of Ireland transferred to Nama, the agency set up by the Irish State to handle large loans taken out with Irish banks against property assets. The switch will not affect the management of the hotels. - 27 February, Read the full article in The Times >>

By Angela Frewin

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