Singapore-based Fragrance Group has announced that, just two weeks after the closure of four of its UK hotels operated by Bespoke Hotels, an agreement has been made with RBH to reopen and take over operations at the properties.
The previous general managers of all four hotels – the 141-bedroom Lyndene (pictured) and 90-bedroom St Chads in Blackpool, the 85-bedroom Townhouse in Manchester and the 72-bedroom Duke of Cornwall in Plymouth – have already been reappointed with the new company and it is intended that, over the coming weeks, more staff who were made redundant will also be offered employment with RBH.
Fragrance said at the time that it was "dismayed" after Bespoke closed the four properties "without warning". However, Bespoke said that the hotels had become unviable due to the financial strain of the pandemic and that it had informed Fragrance in January that it had no other option but to formally appoint an insolvency practitioner for the properties.
The Fragrance Group's UK representative Martin Rogers said: "Since discovering that Bespoke Hotels had effectively closed four of our hotels by making all staff redundant without warning on 3 February, we have had an intense fortnight of discussions, culminating in an agreement with RBH who became the new operators of the Lyndene and St Chads in Blackpool, the Townhouse in Manchester and the Duke of Cornwall in Plymouth on 18 February."
Rogers added: "We already have an established working relationship with RBH who operate one of our flagship hotels, the Crown in Harrogate, and we have every confidence that the four Fragrance hotels will thrive under their professional management."
Divisional director for RBH Steven Foster said: "We have moved swiftly to re-employ the general managers to ensure the hotels are ready to reopen as soon as we're allowed to do so.
"Exactly when we open will be dependent on the government's plans for lifting restrictions on the hospitality and leisure sector but we are optimistic that as we move towards summer, and with the roll-out of the vaccine programme, we can look forward to a very busy season, especially in the seaside resorts of Plymouth and Blackpool."
Martin Jones, who has been general manager of the Townhouse hotel in Manchester for four years, said: "We are absolutely thrilled and delighted that the hotel will be reopening. It has been a really distressing time for everyone here and it's a credit to the Fragrance Group and RBH Management that they have turned things around so quickly."
Peter Adams, general manager at the Duke of Cornwall hotel in Plymouth, said: "It's really fantastic news for the hotel and for the city. We received such positive support from the community when the hotel closed – people clearly do have a lot of affection for the hotel… The Fragrance Group have been very reactive and this shows their commitment to the hotel as an asset and an operational businesses. We can't wait to reopen the doors and move forward."
The Lyndene and St Chads hotels in Blackpool are next door to each other and are jointly managed by husband and wife Paul and Claire Swift. The couple said: "We are delighted that the Lyndene and St Chads hotels will be reopening their doors very soon. It has been such a distressing few weeks for our teams, as well as our loyal guests."