The Torbay hotel that inspired John Cleese to write the 1970s sitcom Fawlty Towers has been sold to Churchill Retirement Living for redevelopment into 32 retirement flats.
The Hotel Gleneagles, a former 42-bedroom boutique hotel, which closed earlier this year, has been sold by owners Brian Shone and Terrence Taylor of Oceana Hotels off a guide price of £1.5m.
The property was sold after planning consent for the redevelopment was granted by Torbay Council. Shone and Taylor sold three hotels in Bournemouth earlier this year to an un-named Qatari company off a guide price of £16m.
According to Martin Rogers, hotels director at Savills, the company responsible for the Hotel Gleneagles sale, the property struggled to be profitable. "The sale reflects the difference in value between its existing use and an alternative use, which very often in this sort of situation is residential," he said.
The hotel became the inspiration for Fawlty Towers after Cleese stayed at the property with the Monty Python team in the early 1970s. At that time the hotel was described as upmarket because it had private bathrooms. The character of Basil Fawlty was inspired by the eccentric behaviour of the hotel's then owner, Donald Sinclair, who is said to have criticised Terry Gilliam's etiquette and tossed Eric Idle's briefcase out of a window in case it contained a bomb.
In September 2006 Prunella Scales, who played Sybil Fawlty, was guest of honour at the reopening of the hotel after a £1m makeover.
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