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The Caterer

First Cockermouth hotel closed by flooding reopens

22 April 2010 by
First Cockermouth hotel closed by flooding reopens

The Allerdale Court hotel is the first hotel in Cockermouth closed by last November's devastating floods to reopen to customers.

The 25-bedroom, two-star property closed after weeks of heavy rain culminated in England's wettest day on record on 19 November, with rainfall in Cumbria of more than 300mm.

Unfortunately, as the owners of hotel, John and Kay Carlin, set about working through the insurance process and liaising with builders to repair the extensive damage, John Carlin suffered a heart attack and died on 8 January, at the age of 59.

As a result, the couple's eldest son, Jake, returned to Cockermouth from his position as assistant food and beverage manager at the 580-bedroom Ramada Plaza Doha in Qatar to oversee the renovation and reopening of the Allerdale Court.

"At times it has seemed like the end of the world, but although it is still early days, we are at last feeling hopeful and more confident again." said Jake Carlin.

"We opened very quietly a week ago and since then the business has poured in, with the restaurant and bar doing very well and the telephone ringing non-stop with forward bookings," said Carlin.

"We have kept the spirit of the original 17th-century building, but we have used the opportunity of the redecoration to make some improvements to the property including changing the flooring from carpet to oak."

The £500,000 cost of repairs to the hotel, together with the cost of paying the 20 staff throughout the closure of the property, is all being paid by Allerdale Court's insurance company.

David Noble, divisional managing director (hospitality and travel) of Gauntlet Insurance advised that it is vital for hoteliers to buy the correct levels of insurance cover as should disaster strike the future of the business is at stake.

"Most insurance policies contain an average clause that reduces cover in the event of underinsurance," he said. "My company insure over 600 hotels in the UK and it's still common to see property values not being reviewed on a regular basis and business interruption cover arranged with unrealistic gross revenue estimates and indemnity periods."

The Carlins bought the Allerdale Court Hotel in 1997 after John Carlin has spent much of his earlier career working abroad as general manager of Millennium & Copthorne Hotels.

Other hotels in Cockermouth still closed as a result of the floods include the Wordsworth, which is due to reopen on 20 May, and the Trout, scheduled to welcome its first guests on 14 June.

How Cockermouth hotels are faring after the floods >>

Hospitality battles on after flooding in Cumbria >>

Business insurance - be prepared >>

By Janet Harmer

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