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Hoteliers provide welcome refuge for stranded motorists

06 January 2010 by

A hotel in Hampshire, which was closed for refurbishment, opened its doors to provide food and beds for welcome motorists stranded by last night's heavy snow fall.

The 14-bedroom Langrish House hotel in the village of Langrish - near Petersfield and two miles from the A3 - received the first call from a desperate traveller at 7.50pm.

"We were full within five minutes," said owner Robina Talbot-Ponsonby, who runs the hotel (pictured below) with her husband Nigel, the founder and executive chairman of chartered surveyors HLL Humberts Leisure. "It was hot coffee, baths and a roaring fire for everyone to try and warm them up."

At 2am, a further eight desperate motorists arrived at the hotel and were provided with sandwiches and coffee before sleeping on mattresses in the drawing room.

"It was all hands to the pump as there was only myself, my wife, two sons and the manager Dan Wilson here because the 20 hotel staff were all on holiday" said Nigel Talbot-Ponsonby.

"We had absolutely no hesitation in helping people and we expect to be fully booked again tonight."

The nearby 50-bedroom Premier Inn at Petersfield was also booked out with motorists who had to abandon their cars after the 30cm snowfall.

Located on the junction of the A3 and the A272, the budget hotel opened its restaurant as a rescue centre and provided hot drinks and somewhere to rest for around 200 people, including a mother with a four week old baby.

near Petersfield, Hampshire
near Petersfield, Hampshire
Further north along the A3, the 32-bedroom Devil's Punch Bowl hotel in Hindhead was full and provided coffee and soup to 30 police officers and workmen clearing the road.

"This morning we had 80 people for breakfast, when we normally only do about 20," said general manger, Cyril Herzock. "We were delighted to help everyone, but are concerned that we might run out of fresh milk, vegetables and meat by tomorrow as we have had no deliveries today."

Across the 390-strong chain of Travelodge budget hotels, three properties experienced temporary power cuts in Manchester and Scotland, but are now fully restored.

"In the south, Liphook, Alton, Four Marks and Fontwell were all full last night and accepting victims of the snow drifts after being dropped off by the police late into the night," said Greg Dawson, Travelodge's director of communications.

"The Travelodge at Gatwick Airport was also full and struggling to meet demand as flights were cancelled."

Share your snow stories here >>

Bosses urged to be flexible with staff in severe weather >>

Cold snap brings benefits to hoteliers >>

Langrish House wins Les Routiers award >>

By Janet Harmer

E-mail your comments to Janet Harmer here.

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