The founder of boutique London hotel The Hoxton, Sinclair Beecham, has denied that he plans to postpone turning the hotel into a national chain due to the economic downturn.
In October, Beecham announced he was planning to open a second property on Edinburgh's Royal Mile by the end of 2009, to be followed by further projects in Glasgow, Leeds, Birmingham and Bristol.
Speaking to Caterersearch Beecham said that there was to be no hold on plans for the chain's expansion, but conceded that the group would be cautious:
"We're doing what any business would do in the circumstances, we're trying to decide what the right thing to do is in the market. I'm still excited about the future, but if banks don't lend money we can't be certain what's going to be."
Beecham, who also co-founded the food chain Pret a Manger, launched the Hoxton in London's East End, after becoming frustrated with what he deemed "rip-off prices" charged at other hotels.
The downturn also prompted Beecham to offer 50 rooms, with Pret breakfast and bottle of mineral water, completely free, as a "gesture of thanks to its city clientele", but which is also a shrewd marketing ploy given the traditionally quiet period in hotels around this time of year.
Beecham and co-founder Julian Metcalfe, pocketed an estimated £50m in cash from the sale last February of the sandwich chain to Bridgepoint Capital for about £345m.
By Gemma Sharkey
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