JD Wetherspoon is continuing its drive into the budget hotel sector with plans to add another two hotels to its portfolio of around 40 hotels this summer.
The two hotels will be attached to two new JD Wetherspoon pubs in Northolt and Huntingdon which are part of a tranche of eight new pubs set to open during June and July this year.
The pub openings come just months after the company announced it is to close eight pubs in London as part of a wider strategy to close a total of 33 pubs across the country this year. JD Wetherspoon has a total of 930 pubs.
The eight new pubs are in Edinburgh, Newton le Willows, Largs, Northolt, Formby, Huntingdon, Chatham and Okehampton. The first of the eight pubs, The Booking Office, opens at Edinburgh's Waverley train station next week (14 June).
JD Wetherspoon chief executive, John Hutson said: "We are looking forward to opening our new pubs and hotels, a number of which are in towns where we are not yet represented."
Speaking to The Caterer, a spokesman for JD Wetherspoon said more hotel openings are in the pipeline. He added: "The hotels are doing very well indeed and we will certainly be looking to open more hotels. Where there is an opportunity to open a hotel in one of our pubs we will look at developing that opportunity. We are currently looking at other sites, subject to planning permission."
He declined to give occupation rates but said: "We are very pleased at the number of visits people make to our hotels, they are very busy and often housed in interesting buildings in towns and city centres and people like the idea they can check in and nip down to the pub below."
Wetherspoon hotels vary in size from its Newbury hotel which has just two rooms to larger hotels with up to 35 rooms.
Asked if JD Wetherspoon had a clear strategy on how many hotels it plans to open, the spokesman said: "We never had one. We don't run hotels per se. All of our hotels are attached to one of our pubs. We have always made clear we are a pub company and we only open a hotel when we have a site where we think a hotel can be developed. So we are certainly looking to open more hotels but it will depend on whether the pubs are suited to that."
Asked why JD Wetherspoon is closing pubs across the country the spokesman said it was part of a strategy to reassess the estate. "We open a lot of pubs and we are selling some because like a lot of companies we will reassess our estate and if we think a pub can't be upgraded or redeveloped then we will sell it."
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