End of the road for Torquay's TV Hotel man
THE man made famous for his TV hotel series is selling up — and two of his other hotels have gone into administration.
Torquay's Grosvenor Hotel is for sale and the neighbouring Kistor and Inglewood hotels have gone into administration.
Boss Mark Jenkins, who shot to stardom with The Hotel fly-on-the-wall documentary, says he is now quitting the hotel business.
Grant Thornton have been appointed administrators of Torquay-based Riviera Hotels LLP, the limited liability partnership set up by Mr Jenkins last year.
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It was formed after the voluntary liquidation of Inglewood Hotel Limited, the company which formerly ran the Inglewood, Kistor and Grosvenor hotels, which was placed into creditors voluntary liquidation last summer owing £900,000.
The Grosvenor is now being sold as a separate entity. Mr Jenkins said: "I have not taken a salary for a considerable amount of time and it is the reason that I live in a one bedroom flat.
"The only reason that I am still here in Torquay seeing this through is to ensure the safety of the jobs involved and ensure that the hotels remain trading. I am doing everything that I possibly can.
"Genuinely, whatever people might think of me, I am sat here trying to make sure the jobs are safe.
"We have had lots of national interest in the sale already."
When asked if Mr Jenkins will continue in the hotel business he said: "God no."
The Grosvenor was initially placed on the market under 'confidential instruction' for £1.2million earlier this summer, but is now openly on sale for bids between £750,000 and £1million.
The saga has been filmed throughout August by a production team for a new series of The Hotel, to be shown next year.
Stephen Lofthouse, director of Bettesworths, who are handling the Grosvenor sale, said: "The Kistor and the Inglewood have been taken over and are being run as a going concern. That is all separate to the sale of the Grosvenor.
"When Mark started with the Grosvenor I think it is fair to say there was a much higher immediate spend needed. He has spent in excess of £200,000 on modernising what was perhaps a tired old lady.
"Mark is in control of the company that owns the Grosvenor. The Inglewood and Kistor and are now completely separate entities".
Mr Lofthouse said Mr Jenkins is now looking for a quick sale, and for the jobs of the staff to be retained as part of the deal.
He said: "They want to sell it quickly with, ideally, a new buyer in place by Christmas. Mark is very concerned that not one staff member loses their job in this.
"They are virtually full between now and Christmas.
"We started to market it on Monday and I have been on the phone pretty constantly since then. We already have viewings booked in for the weekend".
The Inglewood and Kistor are trading as normal and are expected to be put on the market as a going concern by Savills in Exeter in the next six weeks.
It is not known how much is money may be owed or how many jobs may be under threat.
A statement from administrators Grant Thornton said: "Nigel Morrison and Alistair Wardell have been appointed administrators at Torquay-based Riviera Hotels LLP, trading as The Kistor and The Inglewood Hotels.
"The 64-bed Kistor, and the 54-bed Inglewood, which are both on Belgrave Road, have suffered from the effects of the general economic climate.
"They are continuing to trade at the sites while they attempt to sell them as a going concern. There are no current plans to make any redundancies."
The brochure for the 46-room en-suite Grosvenor Hotel suggests 'The Hotel' comes with a turnover in excess of £1million with good forward bookings.
English Riviera Tourism chief executive Carolyn Custerson was concerned about the timing of the sale — and the fact that Mr Jenkins' latest troubles were being filmed for national television.
She said: "We are all going to have to relive this again in the New Year on national television.
"It is not indicative of what is going on in Torbay but my fear is that people will think that it is. I was one of the people who said with the first series that not all publicity is good and I stand by that more now than ever.The English Riviera Tourism Company is still owed £7,500 from the first time they got into trouble."