Councillors are being asked to consider the acquisition of a site in Blackpool earmarked for a new hotel alongside the Winter Gardens.
Documents related to the proposal are being kept secret by town hall officials, but the agenda for the next meeting of the executive lists an item “acquisition of land bounded by Alfred Street, Adelaide Street and Leopold Grove”.
Planning permission was granted last June for the construction of a five storey hotel on the land which is currently used as a car park, with the site being marketed for sale with a £3m price tag.
Four different hotel schemes have been brought forward for the land since 2010, but none have progressed.
An artist’s impression of the hotel planned for land between Alfred Street, Adelaide Street and Leopold Grove
However a hotel next door to the Winter Gardens is seen as a key asset for the new £28m conference centre on Leopold Grove due to open this spring.
The hotel plans include an enclosed bridge linking the second floor with the conference centre, a cafe and bar on the ground floor and a double level car park with 94 spaces.
It would occupy half of the site, including a landscaped garden separating it from the car park opening onto Alfred Street, and it would be designed in an art deco style.
A council report at the time planning approval was granted said: “An additional large hotel on the edge of the town centre would support town centre businesses such as shops, eateries and tourism and leisure facilities, as well as providing good quality hotel accommodation opposite the new conference centre.
“The development would be one of many regeneration projects in Blackpool and will assist in re-branding the town centre, strengthening it as a cultural, leisure and business destination for residents and visitors and this weighs notably in favour of the scheme.”
Huge and controversial plans to flatten three ‘eyesore’ hotels on South Promenade and replace them with a block of flats have been brought to Blackpool Council once again.
The multi-million pound plan to demolish the Kimberley, Waldorf and Henderson Hotels dates back all the way to 2008, and has been the subject of heated debate over the years.
Blackpool Council’s planning committee refused to approve the scheme on three separate occasions. In 2016, when developers wanted the proposed five to seven-storey flat block to contain 99 modern apartments, they ruled the proposed 84 parking spaces were not enough, and would negatively impact people living in the area.
Nearby residents repeatedly objected to the proposals, saying the height of the building would leave their properties overshadowed.
Artist’s impression of the proposed flat block submitted to Blackpool Council
However, revised plans cutting the number of apartments from 99 to 88 and increasing parking to one space per flat were unanimously approved by councillors in May 2017, bringing nine years of arguments to an apparent end.
Now the debate is set to continue, as NSP Propery Ltd has submitted a fresh planning application reducing the number of apartments further, from 88 to 63, as the larger project was deemed to be unviable.
A statement submitted to the council by Dave Shepherd of St Annes-based Shepherd Planning said: “The site is the site of the three following hotels… The Waldorf, The Henderson and The Kimberley. This site has been an eyesore for a number of years since the closure of two of the hotels, and the closure of the third is imminent. The dereliction causes visual harm to the area and to its remaining inhabitants.”
He added: “Two (of the hotels) have ceased trading a number of years ago and the third is in imminent danger of closing due to poor occupancy rates and a generally unattractive setting for hotel residents to stay in. The terrace of buildings itself has fallen into a state of dereliction and are visually detrimental to the area.”
If approved, the new block will contain 58 two-bedroom flats, four three-bedrooms, and one four-bedroom.
Accessible entrance to tbe building will be provided from the rear, and there will be lift access to the upper floors. A car park with disabled and general spaces, a cycle parking area, and electric charging points will be installed behind the building, with enough spaces to cover all apartments.
Mr Shepherd said: “The application proposal is in a sustainable and accessible location… Whilst not housing aimed at any specific group, it is suitable for elderly people and some people suffering from a disability.
“The site’s location offers a very realistic alternative to the use of the motor car. It is near to public transport routes, near to schools, shops, and other urban facilities, and would allow walking and cycling as alternatives to the use of the motor car.”
A new flood risk assessment, carried out in line with the new planning application, found the development was at a low flood risk from all flood sources except tidal, where the risk varied from low to medium.
Meanwhile, a transport statement found that the site ‘should not have a material impact in terms of highway operation and safety’, adding: “In fact, the evidence would suggest that safe and suitable access to the site can be achieved for all users.”
The owners have looked into changes in various parts of the B&B to do their bit
Owners of a popular seaside bed and breakfast are finding ways to make changes so they and their guests can help the environment.
Denise and Ian Ward, who run the Barton House B&B in Blackpool, opened in 2020 and knew they would soon want to take steps to make the business more environmentally friendly.
Since welcoming guests after the initial lockdown, thy found themselves making small changes to the running of their property.
“We’re trying to stop this one-use plastic, which is very difficult,” Denise said.
“To achieve it, we use tap water in glass bottles, and also for milk so we decant it- we don’t bother with individually wrapped butter portions we chop up butter and give it out on a daily basis.
“We’re struggling with jam, we started to buy some in plastic which was much cheaper but then we went onto mini jars but what we’re finding is people use a little bit and leave the rest.
“While we can recycle the jars, the wastage is huge even in the tiny jars- but we’ve been fortunate as some people that come here are actually saying can we take the jam to the fridge in our room and we’ll bring it back down and use it tomorrow.”
The owners have recently looked into other changes in various parts of the B&B including using low energy light bulbs, reusable bags instead of plastic bags and recycled paper used by Ian and Denise in their office.
Denise has even bought bamboo toilet roll and is looking into bath mats made out of recycled plastic bottles, but they’re not as easy to get a hold of.
“We’ve now bamboo toilet paper for all of the toilets here but that is a little bit of an experiment compared to other ones,” Denise said.
“I’ve just sourced bathroom products which are in aluminium bottles so they’re going to be recycled and are also vegan.
“I’m trying to get a recycled plastic bottled mat and that is not easy, and I do like pretty things but they are ugly I have to say- they’re quite expensive, however, what a good use of bottles is that.”
Denise and Ian have even found ways to reuse old furnishings- they have previously made cushions out of old curtains and even upholstered a chair with chocolate wrappers.
When first deciding that they would begin making these changes, Denise and Ian contemplated whether their customers would also be on board with this and pay their slightly higher prices for the stay.
Denise says the reactions has been a welcomed surprise and they find that their customers return to them too.
“We do get repeat business coming back- the people what appreciate this, they’re willing to pay a bit more,” She says.
“At the moment we’ve had so much positive feedback and e are trying our hardest to get rid of packaging.
“It will be very hard for any of us to achieve that but you can try your best can’t you.
“If all the hotels and bed and breakfasts in Blackpool are putting two plastic bottles in a room, when people arrive, that’s an awful lot of plastic.”
Denise hopes that moving forward, she can continue making small but important changes to do her bit for the environment and hopes that one day, she might be able to do more regarding food waste.
A historic Blackpool hotel is set for a new era in 2022 after a £400,000 refurbishment saw its crumbling facades repaired.
Heritage guardians had raised concerns about the condition of the Grade II listed former Clifton Hotel in Talbot Square back in 2016.
Repair work eventually began at the start of last year after the council contributed a £178,300 grant towards the improvements, with the rest coming from the property’s owner Juniper Overseas Ltd.
The council funding came from the Quality Corridors Property Improvement Fund (PIF), which is part of Lancashire Enterprise Partnership’s Growth Deal Fund and the Local Transport Fund.
The newly refurbished Forshaw’s Hotel
The 90-bedroom hotel, which had been operating as part of the Ibis brand, has now been renamed Forshaw’s Hotel in a throwback to the original property on the site.
In its heyday as The Clifton, Frank Sinatra stayed there while in Blackpool to perform at the Opera House in the 1950s.
Joan Humble, chairman of Blackpool Civic Trust which had originally raised concerns over the neglect of the landmark, said she was pleased with the work which had been done.
She said: “It is looking so much better now. There was a lot of external work on the upper floors which needed doing, and a delay with the lower floors.
The hotel has been renamed
“But now it is really looking good. It is a prime site in Blackpool, and a historic building ad we’re really pleased it has been refurbished and it can take pride of place once again in this key location.”
Mrs Humble said members of the Civic Trust had monitored progress while work was being carried out, and would continue to keep an eye on the building.
She added: “Having made such a good job of it, it is important to maintain the building into the future.
“So I hope the hotel remains in good condition for many years. As work is needed it should be done promptly.
“The building had deteriorated into a shocking condition, and we don’t want to see that happen again.
“And it is also pleasing to see it renamed Forshaw’s Hotel, harking back to the origins of the building and reminding people of the history of that important Blackpool site.”
Images from 2016 showed cracks had appeared in the frontage of the hotel, there was peeling paintwork, a smashed window and a boarded up window.
Independent councillor Maxine Callow also highlighted the poor state of the structure, warning a meeting of the council in June 2019, it was “getting tattier and tattier by the day.”
Work has included essential repairs to the external facade and structure including full redecoration plus re-rendering to a significant area.
Timber has been repaired, brickwork and stonework repointed at high levels, and new drainage infrastructure installed. The work also included replacement of slate and flat roof areas.
The hotel, which was granted listed status in 1974, stands on the site of the Forshaw’s Hotel, one of four of the oldest inns in Blackpool dating from the 1780s.
According to English Heritage the original Forshaw’s was a Georgian building.
When the Clifton Arms Hotel was built around 1865, it was entered through the original Forshaw’s building from the seafront.
The Georgian Forshaw’s block on the western side of the building was demolished and rebuilt by the following summer in an Italianate style by 1876.
Features include decorated arched windows and a Tuscan porch.
The hotel’s more recent history includes being taken over by Yorkshire-based Brook Leisure in 2008, which invested around £9m in the property.
The property was operated as a Travelodge until 2013 when it became an Ibis Styles as part of a franchise agreement.
Ground floor premises, which previously housed Che Bar and CoCo Club have remained empty for many years.
Items left behind by guests at Travelodge hotels include a suitcase full of Blackpool rock
Other bizarre items which guests forgot to take home with them included a drone, six-foot feathered angel wings, an ancient coin collection and a Jimmy Choo Cinderella shoe.
Staff at Travelodge’s 582 hotels reported a significant increase in holiday items being left behind during the last year.
The suitcase of Blackpool rock was found at the firm’s South Promenade venue in the resort, a dress made out of postcards was left in Bournemouth, while housekeepers at Rhyl Seafront Travelodge in North Wales were pleasantly surprised when they entered room 13 to be greeted by a huge inflatable unicorn pool float sitting on the bed.
The suitcase of Blackpool rock was found at the firm’s South Promenade venue
A Pomsky dog called Beyoncé was left behind at Manchester Central Travelodge.
There was also a growing trend of wedding related items being left behind by brides, grooms and wedding guests, such as an Islamic marriage certificate and a wedding cake piñata.
Shakila Ahmed from Travelodge said: “In 2021, following Freedom Day, we welcomed back millions of customers to our hotels and we saw a significant increase in bookings. This has led to a range of interesting items being left behind by our customers across our UK hotels.
“When it comes to why so many of our customers forget their treasured items, it’s basically due to us all being time poor, juggling multiple tasks and being in a hurry to get from A to B. In the rush, valuable possessions are easily forgotten.”
The body of a man in his 40s was found in a house in Blackpool town centre this week.
A spokesman for the North West Ambulance Service said they had attended ‘an incident’ at the house at 7pm on Tuesday, January 4, when the man’s body was found.
Police were notified and attended the scene at 7.15pm.
The man, who was described locally as a member of Blackpool’s homeless population who was placed in housing during the coronavirus pandemic, is the second person to be found dead at the Astoria Hotel in the past seven months.
In June 2021, the body of a man in his 30s was found at the property.
The decision has been taken in order to keep staff and patients safe at hospitals including Blackpool Victoria
Hospitals in Blackpool and Fylde have banned most visitors amid rising levels of Covid infections as the NHS comes under pressure.
Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust says it has taken the “difficult decision to suspend most visiting until further notice” due to soaring cases of Covid-19, including the Omicron variant.
It explained that the decision has been made to keep all staff and patients safe and to limit the spread of coronavirus.
There are some circumstances where people will be allowed to visit patients for example when they are receiving end of life care or if someone needs a carer to support them for example if they have dementia or a learning disability.
Parents or carers are also still able to visit neonatal units and children’s wards.
In a statement Blackpool Teaching Hospitals said: “Due to rising levels of Coronavirus infections in the community Blackpool Teaching Hospitals has taken the difficult decision to suspend most visiting until further notice.
“This decision was not taken lightly and has been made to keep all staff and patients safe across the Trust and help play an important role in limiting further spread of Covid-19.
“The following exceptions are in place where visiting can continue:
Where a patient is receiving end of life care – up to four visitors will be welcome
Carers supporting someone, for instance with dementia or a learning disability.
“Visiting to maternity and children’s services remain unchanged.”
It added that visitors who are allowed to enter wards will be asked to take a Lateral Flow Test.
The ban comes after the trust, which is responsible for Blackpool Victoria Hospital, Clifton Hospital and Fleetwood Hospital, declared a critical incident.
The critical incident has been declared due to high demand and long waits in emergency departments and urgent care pathways, with The Vic running at full capacity.
There are also high staff sickness absence levels which is also impacting day to day operations.
A breakdown of current visiting rules can be found on the trust’s website, here.
A Grand Hotel guest also complained about the fighting, vomiting of noise of other guests.
A family say they were given no explanation or guidance as they were forced to evacuate a “dirty” Blackpool hotel in the early hours of New Year’s Day.
Sarah Walker and family, along with “hundreds” of other guests, reportedly left the Grand Hotel onto the cold seafront at around 5.25am when a fire alarm rang throughout the building.
Sarah, who described the experience as “awful and unsafe”, said she was separated from her sister during the mayhem that followed as staff reportedly failed to offer any guidance on where to evacuate or what was happening.
Eventually, guests began to return to the Britannia-owned hotel around 20 minutes later as their alarm continued intermittently.
Sarah had travelled to Blackpool for the New Year’s celebrations with her partner, sister and six-year-old nephew and had already been left unimpressed by alleged dirtiness in their £137 a night rooms and the ‘fighting, vomiting and noise’ of other guests.
She told LancsLive: “After very little sleep due to drunken people and arguments on our floor, at 5am we were woken to the sound of the fire alarm. We evacuated the hotel along with everyone else. There was not one staff member to sight, no instruction, no guidance and older people struggling down the stairs.
“We made it outside again not to receive any instruction or guidance. There were people using all kinds of exits possible to get outside. No fire wardens at all.
“We all waited outside and again not one staff member was in sight. After 20, 25 minutes everyone proceeded back into the hotel with the alarm still going off. No one knew what to do. The lifts were all still in use so [there were] huge queues for the lifts and no one to advise whether these should or should not be in use.”
Sarah said no staff were present throughout the “chaotic” ordeal and questioned what fire procedures were in place and how they were followed during the incident.
Hours later, Sarah was told by a hotel employee that the incident was caused by “drunken men running round setting the alarms off”.
A spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service explained that the alarm was triggered automatically, which means firefighters will seek confirmation as to whether there is a genuine emergency or a fault before attending.
That alarm was triggered at 5.23am, shortly after the same thing happened at the Hilton Hotel.
When the fire service called the Hilton to check whether there was a fire, they were told they were not needed but when they tried to contact the Grand, no-one responded and it was decided they did not need to attend.
Around half an hour later, staff from the Hilton again called the fire service to explain the alarm could not be reset.
While it appears likely the same issue affected the Grand Hotel, Britannia did not respond to LancsLive’s request for comment.
Sarah had already been left with a bad first impression of the hotel after arriving to find “stained, dirty carpet, which had clearly not been hoovered as evidenced by excessive hairs”. She said her nephew knelt on the floor and found his new trousers were now covered in hairs and dirt.
She said that the bath was also stained and had red splatter marks and a lamp had rust which transferred when touched.
The experience was made worse during a visit to the hotel bar as they returned to see the new year in.
She explained: “We found somewhere to sit near the bar. The room was ridiculously hot. We spoke to one of the female bar staff, a young lady, who confirmed the air conditioning was broken”
They then asked whether any fans were available but were reportedly told the hotel didn’t have any.
Sarah claimed that other visitors were visibly sweating, while the bar worker agreed the heat was ridiculous. At around 10.30pm, they decided it was “unbearable” and decided to return to their rooms, at which point they saw air conditioning units being brought out.
The experience was only to get worse even before the evacuation.
“Between the hours of 12am and 4am none of us in either room could sleep due to the noise. We of course expected some noise due to New Year’s Eve but not to this level.
“There were people being sick, arguments, fights, shouting, loud sexual noises, we could hear a group of men discussing whether to call an ambulance for their friend and telling him to lie on his side.”
“The room walls are very thin. My sister and I have text messages that we were sending to one another throughout the night from our rooms describing what we could hear.”
After heading downstairs for a breakfast which reportedly involved dirty cutlery and a lipstick-stained glass, their departure was symbolically marked by Sarah’s nephew accidentally ‘walking through broken glass’ in the exit.
Unhappy at the experience, she complained to the hotel and asked for a full refund but was reportedly told that the maximum amount that the shift leader could authorise was 10%. When she followed up with an email after returning home, a manager apologised for her “experience” but insisted all procedures were correctly followed and said no further refund would be given.
LancsLive contacted Britannia for comment but did not receive a response.
The owners took over the hotel just ‘days’ before the start of the pandemic
If there’s one thing that can separate a good Blackpool hotel from a not-so-good one it is Tripadvisor.
As tourists head to the resort to enjoy the seaside or the impressive list of tourist attractions, they are often keen to hear from previous travellers reviews online before booking somewhere to stay.
So what happens when you’re a hotelier that’s taken over a hotel that’s closer to the bottom of TripAdvisor’s Top B&B’s in Blackpool list?
DeLovely Hotel on Lord Street in Blackpool was faced with that exact issue. After taking over the Four In A Bed hotel in 2020, Charlie Norden and his partner found their hotel at #71 of all hotels in Blackpool. Now, they’re in the top 25.
Mr Norden told LancsLive that the pair took over the hotel just ‘days’ before the first lockdown in 2020.
The owners, Charlie and Mark, met six years ago in Sussex and moved to Liverpool in 2019, before heading to Blackpool.
Mr Norden worked in retail and his partner, Mark, was a nurse. They both decided they had ‘had enough’ and asked ‘what can we do?’ before deciding to move to Blackpool and run their own hotel.
“It feels quite whimsical, it feels like it didn’t really happen but it has,” Mr Norden said.
The DeLovely Hotel had been out of use for two years before the pair took it over, with no recent reviews for prospective guests to see before visiting the resort.
“We were worried about whether we could bring it back up to standards, obviously with it being closed. We figured the challenge would be to get people in with it having been closed and we thought that the no-recent review history would put people off,” Mr Norden said.
They ‘pushed’ the advertising on Facebook and did ‘a few mini PR campaigns’ to attract new customers, as well as replacing all the beds, mattresses and TVs. They’ve re-decorated three of the guest rooms and installed a load of new features that are sure to excite tourists.
The DeLovely Hotel hosts a coffee machine, evening meals, a pizza oven and cocktails. It was featured on Four In A Bed in 2012 and was formerly known as the York House Hotel.
Mr Norden explained that they simply made the hotel ‘more luxury’ to attract guests to return to the hotel.
The summer season was ‘great’ for the hotel, Mr Norden explained: “Summer has been great, we’ve been full almost all the time and had really nice guests which we’re really grateful for. Its been great.”
He added that the winter season was also ‘really busy’ and welcomed the ‘quiet’ January for a ‘nice welcome break’.
Mr Norden said: “It’s harder than we thought, we didn’t listen to people when they said it was hard work but we have found out ourselves now.”
Under the couple’s ownership, the DeLovely hotel raced from #71 of 900 Blackpool B&Bs to #22.
One guest, who visited for a new years break, rated the hotel as ‘excellent’.
Kerry M wrote: “Just got home from a one night stay, booked to attend show at Funny Girls which is a 5min walk away. We were made welcome from the minute we stepped inside. There is a lovely, comfortable bar area, selling wide range of drinks inc cocktails.
“Our room was very comfortable and warm, with pristine white bed linen. Met Sammy the housekeeper on arrival too, who was also very friendly. We also met the owners dogs, Scampi and Chips!! The owners themselves were very interested in what we were going to be doing whilst there which was lovely, and told us a little about themselves too.
“The breakfast was cooked to perfection and very enjoyable. We will definitely stay again next time we visit Blackpool and definitely recommend to others. Thankyou to the owners for a nice break. Kerry and Bruce from west midlands.”
A second guest, who visited in May, said it is a ‘beautiful hotel’ with a ‘comfortable room’ and ‘fantastic breakfast’.
Shaz76 wrote: “Charlie and Mark at the Delovely Hotel are the perfect hosts, they are welcoming, friendly and attentive. The bedrooms are beautifully decorated, have pristine white bed linen and everything you could need for your stay including iron and hairdryer.
“Tea and coffee is restocked daily and towels replaced if required. The downstairs room has a dining space and a cosy bar area. Breakfast includes tea and coffee, cereals and fruit and a plentiful full English which is cooked to perfection.
“We have stayed in quite a few hotels in Blackpool, this is one of the best and great value for money. Well done Charlie and Mark keep up the good work!”
The DeLovely Hotel is Stayblackpool accredited and their room prices vary depending on which type you require.
It is £45 for a single room, £60 for a double, £70 for a king and £90 for a triple room for three people.
Mr Norden said guests can ‘expect to be treated like family and have a comfortable stay’.
The seaside town is expecting train and busloads of Scots fleeing hardline rules on Hogmanay parties
Blackpool pubs and hotels are anticipating a wave of Scots guests for New Year’s Eve celebrations.
The seaside town is expecting busloads of Glaswegians fleeing hardline rules on Hogmanay parties.
When the first lockdown lifted, Blackpool was a popular destination for people looking to enjoy themselves with less severe Covid-19 restrictions.
The Sutcliffe Hotel, also in Blackpool, is expecting around 35 Scots to visit.
Owner Michael Topping, 61, said: “We’re focused on trying to make it as covid safe as possible.
“We have had a few cancellations but we’ve got 35 coming in from Scotland.
“They’re getting the bus down.
“Most of them are aged 30 upwards, the majority are in their 50s.
“Most of them have been before.”
The Ruskin Hotel in Blackpool said several Glaswegians had booked for New Year.
A worker, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “We’ve got a few Glaswegians coming in but not a massive amount.”
Kelly Humphries, 50, landlady of the Mitre pub in Blackpool, said the town saw an influx of Scots seeking to escape tougher restrictions at the end of the first lockdown – and she thought the same may happen at New Year’s Eve.
Kelly said: “We will probably see that on New Year’s Eve.
“It’s hard for us to say because we don’t do bookings.
“There could be some last minute, at the end of the first lockdown there were a few people who traveled down from Scotland because the restrictions weren’t as bad as there.
Guests said their food over the three night stay was ‘lukewarm’
Guests who stayed at Blackpool’s Grand Hotel over the weekend said they had the ‘worst Christmas ever’.
Christmas can be a stressful period for many, and as Blackpool is lit up, it would seem the perfect place to sit back and relax over the festive holiday.
The Grand Hotel in Blackpool, owned by Britannia, offered two packages for the Christmas period. One package was priced at £320 per person for four nights of accommodation with breakfast and dinner, as well as lunch on Christmas Day and entertainment every evening.
The second was the ‘Blackpool Twixmas Breaks’ package, which offered three nights’ accommodation, dinner and breakfast, as well as daily evening entertainment where available. Offering food, drink and entertainment for £165 per person.
The hotel, which is rated at 3.5 bubbles out of five on TripAdvisor, has a range of reviews, with 1,400 excellent, 1,531 very good and 797 terrible. It is the most highly rated of the four Britannia Hotels in Blackpool – with the Norbreck Castle gaining only two and the Savoy with 2.5. The Metropole Hotel has been temporarily taken off TripAdvisor as it is currently housing asylum seekers and not open to guests.
One guest who said they bought the Grand Hotel’s three-night Christmas package claimed to have had a terrible stay over Christmas at the seafront hotel.
On Tripadvisor, user Christopher A, left a three-star review on December 28, rating the hotel as ‘average’ but titling it as the ‘Worst Christmas ever’.
He wrote: “We arrived Christmas Eve for a 3 night Christmas package. We were first given a room on the 7th floor which was not suitable for my partner who is disabled, so they moved us to the 2nd floor.
“The room was adequate, however, the bathroom tidy was very grubby and the actual wet room needed a good scrubbing.”
Christopher then described his package-inclusive meals which were served on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – as well as the entertainment.
He said: “Christmas Eve night the meal was lukewarm and the loin of pork was dry. Christmas day was not much better..
“The entertainment was very hit and miss…We must not forget the quiz that seemed to go on for hours. It was like being in a rest home, nearly all went to bed after The Queen.
“Overall we will not recommend this hotel and will definitely not be staying for Christmas again.”
Another guest, who left a review on December 24, described their stay as a ‘nightmare from hell’.
They said: “Right, where do I begin. We drove 6 hours to Blackpool to check in at the grand hotel, we had 3 rooms booked for our family stay.
“We arrived at the hotel where we was greater (sic) by someone very tired and had very lack of interest in helping us.
“Anyways we now get our keys to out rooms and go to our rooms. Only to find more dust in the rooms than I actually have seen at a council tip, there was plastic over the smoke alarms in 1 room, there was a fag but under my children’s bed along with a used screen protector and stickers from items of clothes, there was fag burns in the window ledge and still stains on the toilet where someone had been for anumber 2. It looked like someone wiped there fecies up the wall.”
The guest said that they had previously enquired about Christmas dinner but that it was fully booked.
According to them, they were refunded for their entire stay bar the one night they chose to stay.
The Grand Hotel is owned by Britannia group, who also own the Norbreck Castle Hotel and The Grand Metropole Hotel.
Britannia did not reply to our request for comment.
The Grand Hotel was formerly the Blackpool Hilton Hotel and is found on North Promenade Seafront.
According to the Britannia Hotels website it is “perfect for a family holiday to the seaside or a weekend break for couples and offers beautiful views and easy access to popular local attractions such as Blackpool Pleasure Beach”.
It has a health club, fitness centre, pool, sauna, on-site restaurant, and can be hired as a meeting venue for up to 800 people, while you can even get married there.
The top two floors were refurbished in January 2016.
Inspectors returned to the Blackpool hotel after a damning one star rating
Hygiene inspectors gave the Metropole Hotel the highest possible rating after visiting last month.
Bosses at the Britannia-owned hotel were ordered to make major improvements an inspection in August found dirt in fridges and freezers and on equipment, floors, walls and doors.
That inspection took place in August, weeks before the hotel began housing asylum seekers in a Home Office scheme, and resulted in a one star rating.
A report from that visit highlighted a failure to ensure the food preparation and service areas were kept clean; a lack of allergen information and various health and safety concerns.
While Britannia declined to publicly comment on the report, the Home Office said that its contractor Serco had confirmed that kitchens in the hotel had received significant improvements which received high scores on an internal audit by Britannia.
Inspectors from Blackpool Council returned to the hotel on Princess Parade on November 4 and were impressed by the improvements made.
Its findings were split into three categories, with ‘hygienic food handling’ – relating to food prep, cooking, reheating, cooling and storage – rated as very good.
‘Cleanliness and condition of facilities and building’ and ‘management of food safety’ were both rated as good, giving an overall rating of five.
Six fire engines were sent to tackle the blaze at the Park House Hotel
The manager of a Blackpool hotel said it had a “lucky escape” when a fire broke out in an outbuilding.
The main building of the Park House Hotel avoided significant damage despite the laundry building being largely destroyed by a blaze on Wednesday evening (December 22).
Six fire engines were sent to the hotel on Promenade at around 6pm with road closures put in place as crews dealt with the incident.
Speaking to LancsLive, general manager Jake Taylor said that no guests were inside the hotel at the time and that its operations would continue as normal.
Large numbers of guests are arriving today (December 23) for Christmas breaks and its live entertainment acts are all due to continue as planned.
Mr Taylor said: “It’s fine, it was a laundry room at the back. The hotel itself is fine.
“We didn’t have any guests in last night. They’re due to arrive today for Christmas.”
Mr Taylor said the cause of the fire was not yet known but firefighters had suggested that an electrical fault looked the most likely reason.
He added: “We’ve had a lucky escape really.”
A spokesperson for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said: “Six fire engines from Blackpool, South Shore, Bispham and St Anne’s attended a fire in an unused hotel on the promenade in Blackpool.
“The fire involved a laundry on the ground floor at the rear of the building. Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used four hose reels, two jets and a thermal imaging camera to extinguish the fire.”
Another national lockdown could have a “huge impact on staff, mentally and financially” if a furlough scheme is not introduced at the same time
Hundreds of families in Lancashire are preparing to spend Christmas and New Year away from home in hotels, bed and breakfasts and guest houses.
But with rising cases of the Omicron covid-19 variant and fears that another national lockdown is imminent, guests are facing an anxious wait.
Hotels are also apprehensive that if a lockdown is announced that sufficient government support for staff, such as the return of the furlough scheme, will be put in place to compensate for loss of wages over one of the busiest periods of the year.
Earlier this month, the Government announced Covid Plan B measures, including a recommendation to work from home, which largely concerns hospitality and tourism businesses and they saw an instant impact on footfall and big group booking cancellations.
Two weeks ago the family-run 108-room Hotel Sheraton in Blackpool was fully booked over Christmas and New Year and has since seen 8% of cancellations, which proprietor Liz Brown says is “nothing drastic” but she concedes that a lockdown would have a “huge impact on staff, mentally and financially”.
She is also wary of disappointing guests who have already fully paid, booked travel and some who are lonely, live alone and desperate to “come and be looked after and fed well.”
“We are concerned that there will be no support for staff if the furlough scheme is not brought back,” Liz told LancsLive.
“I respect the [Government] decisions if we have to close because of the safety of our guests, but they have to financially support us because we are open all year apart from two weeks in January – some of our staff would have to go on Universal Credit to survive.
“We have some reserves but we can’t afford to pay staff if they don’t work.”
Liz, whose family also runs 89-room The Elgin which is a couple of doors away on the Queen’s Promenade, is keen to stress that their “immaculate” hotels follows strict covid cleaning guidelines, conducting temperature checks on arrival and lateral flow tests are also available.
The hotels have seen “busy numbers” since emerging from lockdown in May, with bookings also high for February and March 2022, due to people “desperate to get away” but more reluctant to travel abroad.
Guests, who are predominantly older people, stay up to 10 days over the festive period and many are regulars who visit every year.
Liz says they are generally “stoic and determined” to press ahead with their winter break, especially if they have been “triple jabbed”.
“Guests don’t mind wearing a mask or having to sit further apart and not being able to dance, they adapt and get on with it” added Liz, whose parents John and Irene bought The Elgin in the 1960s and then the family acquired The Sheraton in 2015.
“They just want to come, play bingo and quizzes, stay safe inside the hotel and be looked after”
“We’re prepared and already have made some big orders, to cover Christmas and the Bank Holidays.
“It’s quite unfair for the government to keep everyone waiting, we just want to know either way and they should have enough scientific forecasting last week to make a decisions on whether hospitality can stay open or not. ”
He said he planned to offer the guest a complimentary stay, but won’t be after they left a one-star review
Bradburys of Blackpool
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A top Blackpool hotel owner has shared a brilliant response to a guest who claimed his staff had ‘no compassion what so ever’ after they had to head home following a ‘family emergency’.
Bradburys of Blackpool on Havelock Street is rated 5-stars on Tripadvisor. Of its 257 reviews left by previous guests, 243 of them rate the accommodation as ‘Excellent’.
On their website, the accommodation is said to offer ‘premier’ rooms just a five minute walk from the Blackpool Tower.
All rooms include a complimentary breakfast, en-suite bathrooms with rainfall showers, free wifi, central heating, flat screen TVs and tea and coffee.
One guest who stayed at Bradburys in November said it was their third visit and it was ‘still amazing’.
The user, Robin, wrote: “I have now visited Bradburys for afternoon tea three times and I just can’t get enough of the place. So great is my satisfaction that I have referred several friends and the afternoon tea experience is becoming legendary.”
Robin added: “The proprietors are always on hand and the building is very secure. The presentation of the dining room is to a very high standard and, judging by the number of “thank you” cards around the room, an awful lot of people feel the same way about Bradburys as I do.
“The fayre is consistently plentiful and consists of a variety of delicious sandwiches and pies, accompanied by coleslaw and garnish. This is followed by a multitude of cakes, always accompanied by a couple of strawberries. Tea (or coffee) is plentiful and freshly made and the owners always serve up hot chocolate for me as that is my preference. A second mug of hot chocolate is always offered.”
Robin said they were ‘so glad’ they had discovered ‘this treasure trove of a venue’ and added: “It stands head and shoulders above any other venue for afternoon tea that I have sampled anywhere in the world, and I am very well travelled and do not give that accolade lightly.”
A second guest visited Bradburys in December and said they had a ‘wonderful’ stay.
Christina wrote: “We have arrived home tonight after a 2 night stay. From arriving we were welcomed with a hot drink and mince pies. Our room was warm clean and very comfortable bed. It had a lovely shower room and tea making facilities with quality biscuits.
“The food was excellent and plenty of it. The staff were friendly and made us very welcome. We will definitely be visiting again. Good Value for money.”
The standard rate of rooms at Bradburys varies depending on which one you choose. A double room is priced at £70 per night, a triple room is £85, and a family room with one double bed and one set of bunk beds is priced at £95.
Bradburys have only two reviews which rate the accommodation as below ‘Very Good’.
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One guest rated the hotel one-star and said the staff had ‘no compassion what so ever’ after they had to turnaround and go home following a family emergency.
Donna intended to stay at the hotel earlier this month, but wrote that only three hours into their five hour journey, they had to turnaround and go home.
Donna wrote: “Drove 3 hours of a 5 hour journey to have a break away for 1 night with my family but sadly had an emergency to go home, NOT AN OUNCE OF COMPASSION, NEVER BOOKING AGAIN, hope you enjoy my hard earned cash, we did not just change our mind, this was unforeseen, very sad.”
Two days later, General Manager Matthew Cliff, shared a brilliant response in defence of Bradburys.
A double room in Bradburys of Blackpool(Image: Bradburys of Blackpool)
Mr Cliff said: “The only information booking.com provided me with is that you wanted to cancel. At 3pm on the day of arrival I declined free cancellation as your previous email stated I am not running a charity . Please take your grievance out on them for not providing me with the reason you wish to cancel rather than slating a business you know nothing about or have not even visited.
“I was going to contact you to offer you a complimentary stay once your ‘FAMILY EMERGENCY’ was dealt with however I won’t be doing so now and I am delighted that you won’t be booking again.”
Mr Cliff added that he is ‘no thief’ and ‘will refund’ the ‘hard earned cash’.
He said: “I have no details for your booking so I suggest you contact my hotel and we will arrange for your HARD EARNED CASH to be returned to you. I would also suggest reading booking.com terms and conditions in future. I also trust your FAMILY EMERGENCY had now been resolved as you’ve found the time to be writing emails and reviews and contacting booking.com
“I wouldn’t choose a 10 hour round trip drive either In future for an overnight stay. Best wishes.”
Mr Cliff told LancsLive that he is in the process of having the review removed from Bradburys Tripadvisor page as the guest hadn’t ‘actually used the hotel at all’.
He added: “It saddens me greatly that people use online review sites as a way of trying to damage a business. Had I have refunded her would she have left a 5 star review? No of course not.”
Breakfast is also included for all guests who stay at Bradburys of Blackpool, they also serve Afternoon Tea and home cooked evening meals upon request which are priced at £14.95 per person for two courses or £15.95 per person for three courses.
We stayed for a night at the Blackpool FC Hotel to see if it’s a place worth cheering about
Themed hotels can really go for it these days.
Built underwater with mermaids and exotic swimming by your room; set in the middle of a safari park with a giraffe popping its head in as your morning alarm, you know the kind.
In Lancashire, Championship side Blackpool Football Club have gone with the more obvious with their hotel – the team’s orange colours are everywhere and a bar and restaurant called The Corner Flag, to name two examples.
But it’s also not tacky or too much to alienate non-Seasiders and football guests staying at the hotel – which is located inside the team’s stadium – with the entrance next to the club supporters’ shop.
So not all-out themed extravagance but not underplayed, either.
I never thought I’d say the grow lights on a football pitch at night would offer up a soothing, almost romantic glow into my hotel room. But here we are.
The golden light hit us as soon as we stepped into our executive room (£94 room rate and £20 to upgrade to pitch view).
The room is dominated by the frankly ginormous bed, which reminded me of that meme of a California King bed with two humans and a practical zoo of pets sleeping perfectly comfortably in it.
We slept well and peacefully and didn’t hear a peep from any other guest or get disturbed by outside noise.
Floor-to-ceiling sliding patio doors span the far wall, giving you a panoramic view of the Bloomfield Road pitch, complete with the Blackpool Tower peeping out over the top of the North Stand.
Disappointingly but understandably, the door is locked as it leads straight out into the stands – a prime view for match days, though.
The room felt relatively scarce, apart from the arty photo print hanging on on the Cadbury-purple walls, with the TV boxed in an ugly thick-set wood frame, matching the bed’s headboard.
The bathroom was basic but sparkling clean, with a shower over the bath, which was powerful and hot and easy to use. The complimentary toiletries consisted of an all-in-one bath and shower wash and shampoo dispenser, which is always a disappointment, even for someone who always buys the body wash on offer in Bodycare.
We were happy to be able to control the temperature in the room ourselves, meaning, unlike the restaurant and bar area which felt like we had stepped out in the Sahara desert for breakfast, we did not melt like The Snowman in the night.
Why are hotels so warm? I’ve found this to be a more common that not occurrence in every one I have stayed in. I must have missed the signing of the worldwide ‘hotels must be hotter than a bonfire’ treaty.
Talking of breakfast, it had your standard cooked options, bacon, sausages, tomatoes and mushrooms and eggs (runny scrambled and decent fried) along with plenty of continental options, cereal and fruit.
Not forgetting the dreaded treadmill toaster of doom, which either leaves your bread as slightly less bread-like or cremated. But I am pleased to report this one gave us a pretty even toast ratio, which may be down to the stern printed note attached to it which said “do not put your toast through twice as it WILL burn”. You ‘erd.
We didn’t eat our evening meal in the hotel, but glancing at the menu it offers traditional, predictable pub grub such as burgers, steaks, sandwiches and pies.
The staff were cheery, efficient and chatty, especially the barman on duty in the evening, who suggested we check out the view on the terrace, which was a great spot to enjoy a glass of fizz, overlooking the pitch.
Everything was clean and well kempt and we enjoyed the splashes of grandeur with the huge chandelier on the stairway.
Any Tangerines fan will undoubtedly appreciate the little touches of the club’s history interspersed around the hotel, such as the original orange turnstiles.
I can imagine the opportunity to sleep so close to the pitch, a hallowed surface for any dedicated football fan, is mighty tempting and although I’m not a Blackpool supporter, I certainly appreciate the sentiment.
She feels ‘ignored’ after requesting further information about a refund
A guest at the Norbreck Castle Hotel has said the “scruffy” hotel caused a nightmare stay for her and her autistic daughter.
Stephanie Hughes, from Newcastle, stayed at the Norbreck Castle Hotel in Blackpool last month with her daughter.
They had travelled up to the resort so that her daughter could take part in a dance competition at the Tower Ballroom.
Previously, Stephanie had stayed in a nearby B&B, but felt the Norbreck would be a “safe bet” considering the amount of parking it had and its accessibility to the main piers visited by so many heading to the resort.
Previously, the Norbreck has been criticised by guests for various reasons including one couple saying it should be ‘condemned’ after their stay found dead flies and hair in the bath.
Stephanie paid £112 for a family room at the hotel on Friday, November 5.
Upon arrival, she said that due to the bad weather they decided to check-in as soon as possible, but the queue to check-in was both “ridiculous” and “took ages”. The long queues caused Stephanie’s daughter, who has autism and additional needs, to become “agitated”.
On their way to their room, they found that the corridor floors were “lined with towels” which left Stephanie bemused.
Stephanie said: “They weren’t dirty towels, it was like they were using the corridors for linen storage.”
On their room, Stephanie said it was “freezing”.
“We noticed there was a crack in the window where it couldn’t close properly,” she said. “There was what looked like blood splatter on the dressing table and the room was just scruffy, it looked like it hadn’t been cleaned at all, down the pipes and behind the bed.”
Stephanie went to reception to request something be done about the room.
They had hoped to take part in the bingo which was advertised as the entertainment for the night, something that her daughter was especially looking forward to. But, after going down to take part, it didn’t “come on” as the Norbreck had planned.
Stephanie said her daughter, who has autism and ADHD, then became very “agitated” due to the change in routine. When they returned to their room, she found the windows had been taped up and a “small” electric heater moved in to the room.
Hoping to calm her daughter down ahead of the dance competition the next day, they then found that the TV in the room didn’t work either.
“I don’t know where to start,” Stephanie told LancsLive, “it was just horrific. I can’t believe what we’d paid.”
Stephanie works in customer complaints and went to the hotel in hopes she would receive a refund. She said she did receive an email response and was offered a discounted stay at a Britannia Hotel with “an upgrade and bottle of house wine” – two things she didn’t want.
Stephanie added: “Do you really think I want to stay here again?”
“There was nothing from them on the escalation process, internal or external, even 50% of my money back would do, but they said no refunds could be given after check out,” Stephanie said.
“I didn’t have time, my daughter was tired, everyone was rushing, we needed to get down to Blackpool Tower in horrific weather, I didn’t have time to raise it there and then. This clearly was not a one night thing, they’ve got a huge hotel with massive potential and its clearly not getting the due care and attention it needs,” Stephanie said.
Stephanie said she couldn’t understand “how” the hotel was “ignoring” the ongoing complaints raised by guests.
They even slept with towels over the bed and Stephanie insisted her daughter didn’t “play” on the floor which she found earrings in, again leading her to believe the hotel hadn’t been cleaned.
The Norbreck Castle Hotel is managed by Britannia Hotels.
They were contacted for comment but did not respond prior to publication.