The Grosvenor hotel in Torquay - the property which highlighted the eccentric behaviour of its boss in the Channel 4 fly-on-the-wall series The Hotel - has been sold to South-west-based company Richardson Hotels.
Former owner Mark Jenkins was seen on the programme to be struggling with the 46-bedroom hotel, which was put on the market for what the property agents Bettesworth described as the "very realistic price" of between £750,000 and £1m for "a quick sale". Jenkins is to be retained as a host at the hotel as the new owners want to capitalise on his television fame.
The sale of the Grosvenor followed the collapse into administration of Riviera Hotels, which operated Jenkins's two nearby sister hotels, the 54-bedroom Inglewood and the 64-bedroom Kistor, which are currently being operated by Legacy Hotels & Resorts with a view to being sold.
Keith Richardson (pictured), chairman of Richardson Hotels, said he was attracted to the Victorian hotel by its architecture, large rooms and location close to the sea front.
"I shall be investing in a refurbishment programme and ensuring it offers the same level of service as my other hotels," he said. "My current aim is to bring it up to a good three-star standard, offering comfortable accommodation and food featuring all the excellent local produce that we have right on our doorstep. It will be a mini Grand Hotel - a smaller version of my flagship hotel in Torquay."
Regarding the retention of Jenkins, who raised the wrath of Torquay hoteliers for his "unprofessional" behaviour, Richardson explained that The Hotel was seen by millions of viewers and that a large percentage of the hotel guests want to meet the former owner. "It made sense for Mark to have a role with me so that people could still see and chat to him."
Channel 4 has filmed a follow-up series to the initial programmes about the Grosvenor, which is due to be aired in January 2013, and will feature the sale of the hotel to Keith Richardson.
Alongside the Grosvenor, Richardson Hotels owns four properties - the Grand hotel in Torquay, Fowey hotel in Fowey, the Metropole hotel in Padstow and the Falmouth Hotel in Falmouth. All have four stars except the three-star Falmouth hotel.
By Janet Harmer
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