Hotels suffer hundreds of thousands of pounds in lost business due to bad weather

02 January 2014 by
Hotels suffer hundreds of thousands of pounds in lost business due to bad weather

Hoteliers and restaurateurs are counting the costs of hundreds of thousands of pounds of lost business over the festive period due to the storms and flood, as further "exceptional weather" has been forecast to hit southern and western England in the coming days.

The four-star, 57-bedroom Mercure Boxhill Burford Bridge hotel, near Dorking, Surrey, was forced to close on Christmas Eve after 27 guests and nine members of staff were rescued by boat after the nearby River Mole burst its banks.

Water has caused damaged throughout the hotel's ground floor and cellars. Today, the hotel remains closed ten days after the flood, with the an ongoing threat to the property being caused by the River Mole, which has once again has burst its banks following torrential rain on New Year's Day.

A spokesperson for Accor, the French hotel group which operates the hotel owned by Moorfield Real Estate Funds, said: "We apologise for any inconvenience caused and will return to business as usual as soon as possible, but regrettably we have had to close the hotel in the meantime.

"For those who need alternative accommodation please call the hotline on 020 76600684 and we will endeavour to accommodate guests at another hotel. In addition, all those who have made bookings in the restaurant or the hotel, will be compensated."

Surrey was particularly badly hit by the Christmas Eve storms which left many properties without electricity. The 10-bedroom Swan Inn in Chiddingfold, which had been full throughout the festive period lost four nights of bedroom business after losing power at 2pm on 23 December for nearly 48-hours.

Annemaria Boomer-Davies, who owns the hotel and restaurant with her husband Stuart, said that an emergency generator allowed the business to continue to serve food for Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day lunch. "The generator powered the extractor and gas stoves, but we had no kettles, fridges or any other electric equipment, and the restaurant was lit by candlelight," she explained.

"It was very hard, but we got through it."

Meanwhile, Simon Drake, general manager of the four-star, 45-bedroom Lythe Hill Hotel & Spa in nearby Haslemere, described the spirit as "very good" despite the loss of power for more than 24 hours between 23 and 24 December.

"Many guests described it as one of their most memorable Christmases and I received more compliment letters than I've ever received for a Christmas period," he said.

A generator restored power to 26 of the hotel's bedrooms in the main building, while the rest of the bedrooms in the garden suites and cottage - along with the spa, swimming pool and accommodation for 22 staff - were left without electricity. However, the generator failed after seven hours when it ran out of diesel.

Above: General manager Simon Drake and head chef David Quinn

Further problems were created on Christmas Day once power had been restored, when a massive air lock caused by the shutdown in electricity resulted in a loss of water between 3pm and midnight.

"We had no toilets or showers during this time and had to flush toilets with Evian and San Pellegrino water," explained Drake.

The hotel also suffered a loss of nearly 20 trees across the 30-acre grounds, with a fir tree crushing Drake's own car, a Fiat 500.

"The concern we have now is that if we experience heavy snow falls in February or March, more trees will come down because the ground is so saturated that the roots of many trees will now be loosened," said Drake. "We have also got to look at spending £4,000 on a second generator."

Further afield in Bath, the 35-bedroom Old Mill hotel has flooded for the second time today after the River Avon once again burst its banks.

The hotel was forced to cancel 50 customers booked for Christmas lunch after the property first flooded on Christmas Eve.

However, a spokesperson said that the hotel remains fully open and operational.

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