Hotels vow to fight on

“It's business as usual” - that was the message today from two major hotels in the region as their owner faces serious financial problems.

FELIXSTOWE and COPDOCK: “It's business as usual” - that was the message today from two major hotels in the region as their owner faces serious financial problems.

While a huge chunk of property tycoon Richard Cattermole's business empire has been placed in administration, his flagship venue, the Hotel Elizabeth Orwell, is operating normally.

General manager at the hotel, Bartholomew Bisbal , stressed that the popular venue was unaffected by recent troubles and is open, taking bookings, serving meals and staging events, and planning for next year.

The Hotel Elizabeth in Copdock has, however, been taken into administration, but controllers KPMG echoed Mr Bisbal's message.

A spokeswoman said: “We are continuing to trade as normal. We haven't made anyone redundant and we have had a healthy interest from potential buyers.

“If a sale goes though swiftly there shouldn't be any, but that may depend on the buyer.”

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Mr Bisbal said all staff jobs at the Hotel Elizabeth Orwell in Hamilton Road were safe but expressed sorrow for colleagues facing uncertainty in other parts of the business, Elizabeth Hotels Ltd, Cavendish Hotels Ltd and Elizabeth Estates (BS) Ltd, which employ 462 people.

“I have been manager at a couple of the other hotels and so have a lot of friends in those places and we all have the greatest regret over the situation and the effect on our colleagues,” he said.

“We have to carry on though and the Hotel Elizabeth Orwell is open as usual. The Elizabeth Orwell is a big part of the community in Felixstowe and will continue to be so.”

Arties Mill, Brigg, Phoenix Hotel, Dereham, and the Star Hotel, Great Yarmouth, are also continuing to trade in other companies within Mr Cattermole's Ryan Elizabeth Holdings group, which is not itself in administration.

Administrators from accountants KPMG are now running 14 other hotels and 13 leased pubs affected by the problems while they seek buyers.

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IN the first deal since administrator KPMG's appointment last week, the Elizabeth Hotel at North Ferriby, near Hull, was sold yesterday to Hallmark Hotels for an asking price of �1.75million, although the actual value of the deal was not disclosed.

The hotel has spectacular views towards the Humber bridge and new owners plans to reposition it as a four star operation, with a total investment of up to �3million.

A spokesman for KPMG said there had also been “some good levels of interest” in the East Anglian hotels as well.