Mayor calls for new buyers to be found after Exmouth hotels close

PUBLISHED: 11:33 26 May 2020

The Grand Hotel and the Imperial Hotel have both closed due to the collapse of operator Specialist Leisure Group. Picture: Google

The Grand Hotel and the Imperial Hotel have both closed due to the collapse of operator Specialist Leisure Group. Picture: Google


Following the closure of two major Exmouth seafront hotels, the town’s mayor has called for new buyers to be found as soon as possible.

The company operating the Grand Bay Hotel and the Imperial Hotel – Specialist Leisure Group (SLG) – ceased trading on Friday (May 22) due to the impact of coronavirus.

Administrators Sam Woodward and Colin Dempster of EY have been appointed.

Some 65 staff across both hotels – many of which had been furloughed during the Covid-19 pandemic – have now been made redundant as a result.

READ MORE: Exmouth hotels close and holidays are cancelled as travel group collapses

Town mayor Steve Gazzard told the Journal the closure of the hotels came as a ‘bolt out of the blue’ and is a ‘blow’ to Exmouth’s tourism industry.

He said: “It’s desperately sad news that we have lost these two major hotels and I am really saddened for those who have lost their jobs.

“I really do hope that the administrators will be able to find someone who can get these hotels back up and running again and offer those people their jobs back.

“We desperately need these hotels back in business.

“They bring a lot of trade into the town so it will have a knock-on effect.”

The collapse of SLG means 32 staff from the Grand Bay Hotel and 33 from the Imperial Hotel are now out of work.

Exmouth Chamber of Commerce chairman Ian Macqueen raised concerns that, with the hotel industry closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, there is nowhere for these workers to be redeployed.

He added: “There will presumably be a loss to any local suppliers to these hotels going forward.

“Unfortunately, this is the beginning of a number of business failures nationally which are being announced almost on a daily basis.

“Despite the very timely and impressive financial help that the government has deployed, if a business is highly geared with large borrowings/cost base, it will be least able to weather this unprecedented period of zero income for many.”

SLG also runs coach tour companies Shearings and National Holidays which bring holidaymakers to the town.

All tours, cruises and hotel breaks run by the companies owned by SLG have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled.

Visit the company’s website for full information on possible refunds.

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