Scarborough Council and MP meet with Grand Hotel bosses to discuss guest complaints

A Scarborough Council representative and Robert Goodwill MP have given an update on a meeting held with The Grand Hotel bosses.

The Grand Hotel. (Richard Ponter)
The Grand Hotel. (Richard Ponter)

The council requested an urgent meeting with the hotel's owners following several complaints about its condition over the summer.

The Grand, on St Nicholas Cliff, became the subject of negative attention in summer as guests reported being disappointed by long queues to check in and poor cleanliness.

On Thursday September 30, Mike Green, chief executive at Scarborough Borough Council and Robert Goodwill, MP for Scarborough and Whitby, met with the regional director of Britannia Hotels Ltd Simon Powell.

The trio discussed the recent problems and how they are being tackled, and worked to see what support the council could offer.

Mr Greene said: “We had a positive and constructive discussion.

“I was able to raise some of the concerns we have and how we felt that the Grand Hotel is an iconic feature of Scarborough and integral to our reputation and success as a visitor destination.

“It was also the opportunity to explain our blueprint for the town and the transformational plans we have."

He added that Mr Powell had explained that the hotel had faced some operational issues this summer and recruitment of staff had been a significant challenge.

Mr Greene continued: “However, I am assured plans are in place to address this.

“Simon also outlined the group’s investment proposals for the hotel and explained some of the improvements that have already taken place.

“We have agreed to work together to look at some of the issues the hotel needs to deal with. This includes the nuisance caused by gull mess during the nesting season."

Mr Goodwill, who himself had been contacted by guests complaining about the hotel, described the meeting as 'encouraging' but said 'let's see if their actions follow their words'.

The town's MP said: "There is no excuse for a two hour check-in queue and there is no excuse for rooms that aren't clean.

"After the meeting we went for a walk around the ground floor of the hotel and I was pleasantly surprised by what they had done in lockdown with the decorating and there was acres of new carpet."

Mr Goodwill added that two points of action had been identified with the council including seagull mess on the exterior of the building, and the large number of bins in front of the hotel.

He said: "If Scarborough is going to continue as Britain's premier resort we need to make sure we're not selling people short."

A follow-up operational meeting will take place between the council and Britannia Hotels so teams from each organisation can look at what joint actions might be possible.

In June, tourism body VisitEngland launched a UK-wide industry standard and consumer mark to provide a ‘ring of confidence’ for tourism as the sector worked towards reopening as it came out of lockdown.

The 'We're Good to Go' scheme meant that businesses demonstrated they were clean, were adhering to Government and public health guidance, and had carried out a Covid-19 risk assessment.

The Scarborough News can reveal that the Grand has since fallen foul of the required standard and has been officially removed from the industry-recognised scheme.

A VisitEngland spokesperson said: "The issues that were brought to our attention during summer regarding compliance with Government guidance and cleanliness gave us reason to serve notice on the Britannia Hotel Group.

"It has not engaged with VisitEngland to discuss the complaints raised so therefore its involvement in the We’re Good to Go scheme has been terminated."