New owners reveal big plans for hotel

New owners Pinky and Roger Brooks, left, with staff members Emma Wood and Len Foster'Picture by Neil Silk  125134a
New owners Pinky and Roger Brooks, left, with staff members Emma Wood and Len Foster'Picture by Neil Silk 125134a

The new year brings new hope for a Scarborough hotel with plans for development under new ownership.

Staff at the Hackness Grange Hotel have endured turbulent times after the business went into administration through its parent company English Rose Hotels plc in August last year.

Hackness Grange Hotel

Hackness Grange Hotel

Now five months after Hong Kong couple Roger and Pinky Brooks bought the hotel off the administrators, plans are being laid out to return the country house hotel back to its former glory.

Mr Brook had fallen in love with the Grade II listed hotel more than two years ago, and after an offer to buy the property was turned down by its previous owners the Turner family, he was delighted to pay less than half the price originally offered to take it out of administration.

Since taking over in July the pair have landscaped the gardens and refurbished 60 per cent of the 31 bedrooms.

But it’s not just cosmetic changes on the cards, as plans have already been submitted to Scarborough Council for some major alterations.

Mr and Mrs Brooks plan to take out the hotel’s swimming pool and replace it with a funcation room, allowing the business to cater for weddings and functions of up to 120 people.

Mrs Brooks said: “We closed the swimming pool in September because not a lot of customers used it and it costs just short of £1,300 a week to heat it.

“We will turn that into a function room, which will mean we can be more flexible with events and weddings.

“That is the big plan for us. Hopefully next year, subject to planning permission, we can start work in February March time.”

New ownership has brought more stable prospects for the near 20 staff employed at the hotel. General manager Len Foster, who has worked at the Hackness Grange for five years said: “We are going in the right direction. I am very supportive of the plans for the hotel, it will be the making of the place.

“It’s never easy when you are in administration. The whole thing came as a shock when it happened but it was expected to happen at some point.

“It’s good for the staff to have security now. They are all looking forward to the challenge of weddings and functions.”

The pair are new to the hospitality industry with Mr Brooks previously enjoying a career in the Royal Hong Kong Police Force before entering the manufacturing industry in China, where he met Mrs Brooks.

As a result they have enlisted the help of the Yorkshire Coast Business Gateway, based at Yorkshire Coast College, where they have received help with a Health and Safety review, using social media for business, promotional and marketing opportunities, and looking at apprenticeship opportunities.

The hotel was originally part of the Derwent Estate. It was built for one of their relations in 1822 and later used as a dower house.

The Hackness Grange went into administration alongside the Wrea Head Hotel, in Scalby, at the end of August last year.

The move came just days after administrators were called in to takeover The Royal Hotel and the Clifton Hotel following the collapse of English Rose Hotels Scarborough.

In March this year Britannia Hotels, which owns The Grand in Scarborough, bought The Royal and The Clifton hotels, while private business partners stepped forward to buy the Wrea Head in the same month.

All three deals saw all jobs transferred to the new owners. All hotels remained open and trading throughout, while administrators looked for buyers for the businesses.