Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Christmas in Eastbourne

Christmas has come and nearly gone and still our minds are very much focussed on the hotel and whether we ever will be open in time for March. The repainting at the front of the hotel is coming along just fine but well over budget as we find that the rendering needs replacing and the majority of the windows need renewing. The situation at the rear of the hotel is not much better and the damp in some of the rooms is entirely attributable to some nasty cracks which will also need attention.

In the meantime, we managed to remove the floorboards in the back room and found out why the floor isn't level ..... the joists have all rotted away so there is another expenditure we didn't bargain on - the good news is that the rear of the hotel isn't subsiding! The kitchen is gutted and we would have the plans finalised had it not been for the fact that Frank cannot tell the difference between inches and centimetres. The fire alarm system is now in place and we eagerly await the lighting system which is all planned for (but not paid for).

Of course we are not neglecting the Gladwyn and have already redecorated the lounge which is now looking rather nice although I say it myself. Regardless of everything going on around us, we found some time to decorate the Christmas tree and decorate the front of the building so the whole place has a Christmas feel. We are now working on the hallway and then room 6, room 4, room 3 and room that order. If we ever finish that before opening then my one and only Christmas wish will have come true.

Here are some of the latest pictures of the work in progress

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Too busy to blog

Perhaps it is a measure of how busy we are that it has been nearly a month since I last wrote here. The answer to my last question was five skips and still more rubbish to go. In the meantime, the scaffolding has gone up at the front and the gardens are being sorted at the back. The kitchen has been completely gutted , the second entrance hallway reinstated and we have removed the carpets from the hallway and stairs….hooray for that.

Frank made the big mistake of deciding to strip room 104 of the woodchip wall paper and one week later agreed with me that this was probably not going to be a priority (if we still intended to open in March 2008). We have some ambitious plans for the other rooms and I have been busy commissioning artwork and collecting paintings and prints for the Kandinsky, Lowry, Monet, Rothko and Van Gogh rooms.

Today saw the launch of the hotel website at and I am grateful to Frank for the hours, days and weeks which he has put into this .... I hope you agree that the effort was worthwhile. In the meantime, a big thank you to all our friends and family who have turned up to help us with the project. One day I promise to create a roll of honour and include your names as testimony to your support and encouragement.

Some pictures for you too look at....

Monday, 5 November 2007

Upstairs and downstairs

Day 5 and we are now beginning to wonder what the hell we have let ourselves in for. Our initial view about the place is beginning to be tempered by the fact that, downstairs at least, the place is an absolute disgrace. Upstairs, the bedrooms are not looking so bad and the front rooms are OK although the reception had to go - just a pokey cupboard under the stairs. Downstairs is another matter and how anyone could live down there is an absolute mystery. The floors and ceilings are falling in, the carpets are too dirty to walk on and the furniture is an absolute disgrace ....heaven only know how many skips we are going to need to move this lot!

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Completion at last

Getting this place was never going to prove easy but when your solicitor says completion by midday and you are still pacing the room at 3 o clock then you know something must have happened. For some reason I now have two solicitors on the case and both think the other has got the money. In fact they are both wrong because the money has gone to the clients solicitors as I discover when I start ringing around myself. Fleurets ring to say the place is now mine and the keys are handed over on the doorstep at 3.30pm on Thursday 1 November 2007. The hotel is ours and the journey begins.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Falling at the last hurdle

My solicitor rings to tell me that the other buyer is intending to exchange within the next 48 hours. He is quite calm about the situation which is more than can be said for me. This journey has been too long to fall at the last hurdle. Besides which, we have bought the website address, planned the colour schemes, sorted out the furniture, discussed the staffing and thought of an appropraite name. The solicitor tells me he will see what he can do. By 4 o clock he rings to tell me that we have exchanged and we are now the proud owners of a derelict hotel in Howard Square . Completion date is agreed for Thursday 1 November 2007.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

The race is on

My solicitor tells me that the other solicitor is now talking to him and has told him that I am not the only person pursuing the hotel. My temptation is to tell the lot of them where to stick the hotel but it has been a long journey and I do not intend to fall at the last hurdle. I warn the bank that we may need to move fast and I know my solicitor is on my side when he gives me his home number. The race is on and I now believe that whatever will be will be. If we do get the place then it was destined to be.........

Friday, 21 September 2007

Another hold up

Well now the fun has really started. The bank want a survey of the property and intend to scrutinise my business plan to see if it reasonable - the survey goes OK and my business plan survives its first test. My solicitor is on the case but tells me that their solicitor refuses to communicate. Fleurets tell me that their client now wants proof that I have the money. I contact my solicitor. I contact the bank. They tell me that they cannot deal with third parties and I tell them that they will have to or I shall never see the inside of this place. Time stands still.

Friday, 31 August 2007

Making another offer

I find out that the RBS might be interested in providing financing since I have previously banked with them. I have to provide a business plan along with evidence for this , proofs for that and receipts for the other. My full time occupation is now filling in forms for the RBS and jumping through a series of hoops with no sign of a light at the end of the tunnel. I work out that I have to pay stamp duty of £26000 as well as solicitor and broker fees. The bank promise me an interest free month and I submit another offer to Fleurets which is accepted by their client - hooray!

Monday, 6 August 2007

A recent history

Frank and I have been doing our homework and find out that the present owners had made a planning application to turn the hotel into (holiday) flats. The proposal was rejected by the council with a lot of backing from the local residents who were determined that the area would be best served by a hotel in preference to holiday flats. We also find out that the hotel is a grade 2 listed building. In the meantime, Fleurets have increased the cost of the hotel and tell me there is another interested party. My bank account tells me I cannot afford it.

Monday, 25 June 2007


Fleurets contact me to say their client has rejected the offer.

Friday, 22 June 2007

Making an offer

It suddenly dawns on me that I might need to get some finance if I an going to seriously consider the purchase of the hotel. I find a company who specialise in commercial mortgages and they tell me that they aren't worried that the place has been empty for a couple of years or that I am unable to produce any balance sheets (since none exist). They don't need me to provide evidence of my financial standing and they don't even require a business plan from me. In conclusion, they will be happy to loan me the money as long as I don't mind paying an extortionate interest rate. I contact Fleurets and make an offer.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Prospective buyers

Fleurets are a bit concerned that I should make an offer without having seen the place so now it is my turn to go and have a look at the hotel. They are running one of their 'open days' so I am not the only visitor although the place is hardly heaving with prospective buyers. On this occassion, I am joined by a couple who already own "three sea front hotels in Brighton" and have made their fame and fortune from hen and stag nights. Somehow, I think that Eastbourne may not be ready for such excitement - my own view of the hotel's future is a long way away from this!

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Up for sale again

Surprise, surprise as I have just got over the disappointment of losing the 'Stanley House Hotel' and now I get an email from Fleurets to say that it is back on the market. I quickly contact themand tell them that I am still interested and we arrange a viewing (which I cannot make). Farakh tells me that the place is a dump but it has lots of potential. There is a big hole where the ceiling is falling in and the place has been empty (derelict?) since Christmas 2005. We decide to put in an offer.

Friday, 8 June 2007

In the beginning

Just found out from the Fleurets website that the 'Stanley House Hotel' is up for sale so contacted them only to find out that the hotel was now under offer. I have never stepped inside the place but know that this is just the sort of place to complement the 'Gladwyn' although the particulars suggest it is a lot bigger. My disappointment at finding the ideal place then finding out that someone else got their first is heightened when I ring a fortnight later to be told that the new owners are to exchange that very day.