Investment continuing at historic hotel

Imperial Hotel
Imperial Hotel
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Investment is continuing at Blackpool’s flagship Imperial Hotel despite uncertainty surrounding its Spanish owners.

The Imperial is part of the 21-strong Barcelo group which is reportedly involved in a dispute over rents with Puma Hotels, the company it leases its properties from.

Imperial general manager Nick Testa

Imperial general manager Nick Testa

Puma says it has received a letter from Barcelo saying unless rents are revised it “is intending to withdraw financial supports from its UK hotels business”.

Nick Testa, general manager of the 180-bedroom Imperial, said he could not comment on the situation but said trading remained strong at the Blackpool hotel.

He said: “Business is very good and the number of events coming in for next year means we are almost as strong as this year already.

“We’re investing substantially in the property and that is continuing as we speak.

“I believe more people are taking a second look at Blackpool and there is huge confidence in the future of the town.”

Around £1.5m is being invested in upgrading the exterior and interior of the four-star Imperial which last month hosted the Labour party’s regional conference.

President of StayBlackpool Claire Smith said the Imperial was essential to Blackpool.

She said: “It is a beautiful building and it is one of our most important hotels because of the history there.

“All the prime ministers have stayed their over the years when the party political conferences have been here.

“It is very important to the balance of accommodation in the town, as well as being a gorgeous building which it is absolutely critical we see investment in.”

A statement on the website of Shore Capital, which controls Puma Hotels, says the directors of Puma Hotels “have indicated they intend to enforce all Puma Hotel’s rights under the leases”, including the guarantees provided by the Spanish group “to the fullest extent possible.”