Sixteen senior citizens visiting Oakham for the weekend had to change their plans at the last minute, after discovering that their hotel was closed for refurbishment.
Back in December, pensioners Philip and Sheila Dean went into The Admiral Hornblower on the High Street, and put down a deposit of £210 for rooms for themselves and friends over the weekend of March 12 to 13.
The couple live in Bolton, but regularly visit the area to see their daughter who lives near Melton Mowbray. They were getting ready to make the trip down when they received a call from a friend in Lyddington, who warned them that there was a closed for refurbishment sign outside the High Street pub and hotel.
“No-one from The Admiral Hornblower had contacted us to let us know, so if our friend hadn’t called us up, we would have all turned up and had nowhere to stay,” said Mr Dean. His wife added: “I feel so angry about it. It is just unbelievable.”
Fortunately, they were able to find alternative accommodation at the Whipper-Inn, to whom they are extremely grateful for enabling their group holiday to still go ahead.
However, they were at a loss about how to get their deposit back, with no-one in when they visited The Admiral Hornblower during their weekend in Oakham. Despite repeatedly ringing up the pub’s telephone number, Mr Dean found it only went through to a recorded message saying that staff were busy serving customers.
As a last resort, they contacted this newspaper, and after a call to a Nottingham number found in an old job listing, a refund has now been issued to Mr Dean.
“If my wife hadn’t rung up the newspaper, I don’t think we would have got our money back,” said Mr Dean.
Furthermore, their experience doesn’t appear to be an isolated incident, with another unhappy guest called Sarah, commenting on TripAdvisor that on March 5, she went there to prepare for a wedding to find the hotel shut.
She said: “I booked in early February, so plenty of time for the Admiral Hornblower to contact me to say that they had closed but I heard nothing and only found out that there had been a fire after going to the local Wetherspoons to get ready for the wedding and book a taxi - needless to say the staff at the Wetherspoons were excellent.”
The Admiral Hornblower’s management has confirmed that the premises are currently being refurbished following a fire in January.
“Any guests are fully entitled to a refund. Guests effected were contacted, however occasionally incorrect details are held,” a spokesperson said.
They added that the hotel is due to open under new management in April, but anyone with unresolved queries should call 01159 248680.