Future of Sussex hotels under threat as Shearings owner collapses into administration

The future of two East Sussex hotels is under threat after the owner of Shearings, the coach holidays provider, crashed into administration yesterday (Friday, May 22).

Majestic Hotel in Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-200319-111104008
Majestic Hotel in Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-200319-111104008

EY, the administrator to Specialist Leisure Group (SLG), confirmed that 2,500 people, who had previously been furloughed under the government’s job retention scheme, have now been redundant.

SLG’s operations include Bay Hotels, which runs the Bay Burlington Hotel and the Bay Majestic Hotel in Eastbourne. 

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In a statement on the Bay Hotels website, it was revealed that all tours, cruises, holidays and hotel breaks booked with SLG have been cancelled and ‘will not be rescheduled’. All hotels trading as Bay Hotels, Coast & Country Hotels and Country Living Hotels will not reopen.

The notice added: “The Specialist Leisure Group operated several businesses that sold holidays and other travel arrangements under the following brand names, which have all ceased to trade, due to the impact of COVID-19.”

Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC) said it is ‘very sad and worrying news’ for all the staff, adding: “The closure of Shearings is clearly added concern for hoteliers and local businesses that welcomed their customers.”

Mark Cotman, chairman of the Eastbourne Hospitality Association, said it was ‘sad to see another business casualty in our sector from the COVID 19 pandemic’.

He added: “Shearings have had a large presence in the town for a substantial period and it is concerning to read from their administrators, EY, that their hotels, the Burlington and the Majestic, will not reopen under their tenure.
“Especially poignant for the Burlington due to their recent trauma with the Claremont Hotel fire tragedy recently.
“This will undoubtedly leave a period of time of uncertainty but I am sure the sites will bounce back from this, given time, and to return stronger than ever, given their premier sites on the seafront in Eastbourne.”

Mr Cotman said the association and its partners within the town will ‘endeavour to make this happen as quickly as possible’. 

He said: “Our best wishes go to the staff of Shearings in this difficult time and if their staff require assistance from an Eastbourne perspective, please contact us and we will do our utmost to help, with ourselves and our partners in Eastbourne.”

EBC said, that while the loss of a holiday operator is ‘very regrettable’, it remained confident that ‘millions of visitors’ will continue to choose the town ahead of other UK and international destinations.

A spokesperson added: “Looking ahead, both hotels occupy highly sought after locations on our world class seafront and will undoubtedly be of great interest to a wide range of prospective purchasers.

“For over 150 years, Eastbourne has welcomed holidaymakers to the town and as a consequence boasts an extremely robust and mixed tourism economy.  

“We benefit from a natural and built environment that is second to none, record sunshine hours, the best events calendar outside of London and theatres that host West End shows throughout the year.”

Are you a member of staff or customer at Bay Burlington Hotel and the Bay Majestic Hotel? Share your experiences by emailing [email protected]

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