Page last updated at 12:55 GMT, Saturday, 20 December 2008

Trading 'normal' for city hotel

The Royal Hotel, Cardiff
The Royal Hotel is more than 140 years old but was refurbished in 2005

The manager of an historic city centre hotel says it is operating normally, despite being in administration.

Mark Lammiman, who runs the 64-bed Royal Hotel in Cardiff, said he was confident a buyer could be found for the hotel, which employs 37 staff.

He said the hotel was busier this month than last December and said people with bookings there did not need to worry.

Administrators MCR were called in by the bankers for Niche Hotels, the owners, on 3 December.

Mr Lammiman said the Royal was one of two hotels within the Niche Hotels group that had gone into administration, the other being the 60-bedroom Wyckhill House hotel near Stow-on-the-Wold in Gloucstershire.

The hotel group has another boutique hotel in Newcastle.

Mr Lammiman said: "We have a very lucrative business with good occupancy rates. We are performing very well.

In my experience I have known administration going on in hotels for years
Mark Lammiman, general manager, Royal Hotel

"The prospect of finding a buyer is good."

Mr Lammiman added it would not be in anyone's interest for the hotel to close down and currently 60 of its 64 rooms were taken over the next two weeks by dancers, performing in the nearby St David's Hall.

"Not many hotels will run at that sort of occupancy over the Christmas period," he said.

"The administration period could go on for months.

"January is a tough time time for any business and Christmas doesn't help in terms of finding a buyer.

"Even if a buyer comes in on Monday it might take until March or April for any deal to be done.

"In my experience I have known administration going on in hotels for years."

The online booking system for the hotel is currently not working but Mr Lammiman said this was an issue the administrators had to sort out with Niche Hotels and he believed it was high on the agenda.

Captain Scott

"We are still taking bookings, we are still a going concern," he said.

"If people have got bookings with us they do not need to worry.

"We have got weddings and other events booked in for next year. There is no way in my mind that the business will not continue."

The hotel's website describes it as a "cool boutique-style hotel" which opened in the summer of 2005.

The Royal Hotel was the venue for Captain Robert Falcon Scott's fund-raising dinner in 1910, two days before he sailed from Cardiff on the Terra Nova for his ill-fated race to the South Pole.

The hotel first opened in 1866 but closed for seven years before re-opening as a boutique hotel after 6m refurbishment in 2005.



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