By Denis Sheehan, Publisher, H&C News: South East Water cut water supplies and communications forcing hotel closure.
Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club has been forced to close its 106 bedrooms, 2 restaurants, afternoon tea service, Spa, and treatment rooms after South East Water’s water supplies were cut off due to Storms Eunice and Franklin. The hotel’s water supply has been off since Friday 18th February – now five days ago.
Ben Booker, General Manager at Ashdown Park Hotel, says: “The hotel was forced to take the decision to close to guests on Sunday morning; we are simply unable to deliver acceptable levels of service without running water.
“The resulting compensation to Saturday night’s guests alone was in the region of £15,000. We have since lost between £15,000 and £20,000 daily – a combination of loss of accommodation, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner income, plus Spa Day and treatment revenue. That is a huge amount of lost income, especially when our running costs continue to mount.
“South East Water’s lack of communication is both pitiful and shambolic. We have only been able speak to call handlers. Despite numerous attempts to speak with a senior manager, no-one has been available, and no-one has returned our calls.
“To add insult to injury, South East Water did not even deliver bottled water to the hotel until late Sunday night, two days after the supply was cut off.
“We have in the region of 40 staff living on site. All have been without water facilities since Friday night. This is a significant inconvenience to everyone and, naturally, we still have to pay our staff despite the fact that they cannot work.
“I cannot overstate the damage that this lack of a basic water supply is causing to our business – made worse, of course, by coming immediately on top of the dreadful Covid pandemic.
“Even when the water supply is restored, I estimate that it will take at least 24 hours to get the hotel operational again. We have crockery, cutlery and glassware to clean and polish, linen and towels to wash, iron and distribute, and every bedroom will need to be re-serviced.
“Our losses continue to mount, and we continue to disappoint guests who were due to visit.
“It is frankly untenable. We need urgent action by South East Water to enable the hotel to re-open as quickly as possible. The courtesy of a call from a South East Water manager would be also be appreciated, to give us some idea of the likely timescale involved.
“It is simply awful to have had to let down our valued guests over the past five days.
“We look forward to reopening and welcoming back our guests in the very near future.”