Hotel Stephanie in shutdown shock

Reporter:

Rebecca Cole

STEPHANIE Booth’s business empire is on the verge of administration

The Wynnstay Arms Hotel in Wrexham and the Fantastic Fun House play centres in  Wrexham and Mold all shut down yesterday.

STEPHANIE Booth’s business empire looks set to go into administration, it has been confirmed.

The Wynnstay Arms Hotel in Wrexham, along with the Fantastic Fun Houses in both Wrexham and Mold were closed with immediate effect yesterday.

The rest of her empire will continue to operate as usual while the company works with administrators to find a longer term solution.

More than 30 members of staff are believed to have been affected by the closure of the Wynnstay Hotel - an iconic buillding in the town centre.

A spokesperson for Llangollen Hotel Group said yesterday: “Following a winding up petition issued by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, Llangollen Hotels expects to be placed in administration later today or tomorrow.

“This has necessitated the immediate closure of leased premises as a default on rent is unavoidable.

“The three affected units are The Wynnstay Arms Hotel and the Fantastic Fun Houses in both Mold and Wrexham, where staff have been sent home and told to expect a letter from KPMG advising them of their redundancy entitlements.”

The spokesperson added: “All other hotels and the McLarens leisure complex in Oswestry will continue trading as normal with all deposits and bookings safeguarded and will continue to do so whilst the company works with KPMG to find a longer term solution.

“The largest creditor is HMRC followed closely by Stephanie Booth who has continued to inject her personal money to ensure all staff have been paid.

“Legally none of the directors is permitted to speak to the media or any third party while this process is followed and any further information will be made by KPMG.”

Staff arriving for work at the Wynnstay yesterday received a letter, signed by KPMG, the company believed to be handling the administration process, which stated that formal notification would be sent to employees once the situation had been clarified.

It added: “We are currently experiencing financial difficulty and as such cannot continue to facilitate trading the hotel/fun house viably. The hotel/fun house is to be closed with immediate effect.”

A sign on the door of The Wynnstay Arms Hotel on Yorke Street yesterday morning stated it was closed for business and staff who arrived for work were told to go home with no prior warning.

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Dream wedding day now in tatters

BRIDES-TO-BE are now fearing for the future of their special day.

Kerry Lucy, 26, had planned a romantic wedding breakfast and reception at The Wynnstay Arms to celebrate her wedding day on August 26.

But now she is terrified that her big day will be ruined.

She said: “I’m devastated. I couldn’t believe it when I heard what was going on – I just feel sick.

“I’m terrified and completely heartbroken.

“I’ve tried to contact them this morning but there’s no-one available to speak to, I just want to know what’s going on.”

Kerry, of Connor Crescent, Wrexham, is due to marry window-fitter Chris Edwards, 27, at Bethel Chapel, Ponciau, and a large number of their guests have paid in full to stay at the hotel on the night of the wedding.

The couple have also handed over £850 towards the cost of the reception.

Kerry added: “We only paid that a couple of weeks ago and there was no mention at the time of there being any problems.

“It’s a huge amount of money to lose and the full cost is £1,700 so I’m just glad we hadn’t paid it all.

“We’re completely stuck in limbo.”


Breakfast shocker for visiting choir

MEMBERS of an American choir, competing at the International Musical Eisteddfod in Llangollen, were told to pack their bags and leave the Wynnstay Hotel yesterday morning.

The 79-strong Mansfield University concert choir from Pennsylvania, conducted by Dr Peggy Detweiler, had been due to stay until Sunday.

The choir, which is mainly made up of students, is set to perform in a number of competitions, the first of which took place yesterday afternoon.

However, when they went down for breakfast yesterday, receivers called into the hotel told them that they would have to leave.

It meant eisteddfod organisers had to find them alternative accommodation at short notice.

Competitors liaison officer Brian Evans said yesterday: “We heard early this morning. The first they knew about it was when the receivers moved in and they were told there was no breakfast and they would have to pack their bags and leave the hotel.”

Dr Detweiler said: “I’m very proud of how my students handled things this morning. We were due to perform at 2.30 in Llangollen, so to be woken up at 7am and be forced to leave without preparing or even having breakfast was a bit of a shock.”

The choir were later found alternative accommodation in Telford.


Staff jobs remain in the balance

Bodidris Hall in Llandegla was open for business yesterday but was closed for a private function.

Staff at the 15th century stately home said the hotel was closed to other members of the public as it was holding a funeral.

But staff said they did not know what was happening with the future of the hotel and would not comment further.

At the Bryn Howel staff said the hotel was fully open but they knew nothing of the situaton regarding the other hotels and did not wish to comment any further.

Reception staff at the Wild Pheasant were also unwilling to comment on the
broader situation but said the Wild Pheasant was fully open to guests.

The Booth-owned Fun House playbarn in Mold was also shut yesterday.

The shutters were down on the building on the Bromfield Industrial Estate, but there were no signs or notices on the doors.

Staff at a nearby business said it was strange to see it closed.

One worker, who asked not to be named, said: “It hasn't been open all day, which is strange because it’s normally open all the time. There’s always loads of cars coming and going and it's usually heaving.”

See full story in the Leader

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