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‘We’re clearing our drawers’ - staff as seaside resort’s most historic hotel closes

PUBLISHED: 10:30 23 May 2020 | UPDATED: 09:37 24 May 2020

The Golden Lion Hotel, in Hunstanton, which has ceased trading  Picture: Chris Bishop

The Golden Lion Hotel, in Hunstanton, which has ceased trading Picture: Chris Bishop

Hotel workers in Norfolk were gathering their belongings after the collapse of a major travel firm which owns coach giant Shearings.

The Bay Carlton, Yarmouth. Pic: Bay CarltonThe Bay Carlton, Yarmouth. Pic: Bay Carlton

Two historic hotels, the Golden Lion in Hunstanton and the Bay Carlton in Yarmouth, have stopped trading after SLG, Specialist Leisure Group, went into administration.

The Golden Lion in Hunstanton is said to be the oldest building in the vicinity and was bought by SLG, owner of several brands including the coach firm Shearings, in 2007.

On Saturday morning, workers outside the hotel who had gathered to collect their belongings said they had been on furlough since the hotel and its bars closed at the start of lockdown.

“We’re clearing our drawers,” one said. “It’s not just us, it’s the whole company; hotels and coaches.”

The Golden Lion, situated in the Green, overlooking the seafront, and boasting a distinctive carrstone exterior, had previously shut down in 2006 when its former owners called in the receivers.

The purchase by SLG meant the hotel was given a £500,000 refurbisment and marketed under the travel firm’s Coast & Country brand.

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The Golden Lion, with 27 bedrooms, many with stunning views, has dominated The Green since it was built in 1847.

It was the first building to be built in Hunstanton as part of Henry Styleman Le Strange’s vision of creating a new seaside resort from scratch.

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The remainder of the resort rapidly sprang up around it with the coming of the King’s Lynn to Hunstanton railway in 1862 and the booming popularity of sea bathing.

The hotel had good reviews from customers. One person posted in March, just before the hotel closed because of coronavirus, and said: “Popped in for drinks and to use their WiFi - good to see they are dog friendly and even gave some dog biscuits and offered a bowl of water.”

The other hotel to cease trading is the Bay Carlton, Yarmouth, which was run under SLG’s Bay Hotels brand.

An imposing Victorian building in Marine Parade, with 97 bedrooms, this had also been recently refurbished with all rooms having an en suite. Guests could opt to upgrade to a ‘superior’ room with a panoramic sea view and the hotel offered a quiet lounge bar to relax in.

It also offered a separate entertainment suite and dance floor with a programme operating most nights of the week.


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