Melrose hotel staff facing uncertain future after collapse of travel firm

The Waverley Castle Hotel in Melrose.The Waverley Castle Hotel in Melrose.
The Waverley Castle Hotel in Melrose.
The Waverley Castle Hotel in Melrose has ceased trading following the collapse of owner Specialist Leisure Group.

The Wigan-based hotel and travel company also operated accommodation brand Bay Hotels, which owned the 77-bedroom hotel in Melrose.

It’s not known how many staff have been affected by the closure, but those living on site have reportedly been given 28 days notice to find alternative accommodation.

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The three-star rated Melrose hotel is one of seven in Scotland owned by the company which have closed with immediate effect.

About 2,500 jobs have been lost and 64,000 bookings cancelled country-wide.

The firm said on its website that all tours, cruises, holidays and hotel breaks had been cancelled and would not be rescheduled.

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It said: “The Specialist Leisure Group entered administration on May, 22, 2020.

“All tours, cruises, holidays and hotel breaks booked with the Specialist Leisure Group have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled.

“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.

“All hotels trading as Bay Hotels, Coast and Country Hotels and Country Living Hotels will not reopen.”

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Melrose councillor David Parker said: “It is very disappointing news that the Bay Waverley Castle Hotel in Melrose has ceased trading due to the collapse of the specialist Leisure Group.

“The hotel has been a landmark in the Borders for decades and many Borderers have fond memories of it in the 60s and 70s.

“Obviously the company will go into a period of administration and it might be that a buyer for the hotel can be found in the months ahead.

“The council will be in touch with the company and administrators to see what help and support can be offered to those affected by the hotel’s closure.”

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Fellow town councillor Tom Miers added: “This crisis has hit the hospitality sector very hard, with hotels reliant on tourism in a particularly difficult place.

“You have to hope that someone else will come in and invest in the Waverley again once it’s over, but there will be a lasting impact on demand in the economy and who knows how continuing rules and regulations around social distancing will affect hotels.

“All we know for certain is that every extra day Scotland spends in lockdown means more jobs and livelihoods lost.”

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