DOVER KENT ARCHIVES
PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Paul Skelton

Earliest 1994

(Name from)

Churchill Hotel

Latest Jan 2010

(Name to)

Marine Parade

From the Dover Express 6 October 1994.

Churchill plaque

Robin Leigh-Pemberton unveils the cold-cast bronze plaque.

DOVER'S Churchill Hotel formerly the White Cliffs has been officially opened by the Lord Lieutenant of Kent, Robin Leigh-Pemberton.

And the Dover Express helped provide a magnificent cold-cast bronze plaque for the hotel of the great leader whose name it bears.

The plaque was taken from a sculpture made by Jim Forsyth, of Beresford Road, River, which in turn was taken from a wooden carving of Sir Winston Churchill made by his father, Bob.

Bob, a former Dover police sergeant who died in 1989, was an ardent admirer of Churchill. Carpentry was his great hobby and he made the carving in 1958.

Bob's handiwork prowess was inherited by his son Jim, whose particular skill is sculpture. In response to requests Jim - a firefighter based at Dover fire station sculpted some copies of his father's work two years ago to give to members of the family.

The White Ciiffs Hotel closed down last year and when 47-year old Jim read in the Dover Express that it was to be re-opened, and re-named The Churchill, he sent a photograph of his sculpture to manager Jim Pennington and asked if the hotel would like its own version.

Mr Pennington was delighted to accept, and Barry Sheppard, of RawIsons Ltd., based in Holmestone Road, Dover, was asked to turn Jim's sculpture into a cold-cast bronze plaque for the hotel.

Last Thursday Jim and wife Frances, with his mother Marjorie - Bob's widow who lives in Byllan Road, River - were among scores of people invited to the hotel to watch Mr Leigh-Pernberton, former governor of the Bank of England, unveil it.

The hotel, on the seafront, actually opened as The Churchill in April. As the White Cliffs Hotel, its association with Sir Winston Churchill began during the war when the premier was a regular visitor.

The hotel is owned by Dover Harbour Board and operated by Henley Lodges, which is also working with the port authority on providing another 60 bedroom hotel off Townwall Street.

The Churchill, which employs 40 full and part-lime workers, now has 54 bedrooms. The first phase of a massive facelift, a 200,000 refurbishment of the ground floor, has just been completed.

The second phase - total re-furbishment of the bedrooms and corridors at a cost of 330.000 - is about to start.

At the opening ceremony Mr Leigh-Pemberion said the hotel had been beautifully refurbished: He felt the hotel would be an excellent asset in Dover's plans to attract more tourists to the area.

He added: 'The hotel is very well named. Churchill epitomised everything Dover stood for and still stands for today:'

Marjorie and Jim Forsyth

Marjorie Forsyth and her son Jim look at the plaque - taken from a wooden carving made by Bob Forsyth 36 years ago - on display in the hotel foyer:

 

From the Dover Express 13 October 1994.

Did Churchill visit hotel?

THE REPORT on the official opening of The Churchill (formerly White Cliffs Hotel) contained historical inaccuracies in that, so far as I am aware, Winston Churchill did not set foot in the White Cliffs Hotel until long after the Second World War.

The White Cliffs Hotel was named such by my company when it first leased the premises from Dover Harbour Board in 1947.

Winston Churchill's visits came about after his appointment as Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. Many of the official functions of the Cinque Ports look place at the White Cliffs as our then chairman was (and still is) a Baron of the Cinque Ports.

Robert Menzies also dined at the White Cliffs on his visits to Dover during his time as Lord Warden in the late Sixties. I was not in Dover during the Second World War but I am sure there are many people reading your paper who were and would be able to say how the hotel was utilised during that period. I have been told part of the premises was commandeered by the Army.

Pamela J Gibbons, Graham Lyon Ltd, Markland Road, Dover.

 

From the Dover Express, 27 October 1994.

m hotel investment starts soon

 

DOVER Harbour Board is set to start on a second phase of big improvements to The Churchill Hotel on the seafront.

It Is taking its investment in the hotel past 500,000 with it major refurbishment of all 56 bedrooms during the winter.

Ground Door public areas were renovated earlier this year at a cost of 330,000.

The Churchill, formerly the White Cliffs Hotel, is managed by Henley Lodges Ltd.

It was officially opened earlier this month by Robin Leigh-Pemberten, the Lord Lieutenant of Kent.

 

From the Dover Mercury, 24 April 2003.

Churchill Hotel 2003

TEST OF TIME: The Churchill Hotel, an imposing building on Dover seafront which is 170 years old this year. (2003)

1m facelift at promenade hotel

PEOPLE who used the fashionable bathing houses on Dover seafront in the 19th century would never have guessed that today those same rooms would be used for weddings, conferences, keeping fit and eating in style.

Neither would they have guessed that guests would have included statesmen, film stars and television personalities.

But that's what has happened at what is now the Churchill Hotel, which is home to a popular brasserie, bar lounge, and the Henley Health Club.

Guests were invited along to an open day this week to see for themselves what the hotel has to offer following refurbishment and modernisation costing more than 1 million.

Celebrating its 170th anniversary this year, the listed building is set in a regency crescent right on the promenade, and originally opened up onto the beach providing the ideal place for bathers of more than a century ago to come and stay and enjoy the benefits of the coastal air.

About 100 years ago, it became the famous White Cliffs Hotel, welcoming thousands of visitors.

In September 1994, the Lord Lieutenant of Kent, Lord Kingsdown, officially reopened it as The Churchill Hotel, recalling Sir Winston Churchill's long association with Dover.

Now run by Best Western, the Churchill not only offers conference facilities - four rooms which make up the Chartwell Suite, maintaining the Churchill link - it is also licensed for weddings and can be used for baby naming ceremonies too.

Among the grandest rooms is Room 100, otherwise known as the honeymoon suite.

Churchill Honeymoon suit

GRANDEUR: Becky Campbell, who was among those who showed guests around the Churchill Hotel, takes a break in the honeymoon suite.

But all the rooms have now been provided with en-suite facilities, helping the hotel to receive high awards for standards of quality and service from the AA, RAC and the South East England Tourist Board.

Special guests over the years, as well as Churchill, have included American author Bill Bryson, Prince Edward, who has stayed on a number of occasions with his filming company, James Bolam and Tamsin Outhwaite.

One of the newest facilities is the Henley Health Club with its own hair and beauty salons, aerobics studio, cardiovascular and weights resistance areas, as well as a sauna.

Murder mystery nights, charity auctions, party nights and brass band concerts are all becoming popular events at the hotel.

 

More rooms are planned

MORE rooms are planned at The Churchill Hotel on Dover seafront. Planning permission is being sought for alterations to the fabric of the building associated with conversion of existing flats into hotel bedrooms.

From the Dover Mercury 6 May 2004

Leading Hotel celebrates its success story

Churchill

THRIVING BUSINESS: Lord and Lady Kingsdown cut the cake to celebrate The Churchill's 10th anniversary, watched by Sir Winston (actor Gerry George), and directors Keith Berry and Les Pennington.

 

WHEN the Churchill Hotel celebrated its 10th anniversary on Friday; there really was only one person to choose as a special guest - Churchill himself!

Distinguished British statesman Sir Winston appeared at the celebrations, complete with traditional cigar and V for victory sign, in the form of actor Gerry George.

Director and general manager Les Pennington recalled that when the hotel opened as The Churchill, Dover was a very different place. There was a recession, and the port was facing the threat of the Channel Tunnel.

"It was being predicted that cross-Channel traffic through Dover would drop by 50 per cent," he said. "It wasn't quite tumbleweed on the streets of Dover, but it wasn't far off it.

"Now, it's a thriving town and meeting the challenges that lie ahead.

"We are proud of our progress both in the hotel and with helping the local community.

"We have sponsored many local charities. Among these is Kent Air Ambulance who have received 7,500 over the last two years Via money raised in charity auctions organised by the hotel."

Dover Ladies Football Club have shirts bearing the name of the Churchill Hotel and Health Club. "This sponsorship helped secure their place in the 'Premier' League this year," he said.

Angie McLoughlin, captain of the football club, said the Churchill encouraged team members to train twice a week in the gym, and provided advice and help on training and diet."

The hotel has also sponsored four boats for the Dover Watersports Centre, and it is supporting the plan for a new sea-sports centre.

Over the years, many famous people have visited the hotel, including Prince Edward, television actors James Bolan and Tamsin Outhwaite, and author Bill Bryson who mentions the hotel in his book Notes From A Small Island.

Among the guests at Friday's celebrations were Lord and Lady Kingsdown, who spent the first night of their honeymoon at the hotel (the then White Cliffs Hotel) more than 50 years ago.

"It was perfectly good," he recalled, ''better than the last night which we spent under a hedge just the other side of Calais.

"In those days we were limited as to how much money we could take abroad, and by the last night we only had enough for a dinner or a hotel. We opted for the dinner, so spent the night under the hedge."

Lady Kingsdown cut the anniversary cake.

Among the staff who have been at the hotel for the whole 10 years are reservations co-ordinator Kim Clennell, who started as a receptionist, Christine Jamieson, who started as a housekeeper and is now services manager, Pat Bradley, who was a cleaner and is now assistant housekeeper, and night porter Mick Dawkins, who had also worked there when it was the White Cliffs Hotel.

Churchill staff

Three of the hotel staff who have been working at The Churchill for the past 10 years, left to right, Kim Clennell, Christine Jamieson and Pat Bradley.

 

In his Churchillian speech, the special guest for the evening spoke of "Britain's most valuable liquid asset" - the Channel. "It seems appropriate that I should have a waterfront hotel, which stands beneath those historic white cliffs, named after me.

"This hotel has gone from strength to strength, with refurbishment of bedrooms, the addition of new bedrooms and the Chartwell suite with four new conference rooms, the first baby-naming ceremony, champagne cruise package, civil weddings and the introduction of the health club."

 

From the Dover Express, 18 November 2004. By LAURA SMITH and TERRY SUTTON

Lots raise lots for cancer relief charity.

Churchill charity

CHEERS: Chris Walter (left) and Les Pennington toast their House

BARGAINS were going, going, gone at a Dover hotel last week as it held its annual charity auction.

The Churchill Hotel on Dover Waterfront put almost 50 lots under the hammer in aid of Macmillan Cancer Relief and raised 5,200.

Retired hotelier Chris Walters was guest auctioneer, describing and selling the lots which had been donated by local businesses and individuals.

Mr Walters persuaded one bidder to pay out 600 for a two-week Gite holiday in south-west France while a local man paid 75 to take tea for two on the terrace of the House of Commons, a lot offered by Gyyn Prosser MP.

A coveted Louis Vuitton handbag fetched 130 while a day out for two to a Bedfordshire racetrack (said to be worth 900) was knocked down for 525. Several holidays also sold well, as did TVs, DVD players and a giant cuddly chimpanzee.

General manager of the hotel Les Pennington extended his thanks to all those who donated items for the sale.

He said: We were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of all who attended or donated to this event.

Not only that, its a fun evening out. Knowing that all the money raised goes to help the people who work for Macmillan and how they can help people diagnosed with cancer is especially worthwhile.

From the Dover Mercury, 18 January 2007.

Churchill 2007

Win health club membership

GAIN fitness and lose weight with the help of the health club at the Best Western Churchill Hotel on Dover waterfront this year.

And to encourage you to do so, the hotel is offering Gold Club membership for 12 months at its health club, worth 432, in this competition.

Gold Club' membership includes five sunbed sessions. The winner will also get dinner for two in the hotel's Brasserie restaurant.

Come down to the health club and check out the first rate facilities with a free taster session.

The health club has its own entrance to the back of the hotel and car parking for members is free.

There are several different membership options available and qualified instructors are on hand to discuss individual requirements.

The health club is fully equipped with a wide range of cardiovascular and resistance equipment, sauna and sunbed. There is also a weekly programme of fitness classes, including yoga.

Members benefit from discounts at Regatta Hair Salon and Beauty Matters, which are also situated at the Best Western Churchill Hotel. You will also receive discounts in the Brasserie restaurant.

Health club opening times are Monday - Friday 7am-10pm and weekends 9am-6pm. For more information please call 01304 265080.

So to win the superb prize, just answer the question below and send your answer to Churchill Hotel Competition, Mercury, 13 Queen Street, Deal, Kent CT14 6EX, to arrive by Friday, January 19 (2007)

What is the name of the restaurant in the Best Western Churchill Hotel and Health Club?

Please include your name, address and daytime telephone number.

Churchill gym

Gym at Churchill's.

Churchill gym

Working with weights as club members tone up at the Best Western Churchill Hotel, Dover.

Churchill gym

The waterfront gym has a full range of cardiovascular machines and weights to keep you at the peak of fitness.

 

From the Dover Mercury, 18 January 2007.

Smoking outlawed before ban.

SMOKERS will no longer be able to light up in public parts of the Churchill Hotel, after managers decided to pre-empt the smoking ban and introduce their own policy this month.

New legislation enforcing a ban on smoking in public places in England is due to take effect on July 1.

But the hotel and health club, on Dover's waterfront, has decided to make the move now, linking it with its health club fitness drive.

The hotel has also taken notice of a campaign on TV and in magazines by Cancer Research UK. Called Smoke Is Poison, it reveals that cigarette smoke contains 69 cancer-causing chemicals. A spokesman for the hotel said the public and hotel guests were responding positively to the ban.

Smoking will still be allowed in some of the Churchill's bedrooms and external areas, but the main bar, lounge, reception and restaurant have now been made smoke-free.

 

From BBC News website, 28 January, 2010.

Churchill Hotel on Dover seafront closes

One of Dover's largest seafront hotels has closed.

The 81-bedroom Churchill Hotel and Heath Club informed the Great Western franchise that it was closing after working with it for five years.

A statement from Best Western said: "We were advised that the hotel ceased trading. Best Western terminated their membership with immediate effect."

Best Western did not own or manage the property and the hotel owners were unavailable to comment.

In a statement, Best Western said: "The Best Western group is a marketing consortium and, as such, does not own the property or get involved in the day to day running of the hotel and its liabilities. This is the sole responsibility of the owners of the hotel.

"Best Western are speaking to all guests booked into the hotel through the group, to find alternative accommodation."

 

From the Dover Express 4 February 2010.

Report by Rhys Griffiths

LANDMARK HOTEL CLOSES ITS DOORS

The Churchill had run into serious financial difficulties

AN ICONIC Dover hotel that once welcomed royalty, politicians and celebrities has closed.

The Churchill on the seafront, which was a part of the international Best Western chain, was closed indefitely last week after running into financial difficulties.

Formerly the "White Cliffs," it was once the place to stay in the town with past guests including Prince Edward, writer Bill Bryson and TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson.

Staff at the hotel, and the businesses that operated within it, learnt of its fate on Wednesday, January 27, and were told it would close the next morning, Gillian Smissen, who has run the Regatta Hair Salon at the hotel for four years, was told the devastating news this morning.

"It has come as a complete surprise," she said. "It's a very sad day. I have lost my livelihood and my staff are out of work."

We approached the hotel's management for a statement on the closure but they declined to comment.

A spokesman for Best Western said: "We were advised by the management that the "Churchill Hotel" and Health Club will cease trading as of January 28. As a result, Best Western will terminate their membership with immediate effect.

"The Best Western group is a marketing consortium and, as such, does not own the property or get involved in the day-to-day running of the hotel and its liabilities. This is the sole responsibility of the owners of the hotel."

Dover Harbour Board, which owns the building, told the Express it had been working with the business to try to help it overcome its financial troubles for some time.

Tim Waggott, director of finance and commercial at DHB, said: "We have worked very hard with the "Churchill Hotel" to try and help it through its trading difficulties with our commercial and marketing team over a period of time.

"Our sympathies go out to all those affected by this news."

The Beauty Matters salon, one of the businesses affected by the closure, has relocated to new premises at Upper Cut, 2a New Street. The salon will be open for business from February 11. Customers should call 01304 211728.

 

From the Dover Express 4 February 2010.

By Jeanette Harper, Chairman London Road Community Forum

CHURCHILL HOTEL CLOSES AND FRENCH BUY DOVER?

BIG name companies continue to close their doors in Dover. The Churchill Hotel, our long established pub and hotel on the seafront, has joined that rank.

When I initially heard the news, I was convinced it was a case of mistaken identity and it was really the County Hotel that had closed.

Let's face it, it's earmarked for demolition and is not in the prettiest of locations.

The facade of Churchill's on the other hand has been continually looked after and now, nearly 180 years after it was built, still looks beautiful. I have visited the bar a few times and always found the venue a great place to escape to with a book in the summer months.

I had heard a different story about the accommodation though, with the words tatty, tired and worn being used to describe the hotel's guest rooms. In today's ever increasing competitive market, it is absolutely crucial that companies stay on top of their game. It is all too easy now for one to complain and post photographs online for the whole world to see.

Whatever the future is for the building now, I feel very confident that it won't be left to rot because Dover Harbour Board, when all is said and done, is very good at keeping its properties and gardens in excellent order.

This leads me on to the recent talk about the French 'buying' Dover, and I wonder is it such a bad idea as everyone seems to think?

I can imagine the town doing very well indeed if this were true. For the record, however, I will say that I believe it to be a load of old poppycock.

Nevertheless, the promised redevelopment of the St James area could be turned into something similar to Cite Europe.

Instead of the mundane Asda we have been promised, we could have a Carrefour supermarket. Churchill's would become La Campanile and we could rename The "White Horse" to Le Chevail Blanc with French beer served by a vivacious mademoiselle, of course.

Maybe our taxes will even be in line with the French!

Imagine how popular Dover would become. Instead of the rest of the country going overseas for their wine and cheese they could just come to us instead. Bet there wouldn't be so many empty shops in town then.

Of course, this is all said tongue in cheek because I don't particularly want bricks through my window.

Just remember that our advertising hoardings and rubbish collections are already French owned. So, if it does happen, you read it here first!

 

From the Dover Mercury, 4 February, 2010.

SHOCK OVER CLOSURE OF CHURCHILL HOTEL

By Graham Tutthill

Churchill closed signs

STAFF at a prestigious Dover hotel were looking for new jobs this week after it suddenly closed.

Other businesses within the "Churchill Hotel," including a health club and a hair salon, were also affected.

News of the closure came just after last week's edition of the Mercury had gone to press, and was first revealed on our website, http://www.kentonline.co.uk

Staff called to their usual morning meeting last Wednesday were stunned to be told of the decision and customers trying to book rooms on the hotel's website found every date "unavailable".

The hotel had been a member of the Best Western Group who said alternative arrangements were being made for guests who had already booked rooms.

The hotel, on Dover's waterfront, had conference and meeting rooms as well as a restaurant and bar.

It was previously called the "White Cliffs Hotel," and over the years had played host to many famous guests.

In September 1994, the Lord Lieutenant of Kent, Lord Kingsdown, officially reopened it as The Churchill Hotel, recalling Sir Winston Churchill's long association with Dover.

In 2003, the hotel underwent a refurbishment and modernisation costing more than 1 million.

But the economic situation had taken its toll in recent times and the doors were closed for the last time on Thursday.

In a statement from Best Western, a spokeswoman said: "We were advised by the management that the "Churchill Hotel" and Health Club will cease trading as of January 28.

"As a result Best Western will terminate their membership with immediate effect.

"The Best Western group is a marketing consortium and as such does not own the property or get involved in the day to day running of the hotel and its liabilities. This is the sole responsibility of the owners of the hotel."

BUSINESS HIT

THE closure of the hotel didn't only effect the hotel staff. Other businesses based at the hotel were also closed.

But one of them has already found new premises and will reopen on February 11.

Beauty Matters has been run by Katherine Allen for the past four years.

As soon as she heard the hotel was closing, Katherine set off in search of a new salon, and is moving to Upper Cut - at 2a New Street, Dover. The phone number will be 01304 211728.

Glllian Smissen, who ran the Regatta Hair Salon at the "Churchill," hopes she will be able to find new premises.

"It has been a sad day for my girls and me, but we will bounce back very soon and hope that the support we have been shown so far will continue and follow us where ever our scissors take us!"

The salon's charity Hair cabaret Show In aid of muscular dystrophy, and in memory of Ross Excell who died  two years ago from the muscle-wasting disease went ahead at the Thatched Barn in Farthingloe.

 

A LONG AND COLOURFUL HISTORY

The hotel was built nearly 180 years ago as fashionable bathing houses on the seafront.

Set in a regency crescent on the promenade, it originally opened up on to the beach providing the ideal place for bathers to stay and enjoy the benefits of the coastal air.

It was just over 100 years ago that it became the famous "White Cliffs Hotel", and proved popular with statesmen, film stars and, subsequently personalities.

Part of the Best Western Group, the "Churchill" offered conference facilities for up to 120 delegates, four rooms which made up the Chartwell Suite - maintaining the Churchill link - the Henly Health Club, Regatta Hair Salon, restaurant and bar lounge.

It was licesed for weddings and could also be used for baby naming ceremonies.

There were 81 rooms - all of which were provided with en suit facilities in the refurbishment - and among the grandest rooms was Room 100, otherwise known as the honeymoon suite.

Prices ranged from 82 single to 110 for a family room. Special rates were available from 68, but supplements of 20 were charged for "superior executive rooms" and 15 and 10 for executive and sea view rooms.

Special guests over the years, as well as Churchill, included American author Bill Bryson, Prince Edward, who has stayed on a number of occasions, former Doctor Who Jon Pertwee, James Bolan and Tamsin Outhwaite.

An eposode of Poirot, with David Suchet, was filmed there.

Murder mystery nights, charity auctions, party nights and brass band concerts were among the popular events held at the hotel.

 

From the Dover Express 15 April 2010.

Report by Rhys Griffiths

CLOSED HOTEL IS ON THE MARKET

Churchill Hotel

Hopes that town landmark can thrive again.

AN iconic Dover hotel forced to close earlier this year by financial difficulties is back on the market.

The Churchill Hotel on the seafront, which was part of the international Best Western chain, closed its doors for the final time in January.

Formerly the "White Cliffs," it was once the most prestigious place to stay in the town - with past guests including Prince Edward, writer Bill Bryson and TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson.

The loss of such a prominent business was widely seen as a major blow to the town, and it is understood the owners had seen income fall significantly in recent years. Now the hotel, which occupies a large section of a five-storey grade Il-listed terrace owned by Dover Harbour Board, is being offered by property management firm Fleurets with a leasehold of 175,000.

Will Thomas, who is handling the sale for Fleurets, said: "We have been instructed to market the hotel by the Dover Harbour Board who, like us, expect strong interest in this most prominent of sites.

"Given the fact that Dover is Europe's busiest and most successful ferry port, handling about 80 billion worth of trade each year, I'm sure prospective operators of the Churchill will recognise it as having huge potential.

"This really is an exceptional opportunity to take control of a landmark hotel in a busy, world-famous port."

It is understood that Best Western, which acts as a marketing consortium for independent hotels, is interested in working with any new owners of the 81-bedroom hotel.

The closure of the hotel was a major blow for employees and businesses at the premises.

Gillian Smissen, who ran the Regatta Hair Salon at the hotel for four years before the Churchill closed, told the Express at the time: "It's a very sad day. I have lost my livelihood and my staff are out of work."

Anyone with interest in taking on the hotel should contact Fleurets on 020 72804700.

 

From the Dover Mercury, 15 April, 2010.

HOTEL ON THE MARKET WITH A PREMIUM PRICE

Business up for sale after falling into liquidation in January

THE Churchill Hotel on Dover seafront has been put on the market.

Dover Harbour Board, which owns the building, has instructed London agency Fleurets to invite rental offers for the 81-bedroom hotel.

The hotel closed suddenly in January after it went into liquidation.

It had been affiliated with the Best Western brand, and the company has said that it might be willing to continue that relationship with a new operator.

The hotel's turnover was 1,732 million in 2007, dropping to 1,555 million in 2008, and reducing still further to 1,396 million last year.

Will Thomas, spokesman for Fleurets, said: "Rental offers and a premium of 175,000 are sought for the grant of a new lease on terms to be negotiated, although it is anticipated it would be for a term of 20 to 25 years, subject to five-yearly upward-only market rent reviews.

"We have been instructed to market the hotel by the Dover Harbour Board who, like us, expect strong interest in this most prominent of sites.

"Given the fact that Dover is Europe's busiest and most successful ferry port, handling about 80 billion worth of trade each year, I'm sure prospective operators of the Churchill will recognise it as having huge potential.

"This really is an exceptional opportunity to take control of a landmark hotel in a busy, world-famous port."

The hotel has a restaurant with seating for 120 people, a lounge bar, four conference and function rooms, and passenger lift, as well as four-bed room staff accommodation.

The basement had previously housed a hair dressing salon health club and commercial kitchens.

Anyone Interested who wants to arrange a viewing should contact Mr Thomas at the Fleurets London office on 020 7280 4700 or email will.thomas@fleurets.com

 

From the Dover Mercury, 22 July, 2010.

EX-CHURCHILL HOTEL MAY REOPEN SOON

THE former Churchill Hotel on Dover seafront could reopen in the next few weeks.

The hotel closed suddenly in January after the company went into liquidation.

It was put on the market in April and Mike Krayenbrink, director of development at Dover Harbour Board which owns the building, said a number of companies had shown an interest.

He said: "I hope that it will be back in use for the summer."

At the time that it closed, the hotel's turnover had dropped from 1.7m in 2007 to 1.3m last year.

When it was put on the market, rental offers and a premium of 175,000 were being sought for the grant of a new lease which, it was anticipated, would be for a term of 20 to 25 years, subject to five-yearly upward-only market rent reviews.

The hotel has a restaurant with seating for 120, a bar, four conference rooms as well as four-bedroom staff accommodation. The basement had previously housed a hairdressers, health club and commercial kitchens.

 

From the Dover Mercury, 16 September, 2010.

THE CHURCHILL HOTEL HAS NEW OWNERS

A CONTRACT has been signed with new operators for the former Churchill Hotel on Dover seafront.

News of the signing was revealed yesterday (Wednesday) by Dover Harbour Board who announced they had agreed a new lease with a company. No other details have been released.

Negotiations

The hotel suddenly closed at the end of January this year, and was put on the market in April. In July, the Mercury reported that negotiations were well under way with a new operator, and it was expected to re-open in a matter of weeks.

Previously called the "White Cliffs Hotel," it was re-opened as The Churchill in September 1994 and in 2003 it underwent a 1million refurbishment.

 

From the Dover Express, Thursday 23 September, 2010.

Report by Rhys Griffiths

NEW LEASE OF LIFE FOR HOTEL ON WATERFRONT

Dozens of jobs to be created after takeover deal

A WATERFRONT hotel in Dover is to be brought back to life by the team behind the successful "Ramada" hotel at Whitfield.

The property on the town's seafront, which was the Churchill Hotel before it closed in January, will reopen later this year and see the creation of dozens of jobs.

A lease for the hotel was agreed by the new management, who also run the Holiday Inn Express 'outside Canterbury, with owner Dover Harbour Board (DHB) last week.

It is expected the new venture, to be named "Dover Marina Hotel," will seek to join the Best Western group, which had previously included the Churchill.

Trevor Bond, sales and marketing manager for the hotel, told the Express the decision to take over the property represented a vote of confidence in Dover as a tourist destination. "It's very good news for Dover," he said. "What's happening now is that we are now in the process of refurbishing and upgrading the hotel to a good standard.

"We will probably be opening about the middle of November or a bit before. We want to make sure it's up to our standards.

"I think the main thing is to get the people of Dover to know it's a place the community can use, a place to dine or come for a coffee, a community friendly hotel."

As the hotel's new name suggests, the owners will be keen to make the most of the proximity to the Port of Dover, which makes it an ideal place for people to stay before joining a cruise or catching a ferry.

The Express reported last month that talks between the port authority and the "Ramada" team over the 81-room hotel were at a crucial stage.

Tim Waggott, director of finance and commercial at DHB, said: "The team at the Port of Dover have worked incredibly hard to find the right partners to take one of Dover's premier sites forward.

"We are very encouraged that the new owners will be local businessmen who understand what works for the town and we are excited by the new ideas they have for "Dover Marina Hotel." We wish them well in their new venture and await with pleasure the re-opening of the hotel."

 

From the Dover Mercury, 23 September, 2010.

GOOD TIMES TO ROLL FOR SEAFRONT HOTEL

THE owners of the four-star "Ramada Hotel" at Whitfield have taken over running the former "Churchill Hotel" on Dover seafront.

News that the lease had been signed was revealed in last week's Mercury.

On Friday, the Port of Dover confirmed that the new owners would be brothers Kanagaratnam Rajamenon and Kanagaratnam Rajaseelan and that the hotel would be re-named "Dover Marina Hotel."

"They have a wealth of experience behind them and innovative plans," said Tim Waggott, director of finance and commercial at Dover Harbour Board, which owns the building. "The team at the Port of Dover have worked hard to find the right partners to take one of Dover's premier sites forward.

"We are very encouraged that the new owners will be local businessmen who understand what works for the town and we are excited by the new ideas they have."

The new owners hope to continue the good relationship they enjoyed with Best Western, marketing Dover Marina Hotel as "an affordable choice with green credentials", appealing to tourists and business travellers alike.

Rajamenon said: "We are looking forward to making Dover Marina Hotel a focal point for the community and visitors, whether it be meeting friends for a drink, enjoying a meal or relaxing with a coffee and taking in the view.

"We will offer facilities including a health club and free Wi-Fi plus rooms for weddings and meetings."

Previously called the White Cliffs Hotel, the building reopened as The Churchill in September 1994, but closed suddenly at the end of January and was put on the market in April.

 

MERCURY COMMENT

Seafront hotel news is a breath of fresh air.

When the doors suddenly closed at the Churchill Hotel on Dover seafront in January, the outlook seemed bleak.

The last thing Dover needed was another empty property, particularly in such a prominent position.

So news this week that a new lease has been signed and the hotel has been taken over by the owners of the "Ramada Hotel" at Whitfield is good news.

Brothers Mr. Rajamenon and Mr. Rajaseelan have built up a fine reputation at Whitfield, and we look forward to them doing the same with what they are now proposing to call the "Dover Marina Hotel."

This, combined with last week's news that two national companies are planning to open shops in the town plus a new clothes shop, comes at a time when Dover could do with some positive news.

And the London Road Community Forum volunteers are set to brighten up another couple of empty shops and make them more attractive.

Now, if we could just sort out the Dover own Investment Zone development and get the cable car installed...

 

From the Dover Express, Thursday 4 November, 2010.

Report by Rhys Griffiths

PLANNING ISSUES SLOW RENOVATION

HOTEL TO REOPEN IN THE NEW YEAR.

Former Churchill Hotel

PLANS to reopen a hotel on Dover seafront have been delayed because of the need for planning permission for renovation work.

The "Dover Marina Hotel" in Waterloo Crescent, which was the Churchill until it closed its doors earlier this year, has been taken over by the team behind the "Ramada" at Whitfield and it was hoped the revamped venue would reopen later this month.

Intensive work to modernise the interior of the historic building has been carried out - but it was discovered that permission would be needed for some of the work.

Trevor Bond, the hotel's marketing manager, told the Express the company is keen to ensure all the improvements are completed to the highest standard before welcoming guests for the first time.

He said: "Some of the renovations are a bit more extensive than planned and because of that, and the nature of them, we are having to seek planning permission to do some of it.

"You are better off getting it all done then opening than deciding you need to do this then having building work going on in the hotel.

"We hope this will be a formality - we are not doing anything radical. We are probably looking at eight to ten weeks, so we will be opening in the new year."

Mr Bond said that, although there was now no firm date for opening to guests, dignitaries for the official opening ceremonies were being lined up for an event in early February.

Last month, it was revealed an American-style coffee shop will be just one of the attractions on the site once the renovation is complete. There are also plans for a state-of-the-art fitness centre, a restaurant and facilities to host conferences and weddings.

General manager David Otteson said: "It is a community hotel and it has to be a venue all the community feels comfortable being part of."

 

From the Dover Express, Thursday 9 December, 2010.

CHURCHILL PLANS

PLANS have been submitted for changes to the former Churchill Hotel on Dover sea front.

The request submitted to Dover District Council is for retrospective consent to change the use of an office at the closed hotel to a coffee shop along with provision of a ramped access and internal changes.

It was made on behalf of Mr Rajamenon of the "Ramada." Whitfield. through Birmingham based agents NH Interiors.

 

LICENSEE LIST

 

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