March 6 2015 Latest news:
Ben Woods, Business writer
Saturday, March 15, 2014
A high-profile Norwich hotel could change hands after its lease was put up for sale.
The freeholders of the St Giles House hotel said they were looking to find the “right buyer” but were happy to carry on if not.
The previous owners Norfolk Hotels Ltd sold the hotel lease back to Sutherland Walk Developments on January 10 this year.
It is now being run by Ensco 1035, which is trading as St Giles House.
Rachel Roofe, general manager at the hotel, said it was time for someone new to run the business on St Giles Street – but she hopes to remain in her position.
It came as she revealed plans to reopen the Green Man at Rackheath, which has been closed since November 2012.
A creditor’s meeting will be held for Norfolk Hotels Ltd on Friday March 21, according to information published by the London Gazette.
“We are going through a sale at the moment,” she said. “It’s hard work and time for somebody else to take it over.
“But I would like to stay at St Giles House hotel as the general manager for as long as anybody wants me to.
“We plan to open up the Green Man on April 5,” she added. “I will be running it with the former chef of the St Giles House hotel.”
Rachel and her ex-husband Patrick Roofe previously held the lease to The Beeches Hotel on Earlham Road, Norwich, and helped launch Roger Hickman’s Restaurant on Upper St Giles Street.
Since then, the pair have sold the restaurant back to Roger Hickman, while relinquishing their control of The Beeches to MJB Hotels.
Elsewhere, the previous owners of the St Giles House hotel saw their business collapse into liquidation in 2007 after its wealthy Russian backers pulled the plug on its finances.
The Really Nice Hotel Company – run by Lana and Carleton Van Selman – was forced to hand the running of the hotel back to Sutherland Walk Developments after its cashflow came under pressure when Russian relatives stopped funding the business.
TV companies had made fly-on-the-wall documentaries about the owners of the hotel, but it was an establishment constantly surrounded by claims of financial difficulties.
The couple had carried out a multi-million pound refurbishment of the site, which now has a bar, bistro and a health spa.
With a reputation as one of the toughest people in business, many stores would shudder at the thought of getting the Mary Portas treatment.