Shutters go up at Yarmouth hotel with festive diners hit

The Star Hotel in Great Yarmouth.Photo: Paul HewittCopy:Anthony CarrolFor:EDP 2EDP pics © 2008(01603

The Star Hotel in Great Yarmouth.Photo: Paul HewittCopy:Anthony CarrolFor:EDP 2EDP pics © 2008(01603) 772435

Dozens of festive diners have had their Christmas Day cancelled after a landmark hotel on Great Yarmouth's historic riverside suddenly shut this week.

The Star Hotel in Great Yarmouth.Photo: Paul HewittCopy:Anthony CarrollFor:EDP2EDP pics © 2008(01603

The Star Hotel in Great Yarmouth.Photo: Paul HewittCopy:Anthony CarrollFor:EDP2EDP pics © 2008(01603) 772435

Contractors are today, Friday, on site at the Star Hotel in Hall Quay fixing metal covers to the windows and doors, a process that has taken three days.

Staff in the neighbouring Larke's estate agents expressed their shock and said activity to close down the building began at around 1pm on Wednesday.

Several passers-by had also called into their office to ask what was going on.

The hotel was this week plunged into darkness except for a few lights on in the river-facing Nelson Bar.

Festive trimmings were clearly visible and banners pinned to the front railings continued to advertise their party nights, Christmas Day offer and New Years Eve party.

One reader said via Facebook: 'We booked our first Christmas dinner at the Star Hotel in Great Yarmouth.

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'As it was only going to be myself my husband and my elderly father in law, everything was booked and paid for. This morning (Wednesday) they phoned to say they had to cancel, as they have a sewage problem.

'They said the refund would come back into our account within three to five days.

'But everywhere is already fully booked. We have moved recently and got no dining table. I've tried the Cliff Hotel and they are fully booked, as it seems is everywhere.

'I wanted it to be lovely for my father in law who is in his 80s.'

The woman had paid £105 for three people to enjoy Christmas dinner with all the trimmings at the hotel, and was moved to an earlier sitting because it was apparently fully booked.

Another disappointed person having to re-arrange their Christmas Day, and who did not want to be named, had also paid £35 a head for his party. He said: 'We also booked for Christmas lunch and paid up-front and were promised a refund, I would not be surprised if the money is lost and our Christmas ruined.'

Ian Chinn who lives in Great Yarmouth and walks past the distinctive black and white facade at least twice a day said he was saddened by the sudden closure.

As the owner of the Ferry Inn in Horning he said he would do all he could to accommodate Christmas Day guests who had been let down by the last-minute closure that was certain to upset festive plans.

The Pub on the Prom in Great Yarmouth has also said it can help out.

In 2007 East Anglia-based hotels group Elizabeth Holdings put seven of its businesses up for sale, with asking prices totalling more than £12m.

The hotels being marketed on a leasehold basis included the 40-room Star Hotel, at a premium of £195,000.

The status of the company The Star Hotel (Great Yarmouth) Limited is listed as in liquidation on the Companies House website.

Parts of the Grade II listed building are said to date back to the 17th century.

Admiral Lord Nelson was reputed to be a regular guest staying in what became known as the Nelson Room.

The elaborate fixtures and fittings of the room are now on display at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

The hotel is being advertised for sale on Rightmove for £685,000.