Torquay showman to stay on to give 'full Grosvenor Hotel experience'
THE OUTLOOK for both staff and visitors at Torquay's most high-profile hotel is already changing.
With Mark Jenkins at the helm came a strong personality, a self-confessed showman, magnified 100 times through the lens of a television programme.
As the rain poured down and coach party guests loitered, the 'mount your dolphins' T-shirts were still for sale in the reception, as well as a mocked up front page of OK called 'Oi' with all the stars of The Hotel.
New owner Keith Richardson has established his own personality within his group, building it up from scratch over 40 years.
Holiday Home FOR SALE in Brixham, South Devon £2500 OFF any Regal...View details
Holiday Home FOR SALE IN BRIXHAM WITH SEA VIEWS over looking St. Mary's Bay beach. Come and take a look today. ONE WEEK ONLY. Facilities on site. Pools, Ents, Club, Shop. Quiet park with stunning area
Terms: Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer or with a P/X on park. Come and take a look today and own your own part of South Devon. For allot less than you can imagine!! Letting permitted
Contact: 01803 220485
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
But the life-sized cardboard cut-out that greets visitors who walk into his Grand Hotel has nothing on the five million TV viewers expected to watch the new series of The Hotel.
Some value of the Grosvenor in its present state is actually based on the publicity from the television series, and to that extent, Mark Jenkins.
In the short time I waited for the new boss to arrive, two cars stopped, wound down their windows, took a mobile phone photo, and drove off.
Keith has arranged for Mark Jenkins to stay on at The Hotel to give the people what they want, the full Grosvenor experience.
At the same time though improvements will be made in almost all aspects of the hotel to get it up to three-star status.
Richardson group's full-time upholsterer will be heading in, two painters have already arrived, a French polisher will be drafted in, and the rooms restored to their former glory.
The £200,000 marketing machine currently dealing with his four hotels will also be used for the Grosvenor, which currently can't take online bookings.
Mr Richardson said Mr Jenkins had to use all the income to keep afloat, with no reserves to invest in the future.
He is confident the publicity of The Hotel early next year will drive sales, even when it shows the business struggling.
The team from makers Dragonfly have been back again with their camera, as recently as this weekend. They have followed Keith in the full ballrooms of The Grand, and flown with him in his helicopter down to Falmouth.
Mr Richardson is hopeful that instead of leaving the impression it has closed, the documentary will see the hotel as 'saved' and that showman Mark Jenkins will be here, ready and waiting, to simply entertain the new guests.