The Ghost Hotel

#SoHoEx is dabbling in political waters now. I’m going to take a stab at writing about how it feels to close an hotel, ask staff to take unpaid leave (or redundancy) for up to four months and mothball a business that’s taken almost 10 years to perfect.

If you’re not in this business yourself, you’re entitled not to consider the multiple implications of closing a tightly run, staff dependent, independent and proud operation. To be fair, there are multiple different areas of the economy equally affected by Covid-19. Which makes it all the more weird that our government is showing no leadership or sense of urgency whatsoever. As business owners, we’ve been examining all aspects of this crisis, minutely, since early last week. As business owners, we need at this time to show decision-making and confidence in our product and staff. The same is not true of government, which hasn’t yet switched on to the magnitude of this crisis. Playing around in the foothills of business rates relief, or extending SSP for an extra three days are nothing more than headline grabbing, on the cheap, sticking plasters; they don’t even cover the injury. I’m sitting on my hands, waiting for some kind of financial relief where it’s needed most: in the pockets of my staff and the rest of the population who are suddenly without wages.

On the plus side, the business is as financially resilient as it can be, our staff are phenomenally loyal and we think we can get team SH to the other side in as good a shape as possible. We are continuing with our two external projects: the Green Room (our glass garden pavilion) and SevenCentral (our luxury self catering apartment next door to the hotel). Charlie, our cult-status painter and decorator is working his way through the bedrooms without interruption. There will be sunshine, summer and parties at the end of this road.

To our regular guests, our lovely locals, to anyone who appreciates hard work, a glamorous outlook and genuine passion, please keep in touch. We’ll be posting updates about life at SH. We might even give you a few little history anecdotes to pass the time. And the time for diggers is past; we’re building real walls now, installing a bathroom, a kitchen: making spaces for you to come back to.

Team SH is here in spirit, if not in person all at the same time. You can ask us questions, make future bookings and plan for later this year anytime. At time of writing we’re hoping to re-open by the end of June and we’ll keep you updated if this changes.