Staff fired, guests canceled last minute, and weddings in turmoil as major UK hotel closes its doors to house migrants

The hotel in the southwest English city of Bristol will accommodate up to 500 asylum seekers after closing its doors to the public. (Credit: Shutterstock)
By Thomas Brooke
4 Min Read

Staff at one of the largest hotels in the English city of Bristol have lost their jobs and weddings at the venue have been canceled after the building was requisitioned by the Home Office to accommodate migrants.

Local media reported an unnamed hotel had canceled all its bookings at short notice despite being booked up for the autumn with a number of conferences and business events due to be held on the premises.

The hotel has been named online as the Mercure Bristol Holland House in the city center, and this appears to have been confirmed by several disgruntled prospective guests who have left online reviews recounting their recent communication with the hotel.

“Never got to experience my stay at this hotel because my booking was canceled last minute. I have now been informed it is because they have taken on a Home Office contract and will be closed to the public indefinitely,” wrote one user.

“They have given the hotel to illegal migrants. Don’t try and book,” added another.

“We had a great stay but found out upon leaving that they’re closing permanently this week,” wrote a third.

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According to Bristol Live, the hotel’s ownership has changed hands following a takeover this week, with the premises understood to have been sold or leased to a Home Office contractor tasked with accommodating asylum seekers.

Staff without permanent contracts have been informed they are surplus to requirements without any notice, while weddings due to take place at the venue in the near future have been thrown into turmoil.

“People were told they were losing their jobs with just a couple of days’ notice. It is sad to see a hotel that was doing well and bringing in tourists to Bristol treated this way by its owners. It is sad for the nearby schools and businesses,” one former staff member told local media.

“It’s not like this was a failing hotel as a business. We were booked up, we had lots of conferences booked in, and it was busy. We’d come back really strong after the pandemic, but now to see this is just a shame, really. Lots of staff there had stayed there for years because of the great team that ran the hotel, the company, and the management, and now that’s gone,” added another.

The hotel, which comprises 275 rooms and 12 conference venues, is expected to have capacity for around 500 asylum seekers once work to convert the corporate facilities into rooms has been completed.

The hotel has since been removed from booking sites.

The revelation contradicts the government’s claim that it is seeking to relocate migrants to disused army bases and floating barges in order to relieve the burden on UK taxpayers, which currently sits at more than £6 million per day.

At the latest count, over 50,000 migrants awaiting a decision on their asylum applications are residing in taxpayer-funded accommodation, and new arrivals in small boats across the English Channel are reported every day.

On Saturday, the U.K. experienced its highest total of new arrivals in a single day this year as 872 people successfully reached England’s southern shores in 15 vessels from mainland Europe.

This brought the total figure so far this year to 20,973 migrants in 436 boats, although a further 113 were brought ashore on Sunday and another 286 arrived on Monday as the warmer weather encouraged more migrants to make the trip from France.

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