Couple devastated after hotel suddenly closes

Zane and Tom Johnstone
Zane and Tom Johnstone

A COUPLE were left devastated after the hotel they booked for their 40th wedding celebration suddenly closed down two days before the event.

Zana and Tom Johnstone were due to attend the Sussex Edwardian Hotel, formerly High Beech Hotel, in Eisenhower Drive on Saturday.

But on Thursday night they received a phone call to say the hotel had close down.

The couple’s son had gone to do his window cleaning job at the hotel when he noticed it was closed and deserted.

That left them just 24 hours to find an alternative venue as 80 guests had been booked in some travelling from Lancashire and Scotland.

Their daughter Adele worked around-the-clock and managed to find Centre Stage in London Road, Bexhill was available.

Mr and Mrs Johnstone, who live in Ford Drive, say their family has spent £360 at the hotel. They also had to pay £125 for Centre Stage and are now seeking compensation.

The hotel underwent a change of management on January 1 when Clare Hassan and chef Eduard Hasaj took on a lease to run the business under the name E & C Hotels Ltd.

But on April 18, solicitors acting for Ms Hassan informed hotel owner Dr Wyramutto Maheswaran they intended to leave after failing to agree terms over the lease.

A statement issued by Heringtons solicitors on behalf of Dr Maheswaran said: “The Maheswaran family were not given the opportunity to arrange to meet current bookings or organise a smooth transition.

“Enquiries in relation to booking taken between January 1 and April 19 should be made direct to Clare Hassan.

“The hotel will endeavour to put guests in touch with the appropriate persons to deal with the appropriate persons to deal with any issues arising from bookings that can not be honoured.

“The Maheswaran family deeply regret that bookings were taken and payments received in which, in the absence of an agreed lease, Clare Hassan, Eduard Hasaj or E & C Hotels Ltd could not have been confident of fulfilling those bookings.”

Dr Maheswaran is aiming to reopen the hotel as soon as possible.

Mrs Johnstone, 57, a supervisor at Marshall Tufflex, said: “I was in tears when I found out - I was just shaking with rage.

“I just could not understand how they could do this to us.

“We booked way back in November and have been to the hotel before for work related meetings.

“I had always been satisfied with the standards and service.

“Just the week before we had gone in to pay for some of the rooms.

“We had family coming from Scotland and Lancashire - it was a nightmare situation.”

Adele had to take time off from her cleaning business to frantically find a new venue and inform all the guests.

She said: “It was very stressful and upsetting for my parents.

“They had planned ahead for six months for the occasion and were very excited.

“Family were coming from all over the place. I was up all night Thursday letting them know.

“It’s disgusting we have been treated like this. My family is more than £500 out of pocket now and we want our money back.”