Sir Gary Verity has reopened a landmark Leeds hotel that was devastated by the Boxing Day floods.
The Crowne Plaza, on Wellington Street, has undergone a £1m refurbishment following the damage caused by flood water that destroyed its car parks, storage facilities and vital infrastructure that kept the hotel running.
The 135-bedroom hotel, which also houses seven meeting rooms, a restaurant and a full leisure centre with gym and swimming pool, had to be thoroughly deep-cleaned at a cost of £25,000.
Forty-three internal doors and 150 square metres of carpet were replaced, as were the car park barriers, lifts and the hotel’s entire IT, telephone, electrical and heating systems – including the boilers and generators.
The cellar and store rooms also had to be fully refurbished. An additional £50,000 was spent on general maintenance and upgrading which brought the total spent to £1m.
It is estimated that in the nine weeks the hotel has been closed, it has lost £1.2m in revenue. However, its owners are confident its reopening will bring a new lease of life to both the hotel and the city’s leisure and tourism offering.
Marco Frik, general manager of the Crowne Plaza Leeds, said: “There is no doubt that the Boxing Day floods devastated our hotel’s infrastructure and that it’s been a difficult and costly journey to get to this point.
“However, we have spent more than £1m getting the hotel back to full working order, and we’ve taken the opportunity to upgrade certain areas of the hotel such as the leisure centre, so the reopening is certainly worth the wait.”
Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “I’m delighted that the Crowne Plaza has reopened after suffering such severe damage in the recent floods. The Crowne Plaza is a central part of the Leeds business community and I encourage visitors to Leeds to book a stay at the hotel.
“As well as experiencing new facilities, they can show their support in helping to get flood affected businesses back on their feet. Yorkshire is open for business and we are ready to give all of our visitors a warm Yorkshire welcome.”
Over the past two months, the Crown Plaza Leeds’ 80-strong workforce has been redeployed to other hotels across the country, with a core group held on site to man the hotel and greet any pre-booked guests who were unaware of the hotel’s closure.
A team has also been based at the Express by Holiday Inn Royal Armouries to continue the hotel’s work, managing staff, existing bookings and events.
Marco Frik added: “Boxing day was a terrible day for us as we had to fully evacuate the building, which was a very frightening experience for our staff and customers.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank my wonderful colleagues who really have gone above and beyond over the last two months to get the hotel reopened. It has been a very difficult and stressful time for us, particularly as we lost all our IT systems which meant we didn’t have access to our booking information.
“My staff worked tirelessly to contact as many people as possible and use social media networks to let guests know the situation the hotel was in and that we had unfortunately had to close.
“Our customers have been extremely patient and accommodating with us, particularly our Spirit Health club members. We are absolutely delighted to now to be at the point where we can open the doors and welcome people in once again.”
Whilst the hotel is officially reopened for business, the car park is due to reopen later in the month. The leisure centre will be partly reopened while finishing touches are made to a complete refurbishment of the swimming pool area.