North East Wales

Stephanie Booth says she regrets hotel chain job losses

Businesswoman Stephanie Booth says she regrets people lost their jobs when her hotel chain collapsed in July.

In her first broadcast interview since Llangollen Hotels went into administration she told BBC Wales some creditors will not get their money.

She blamed a £900,000 tax bill and losing out on a £1m loan.

The Denbighshire businesswoman said she will never borrow "a single penny from any bank, ever, ever again".

Efforts to sell four hotels were launched when Llangollen Hotels - a chain of seven - went into administration.

They are Bodidris Hall in Llandegla, Wrexham, and The Wild Pheasant, The Chainbridge and The Bryn Howel - all in Llangollen, Denbighshire.

The Wynnstay Arms Hotel in Wrexham town centre also closed.

Elizabeth Matthews, who had booked her £800 reception there, switched venues when the Wynnstay closed three weeks before her wedding, and held the event at another hotel for a further £900.

She was offered a reception at any of the other hotels in the chain which were in administration but was worried they too might close down.

She said: "I had to tell all the guests that they had to go somewhere else for the dinner...I was basically re-organising the wedding that I'd organised months previously."

Earlier this year, administrators said all bookings and deposits were being honoured while buyers were sought.

Ms Booth told BBC Wales: "Customers shouldn't lose anything. There are a few suppliers but they tend to be the big ones.

"As far as we could we looked after all the smaller people and the wage run was done in full at the end of June, so the only money outstanding was between 1 July to 8 July, which the government is paying for those people who were made redundant."

Barclays Bank has said Stephanie Booth's company had cashflow issues, was over-spending and under pressure from other creditors.

It is thought about 70 jobs were lost when the company went into administration.

Ms Booth says she regrets investing £1m in a new hotel without waiting for the bank to release the money.

She added: "When we started buying the freehold of hotels - they're very expensive so you're paying three or four million at a time - we don't have that cash available, so you have to borrow from banks.

"I regret borrowing and I'm never ever, ever going to borrow a single penny from any bank ever, ever again."

In 2009, Ms Booth appeared in BBC Wales fly-on-the-wall documentary series Hotel Stephanie showing her cope with the day-to-day problems of managing six hotels in north east Wales during the recession.

Earlier this year, she was linked with a takeover of Wrexham football club, before withdrawing from the process in May.

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