The history of The Clarendon Showtel starts over 30 years ago in 1986. Back then we were just one single building; 22 Clarendon Road. Over the years the hotel has expanded to the current building you now know. We were also known as ‘The Winterbourne’
Sometime in the 90’s the owners put in planning permission to extend the hotel even further, but this time to the rear. The plans show that had it happened the rear of the property would have had a glass walkway to another 2 story building housing many more bedrooms, a car park and a courtyard garden. Whilst the planning permission was granted the owners decided not go ahead due to ill health.
Karen started working for The Winterbourne when she was just 19. Learning every aspect of the business she had no idea she was gaining knowledge to run the business in the future.
In the late nineties one of the owners was diagnosed with incurable cancer. He set in-motion the sale of the hotel. Unfortunately at that time Blackpool had seen a downturn in visitor numbers and they received no interest. Whilst this was going on Karen silently waited, pondering whether or not she could take over the business.
She eventually got up the courage to ask the owners about the possibility of them selling it to her. This they did, but not without certain stipulations. Karen took the hotel over in 2002 and ran it for the next 8 years.
Unfortunately due to a massive decline in visitors to Blackpool and the rising expectations of guests she was unable to keep up with modernisation and the trade all-but dried up. In 2010 Karen was told to shut the doors and hand the keys back to the bank.
At the time James regularly performed at The Winterbourne and was a close friend of Karen’s. One night at the end of a show as they sat talking, she told him at the end of that week she was closing the doors. He asked her not to throw the towel in just yet as he had an idea.
In the en-suing months we came up with a new 3 year business plan and submitted it to the bank. To our surprise it was accepted.
The mortgage company were also impressed with the plan and they setup a new form of repayment. Something that was a first, and we believe was so successful that they decided to roll it out across the country to help other struggling businesses.
In 2011 Simon joined James and Karen and they immediately started thinking of a new USP for the business. This turned out to be Fosses Theatre. Extensively refurbishing the bar, they put in all new seating, lighting and most importantly a Stage. March 2012 was the very first performance at Fosses Theatre.
Later that year we were invited to take part in Channel 4’s ‘Four In A Bed’. This immediately sparked the first of much needed renovations to the hotel. In September/October 2012 James & Simon set off to film the program. It was a very tiring 2 weeks but worthwhile. WE WON. The programme aired in January 2013 to a generally positive audience.
We were inundated with calls for 2 weeks solid and we made many new friends and gained a great core-group of regular guests. We often get asked if we would do it again, and of course we would. We had a ball.
The hotel has continually been refurbished every year but nothing like we did in 2016. During January-May we ripped out the entire ground and first floor rooms and completely renovated and modernised them. We also changed the name to reflect a more modern feel and give a fresh face to our new look hotel. Once again we have boosted trade in a flailing economic climate.
We could not, of course, do this without the help of our friends and family. All of which have been deeply involved in the building of our business, so when we say we are a family run hotel, it really means something deeper. Without these people we would not have a business.
We continue to gain experience in our business and we always try to make sure you (our guest) is at the very top of our priorities. If you have any suggestions in how we can improve your experience we are always willing to hear from you.