The grief of Plymouth couples as Moorland Garden Hotel weddings called off at the last minute


Couples were heartbroken after a Plymouth wedding venue announced it had been sold and those who booked or paid for weddings will not be refunded.The Moorland Garden Hotel in Plymouth, on the outskirts of town between Roborough and Yelverton, has announced it will be closing and the building will be sold, meaning that reservations cannot be honored.

The hotel has been closed throughout the coronavirus pandemic with staff on leave, but it is now estimated that there will be up to 60 job losses.

People who have booked events are urged to contact insurers or credit card companies to collect deposits.

The letter to clients read: “The building is being sold at a significant loss affected by recent events and is unable to reimburse your deposit (s). The company is reviewing its obligations to its creditors and the next steps in this regard, so as a first step you will need to speak with your event insurer or credit card company to recover any down payment made.

“We appreciate that this isn’t the news you wanted to hear and how upsetting it can be, so this has been prioritized today so that you have the maximum amount of time available to make alternative arrangements for your wedding. We wish you every success in booking an alternative venue and for your event.

Many frustrated couples in Plymouth are outraged that they won’t get their money back.

‘I cried my eyes for most of the morning’

They were supposed to have their dream wedding in two years

Kirstie Wood and Luke Shalgosky are another couple who will not be able to say “I do” as they had planned on the spot.

They were supposed to celebrate their dream wedding in two years on July 23, 2022, but they were distraught when they heard the news.

Kirstie said she had heard rumors about the hotel being sold before.

She said: “The first thing we heard was about two weeks ago, but it was through our photographer, it wasn’t through the venue.

“We had mentioned to the photographer that we were going to put £ 1,000 on the venue and he said, ‘I would wait a minute if I were you because I heard a rumor that they are selling. ”

“Fortunately we put it back into our savings because we thought if it did, the last thing we needed was to deposit that money and lose it.

“Then we got an email at 8:24 this morning saying that they had sold the place and are turning it into something else and we have now lost our deposit. ”

The couple, Kirstie a full-time mom and Luke an engineer, had deposited a deposit of £ 600, but unfortunately the couple cannot claim their money back.

Kirstie said, “They said we could make a claim through our insurance or the credit card people. But we can’t get insurance because our marriage doesn’t last for two years, so no insurance will do it for at least two years before the date, and we paid cash, so we can’t use the ones either. credit card.

“We are both devastated. My partner was at work, so I had to call her and break the news at work and cried most of the morning. Then it turned into a bit of anger and frustration.

“We realized we weren’t going to get our money back. ”

Kirstie added: “We already had to push it away once because I found out I was pregnant, so we pushed it away for a year and now it’s obviously just trying to find elsewhere and somewhere that will take our quantity of guests for the same price.

“We don’t really want to spend more than we were on them. ”

The couple are also expecting their second child.

“I try not to stress because I’m 34 weeks pregnant, so I try to stay calm,” Kirstie said. “It’s a bit of a nightmare. “

“I was very angry last night but today I’m just angry”

Kelly Forbes and her partner of five years, Rob, were planning to tie the knot in two weeks

Kelly Forbes and her five-year partner, Rob, were planning to tie the knot in two weeks on August 14 at a hotel near Plymouth.

At the start of the lockdown, the pair made the decision to move their happy day to August 19, 2021 to ease any uncertainty they had.

But their plans were destroyed when Kelly received the email that their location had been sold.

Kelly, a nursing student at Plymouth University, said: “We have had confirmation from the events manager that we can move the date to August of next year and that everything will be fine. But we got an email last night saying the building was sold and not reused as a hotel and there would be no refund.

“I’m just like, ‘Oh, alright, alright.’ I was very angry last night but today I’m just angry. ”

She continued, “We met with the wedding coordinator around March to review the numbers and discuss how we were going to go about with the decorating and stuff like that, because at that point we are still getting married. this year.

“Then the lockdown happened and I said I didn’t want to risk getting to the point of the wedding and then it got called off so I made the proactive decision to change it until next year. to be safe, which i was told he had booked in august of next year.

“Then the events manager sent me an email at the end of April to tell me that everything was done for next year. ”

As a full-time nursing student, Kelly decided it would be easier to make weekly wedding payments to pay off the balance.

Its last payment was made on Friday, July 31 as usual, without mention of the sale of the hotel.

The couple have so far paid £ 2,130 for their big day.

She said: “I know I haven’t paid as much as the others and I know that there are people who are getting married soon and who have just been left behind.

“But as a full-time nursing student trying to make these payments to ease my burden and then lose everything, it’s just a nightmare.

“Fortunately, I purchased marriage insurance when the foreclosure started. So if need be, I can make a claim if the hotel definitely decides not to refund, but I feel fair to other couples who are not. situation. “

“It’s supposed to be one of the happiest days but it just ruined it”

Averill Garnet and her fiance were planning to host a wedding reception at the scene on November 14 after fleeing to Orlando in October.

But their dreams fell apart after receiving an email from Moorland Hotel telling them their event was not going to happen.

Averill said: “I received an email yesterday with a lot of other people who had booked as well. Nobody mentioned anything to us.

“I know a lady received a few emails in July assuring her that everything would be fine and don’t worry they were selling the hotel to an experienced hotelier.

“But they showed up for their wedding date and found everything was barricaded. ”

She continued, “The email says we can try to claim through our credit card, but other than that they don’t refund us any deposit. According to the Moorland Hotel, they don’t give anything to anyone. ”

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The bride-to-be says she was angry when she first learned of the devastating news, but she and her partner are now looking for alternative locations.

She said: “I felt really angry at first, then visibly upset. Honestly, I don’t know what to think. I have never known a company that could simply accept your deposit.

“Everything has gone wrong so far. I know that for a lot of people the whole year has been terrible. We are trying to find a different place and hope we can keep the date. ”

But it wasn’t just the couple who lost their deposit, their wedding guests also lost money on their room reservations.

Averill said: “They also said that people who booked rooms at Moorland were not getting their money back either.

‘They were offering around £ 80 per room to people who came to our reception so I know a few people have booked and are now being told they won’t get their money back.

“I feel so bad for everyone who paid for it all. Lucky for us it was just the deposit, but for the folks who spent over £ 10,000 I feel so bad for them.

“It’s supposed to be one of the happiest days, but it’s just ruined it for a lot of people now. ”

The company issued a statement that said, “The company was looking to sell its business as an operating business with the aim of continuing its business at the Moorland Garden Hotel.

“However, it has become clear that at the end of the sale of the hotel, the buyer plans to convert the building for another use, so that the company will cease operating as a hotel and therefore will not be not able to accommodate their previously booked activity. ”

The statement said the company was “severely affected” by COVID-19, and said: “Prior to the mandatory hotel closure in late March, the ability to service all of its weddings, events and hotel stays was Claire.

“However, reducing income to zero overnight has forced him to borrow more to meet costs that have not gone away, and despite the holiday program and other important government initiatives and support from Barclays Bank, the hotel is sold at a significant loss. and is not able to return deposit payments. ”

He said the company was reviewing its other obligations to its creditors “with its professional advisers.” In 2019, she still owed the bank over £ 500,000.

The press release concludes: “This is obviously devastating news for everyone involved, customers, staff and company executives. The company has given priority to informing the bride and groom in order to allow as much time as possible to make alternative arrangements. We send them all our best wishes for their future.


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