Wedding dream turns to nightmare after Clifton collapse

Local bride-to-be Wendy Patrick’s wedding dream has turned into a nightmare following the collapse of the Royal Clifton Hotel.

Wendy met her now fiancé Brian Heron back in 2013 on holiday in Benidorm and knew from the start that she had met the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. “It was the first time in Benidorm for both of us. It was the last night of my holiday and his first night. That was on the 3rd of March 2013 and we have been together ever since!”

Brian popped the question exactly six years to the day they first met on 3rd March 2019 and a delighted Wendy set about planning the perfect wedding. “I’m not a young bride but it was my first wedding, and I was extremely excited about it.”

After a meeting with the Royal Clifton Hotel’s Wedding Planner and attending a Wedding Fayre on the 1st March 2020 to see the full set up at the hotel, Wendy fell in love with the venue and placed her booking, along with a £500 deposit, the very next week.

With her big day arranged to take place on Saturday 7th November 2020 in the large main room at the hotel, Wendy’s wedding arrangements were all slotting into place.

But Wendy’s plans took a blow when the first National Lockdown was announced and in June Wendy made contact with the hotel to ask if it would be possible to postpone until 2021 as both her and Brian have elderly parents and felt that even if things were “back to normal” by November they wanted to err on the side of caution as not to put any of their family members at risk.

After a tense week waiting for a response, Wendy was contacted by the hotel’s Financial Advisor who informed her that due to staff being furloughed they were dealing with incoming correspondence and would be more than happy to move the deposit and rearrange a suitable date in 2021 once the hotel had re-opened.

“From that point I just kept checking when they would be reopening so I could sort a new date out.

“In August I was told they’d open mid-September. In October I initially had no reply then the Revenue Manager emailed me to say they had confirmation they would open on the 7th November.

“In November I was told that the Wedding Planner had changed roles and the Revenue Manager was now my contact moving forward. I was told they were very excited as they were opening on the 2nd December.

“In December was told it would be end of January.”

After months of uncertainty Wendy decided last week to request her deposit be refunded so she could book an alternative venue for her and Brian’s big day, only to be met with the devastating news that the hotel fell into administration at the start of February and her deposit was unable to be refunded.

Wendy is now being directed to Duff & Phelps, who are managing the administration, to join with all the other outstanding creditors.

After sending an email and leaving a voice message for the administrator Wendy has now been asked to prove her status as an “unsecured debtor” and now faces a long drawn out process which will likely result in her not receiving the full amount of her deposit, if any of it, back.

“I am extremely upset, not just at losing the deposit, which is a lot of money especially at the moment, but at the constant change of dates.

“I wish I had caved earlier and I may have been able to retrieve my deposit back.

“I was upset that I had to postpone my wedding in the first place, but this has just added to that disappointment.”

OTS News has approached the Royal Clifton Hotel for comment but has received no response.

As for Wendy and Brian’s plans for the future, “we are in two minds as to whether we go abroad and get married with just Brian’s two daughters as witnesses or wait and have the big celebration that we want, but at the moment we just don’t know when any of that will be allowed.”

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