Saturday, 5 January 2013

Blue Hotel

The George Hotel

Just before Christmas I went with a couple of work colleagues from out of town to 'The Head of Steam' for lunch. It was heaving and there was no way we were going to be able to get a meal so we went across St George's Square to 'The George Hotel'. We went through the deserted lobby into the deserted bar. It was properly deserted with no staff behind the bar and we had to go hunting around the building to get some service. The meal was OK but there was no draught lager or bitter behind the bar so we had Guinness. Things were clearly on the slide. The George was moving from the faded grandeur stage into just plain tatty with poor service. Now it has sadly gone into administration with it sole occupant being a security guard.

For years The George had things pretty much their own way with very few hotel options for people visiting the area that could be regarded as vaguely upmarket. There was the business rates dodging 'Huddersfield Hotel 'at the bottom end of town opposite the former pole dancing club and empty former Bingo Hall. Then more recently we have had both a Premier Inn and a Travelodge come to Huddersfield within a stones throw of the town centre. These modern budget hotels are part of a national chain were bound to draw trade away from places like 'The George'.

It is ironic that in recent years the Council has invested considerable funds into St George's Square, the Chinese granite and new fountains (one looking like a urinal), the Festival of Light and Food and Drink Festivals. None of this investment has been enough to help save the Hotel from its fate. It feels like watching someone dying of thirst next to a spring of fresh water (or a fountain). Apparently during the Food and Drink Festival 'The George' was fairly empty unable to capitalise on the tpotential trade on its doorstep. It all smacks of poor management and a disengagement from the town and the opportunities that presented themselves.

So what's the future for 'The George'? It could get another owner to limp along in the same old fashion   . Inevitably a year or two down line they will probably be in the same position. 'The George' needs a vision. It can't be a budget hotel as the competition is too great, it needs to go upmarket a bit and that will need investment to give the place a significant facelift. It will need to re-engage with the town and have a high profile Hotel Manager with strong marketing skills to draw on. 'The George' has a lot going for it, history, character, the birthplace of Rugby League in 1895 and more recently Yorkshire and Humber Microgeneration Partnership (OK only me and a few others know or care about the latter). So I and the town in general will watch with interest to see what happens next. In the meantime here's 'Blue Hotel' by Chris Isaak who is a great live act if you get chance to see him.

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