Martin Rogers says the Mercure could be serving food and drinks for Christmas. Credit: Global Hotels Leisure & Consultancy

Teamwork turns it around - with new Paignton seafront hotels aiming to open next spring

Torbay Weekly

Only four months after the collapse of the Midas Construction group threatened the future of a major redevelopment on Paignton seafront, it has emerged that two new hotels there will open within the next 12 months – one of them could be serving food and drinks for Christmas.

It is a major boost for Torbay, because the Fragrance Group’s £30 million-plus Paignton scheme – and a £23 million transformation of Torquay’s Corbyn Head Hotel – had come to symbolise the regeneration of the area.

The ‘rescue’ of the two new Paignton hotels, called the ‘Mercure’ (161 beds) and ‘Ibis Styles’ (119), has also been achieved with locally-based contractors, including many who had been floored by the demise of Midas.

Fears that the projects might be delayed for a long time had knocked the new confidence in the future of Torbay as a major tourist destination.

The hotels are expected to generate an extra £5 million a year for the local economy.

Martin Rogers, managing director of the Global Hotels & Leisure Consultancy which acts on behalf of the Singapore-based Fragrance Group, grew up in Paignton and his family ran a hotel in the town.

He revealed this week: “We could get the food and beverage side of the Mercure open for Christmas – that’s a possibility.

“The hotel itself will open probably next February.

“The Ibis Styles should also be open for Whitsun next year.”

The projects have been taken over by Cornwall’s Brady Construction Group, and Rogers commented: “I would say that at least 80 per cent of the sub-contractors are the same as before.

“Most of them are local companies – the kitchen fitters are from Paignton, the renderers from Torquay and the carpet fitters and window fitters are also local.

“I was so thrilled to think that I would be able to build two new hotels in Paignton in the first place, so I am very grateful to so many people, especially Bradys and chartered surveyors Robinson White Partnership that we were able to turn everything around so quickly.”

It was in January this year that work on the Paignton hotels ground to a halt and Midas – they had grown to become the ninth biggest company in the South-West – folded within a matter of weeks, with more than 300 redundancies.

Rogers also confirmed that work on the Corbyn Head scheme will start this August, while Fragrance also have longer-term plans to rebuild the iconic Palace in Torquay as a luxury hotel.