A MULTImillion-POUND plan has been revealed to transform the Queen’s Hotel in Southsea.
A consortium, spearheaded by Farid Yeganeh, has bought the hotel and is looking to spend £7m on revamping it.
I am honoured to have the opportunity to bring this sleeping beauty back to life.
Mr Yeganeh, who grew up in Portsmouth and has been involved in the hospitality industry since he was 11, said it was a ‘childhood dream’ of his to own the Queen’s Hotel.
He used to visit it with his dad when he was a boy and always hoped to own it.
He said: ‘I’m honoured to have the opportunity to bring this sleeping beauty back to life. Portsmouth deserves a quality hotel to be proud of and I will be doing everything in my power to make this happen.’
Mr Yeganeh and his two business partners have ambitious plans to bring the hotel in Clarence Parade ‘into the 21st century’.
Planning permission had previously been given to convert the upper floors to flats and create a smaller, boutique hotel on the lower floors.
But the consortium wants to keep the whole building a hotel.
The plan is for it to have 104 bedrooms, including penthouses, and to reopen and refurbish the other areas of the building that have been closed for many years.
And it is hoped to become a four-star hotel that can accommodate visiting dignitaries and celebrities.
Mr Yeganeh added he already has ideas for a fine-dining restaurant, a jazz bar in the basement and making the venue more suitable for upmarket weddings and other events.
Councillor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council, welcomed the proposals.
She said: ‘The Queen’s Hotel occupies one of the best locations in Portsmouth.
‘The impressive looking building is a landmark in Southsea.
‘I’m delighted the new owners are retaining the hotel and have plans to substantially improve it.
‘This will be good for the local economy and will help to attract more visitors to the city while creating new jobs and protecting existing jobs.
‘They have ambitions plans that will add to the vibrancy of the area.’
The owners want the hotel to appeal to both residents and visitors to Portsmouth and are looking for support from the council and people in the city.
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackon, leader of the Portsmouth Liberal Democrat party, said: ‘I have spoken to the people involved and I hope it means that the Queen’s Hotel is refurbished and revitalised.
‘It would be good to see it back to the place in Southsea that it used to have.
‘I’m really looking forward to it happening and that this group are willing to invest money into the hotel.
‘I just hope it happens like they are planning.’
In the 1900s, the Queen’s Hotel was frequented by the rich and famous including King George VI, Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle.
During the 1950s and 60s it was modernised to host large conferences.
Nick Courtney, of the People’s Plan for Southsea Facebook group, said: ‘With South Parade Pier already nearing completion, things are finally looking up for Southsea,’ he said.
‘It’s great to see another local businessman injecting valuable resources back into our city.
‘Let’s hope this is just the start of many more exciting projects on our seafront.’
The consortium is hoping to have the development finished by 2020.