Efforts made to entice hotels as Hilton leaves Portsmouth

The Portland Hotel in Southsea
The Portland Hotel in Southsea
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PORTSMOUTH’S attempts to woo high-quality hotels faces a setback as one of the most prestigious brands gets set to leave the city at the end of this month.

The 119-bed Hilton Hotel in Farlington is to be sold on July 31 and is believed to be turning into a Holiday Inn.

The move will halve the number of four-star hotels in Portsmouth from two to one.

However, a number of potential investors have already expressed an interest in coming to the city, with the leader of Portsmouth City Council saying the city could get its first five-star hotel in the next 12 months.

Councillor Donna Jones said: ‘It’s disappointing to have a large hotel chain leave the city. However, I am encouraged that a new hotel operator is purchasing the site. This gives great confidence in the Portsmouth tourist economy.

‘I am encouraged that the De Vere hotel chain is going to start building in North Harbour and Midland House site will be a Premier Inn.’

As reported on pages eight and nine today, Portsmouth City Council recently published a prospectus to entice high-class hotel chains and investors into the Portsmouth area.

However, the global company has told The News it is focusing its efforts on the upcoming Hilton Ageas Bowl – Southampton, which it says will ‘further strengthen our position in Hampshire’.

The prospectus, handed out to potential investors, lists 10 possible sites for new hotels in the city, many of which already have planning permission.

So far, work has started on just one of these sites.

The Portland Hotel in Kent Road, Southsea, which is currently empty, is one of those.

The News can reveal the Grade II listed building will be auctioned on July 24 with a guide price of between £1.4m and £1.6m.

The five-storey property comes with planning permission for conversion into residential flats or as a boutique hotel.

Councillor Luke Stubbs, the city council’s cabinet member for planning, regeneration and economic development, said he hopes the new owners will open the building as a hotel and not flats.

‘The flats in the planning consent are extremely small,’ he said.

‘The planning consent was one of the worst that has been passed in recent years.’