The Queens Hotel in Southsea has been sold and the new owners are going to bring this beautiful, historic building back to life.
In its glory days the hotel was frequented by the rich and famous including politicians, an endless list of well known celebrities and even Royalty.
The Duke of York (later King George VI) was a regular visitor to the Hotel and during World War 2 General De Gaulle stayed at the Hotel for a long period and could often be found out on the terrace staring sadly in the direction of France. Other wartime visitors included Sir Winston Churchill and General Eisenhower.
The Hotel changed hands a few times in the 50s and 60s and was extensively modernised to include facilities for large conferences and banqueting. In the late 60s Billy Mannings who owned the Southsea Funfair was refused entry to the bar, the next day he bought the Hotel, fired the staff and moved himself into the East wing of the Hotel where he lived out his final years with a magnificent view of his beloved Funfair and the Solent.
His family continued to own the hotel for over 50 years until the recent sale. The hotel currently has planning permission to convert the upper storeys of the seafront hotel into 30 private apartments leaving a much smaller 22-bedroom boutique Hotel on the ground and first floor. The new owners however have much more ambitious plans and want to bring this grand old lady into the 21st Century, restoring her to the lovely landmark Hotel she once was.
They would like a 104 bedroomed Hotel with just a few Penthouses on the roof and plan to re-open and refurbish all the other areas of the Hotel that have now been closed for many years. They hope to make the Queens a 4 Star prestigious hotel that can accommodate visiting dignitaries and celebrities who have looked outside the City in recent years to find the standard of accommodation they required.
The consortium is spearheaded by Farid Yeganeh, a property developer who currently co-owns another hotel and has lived in the Portsmouth area all his life. Farid has been around the hotel business since the tender age of 11, his parents having successfully run a similar, smaller seafront hotel for over 20 years. Farid with his two partners aim to carve a special niche for this stunning much loved building, providing Portsmouth with the accommodation and facilities to compliment the City's hugely successful growth and development in recent years.
Farid used to visit the Queens Hotel with his dad as a boy and always hoped that one day he would be able to own it and make it great again. His enthusiasm is infectious and he already has ideas for a fine dining restaurant, a Jazz bar in the basement and making the venue more suitable for glamorous upmarket weddings, top quality Spa weekends and other special events. With the help of his investors, Farid expects to spend in the region of 7 million pounds making his childhood dream a reality.
The new owners want the Hotel to appeal to both residents and visitors to Portsmouth and consider the fact that the hotel has remained in private hands to be a huge advantage and will enable them to create the style, class and individuality normally lost in chain hotels. This is an ambitious and expensive plan for a building that has been sadly neglected for many years and the owners are looking for the support of Portsmouth City Council and from the People of Portsmouth in achieving all their objectives.
They are looking for a completion date of 2020. Farid Yeganeh one on the new owners said: "I am 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."
Donna Jones, Leader of Portsmouth City Council adds: "The Queens Hotel occupies one of the best locations in Portsmouth. The impressive looking building is a landmark in Southsea. I'm delighted that 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 whilst creating new jobs and protecting existing jobs. They have ambitions plans that will add to the vibrancy of the area."