17 November 2014
The news was made public today that Lyndhurst Park Hotel will close its doors in January 2015.
This news makes me sad, as I've probably spent more time in the hotel over the last 2-3 years than anyone who wasn't employed there.
Since the beginning of 2012 the hotel has been the unofficial home of my Photo Experience Days business. At some point nearly everyone who has been on a PED has visited the hotel with me, and hence it's become a place, despite its many quirks that I've grown to love.
At times the service has been awful, but over the last few months since the change of ownership and a shiny new manager things have improved hugely. The renovations had started, and I was told would continue in 2015. Things were looking rather positive for the old place.
Now it would seem that the new owners, St James's Hotel Group perhaps only wanted the hotel for the land it stood on, and not as a going concern. The plans for the site seem rather uninspiring, which is a shame because it had so much potential to be one of the prime hotel locations in the New Forest. The owners have also recently announced plans to sell off Southampton Park Hotel as well, so I imagine that'll also be redeveloped as well.
Over the years I've helped bring alot of people / business into the hotel. I helped bring a well known business breakfast networking group to the hotel, as well as bringing what I'm guessing must be around 3000 budding photographers through over the last three years through running my Photo Days there.
I've enjoyed hundreds of cups of tea there, nearly as many bacon & cheese toasties, made friends with many of the staff, and even got myself a wedding to shoot next year for one of their ex-employees.
On a sunny summers afternoon, there is no better place in Lyndhurst than sitting in the garden, chilling the day away.
Hopefully I'll be able to plan a PED meet up for January before the doors close for the final time. Check the PED website for a date.
My thoughts are currently with the staff who work there, and I'm very much hoping they land on their feet. Sylwia, Sue and Paul, that means you! Thank you again for looking after me so well on my birthday in September!
Lyndhurst Park Hotel, aka Fawlty Towers. You will be missed by many!
Please leave any comments you have about your memories of the hotel below....!