16th century Devon hotel unveils lockdown refurbishment

Eloise Hanson Eloise Hanson Uploaded 11 August 2020

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UK: Furzeleigh Mill, a country house hotel in Buckfast, secured £50,000 in funding during the lockdown period to complete a full refurbishment of the premises.

The hotel’s owners, Tessa and Geoff Sellick, began renovating the property in February 2020 with the aim of finishing the work the following winter. They planned to use income generated over the peak summer months to support the project.

In response to the coronavirus lockdown, the couple secured £50,000 from the government’s Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) through Natwest.

The facility has been used to completely revamp the hotel, including modernising the restaurant, bar, and its 10 guest rooms. Part of the funding was also invested in hospital grade sanitisation machines and stations, as well as other measures to make the establishment COVID-19 safe.

Tessa Sellick said: “We bought Furzeleigh Mill with the aim of it being a long-term business for us, so even though the hotel is currently trading at around 35 per cent of what it was during the same period last year, we’re hopeful we’ll get through this difficult period.

“Doing the renovation work ourselves in the middle of a pandemic was challenging but we now have a business that we’re really proud of and one that reflects our personalities. Bedroom bookings have started to pick up and we’re hopeful that we’ll see demand increase further as more people look to holiday in the UK this year.

“The building is Grade II-listed with lots of small rooms so having a one-way system throughout was tricky, but with the support from NatWest, we’ve invested heavily in other areas to make sure the hotel is safe for our customers and our staff.”

Andy Rowe, relationship manager at NatWest, added: “Tessa and Geoff have done a great job refurbishing Furzeleigh Mill. Their determination to finish the work themselves during lockdown shows their passion for this business, which we are proud to support. We wish them all the best.”

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