Center Parcs has reversed a decision to close its accommodation for the Queen’s funeral on Monday after a backlash from guests.
Customers had been told they would be turfed out at 10am on Monday September 19 for 24 hours, forcing them to find alternative accommodation.
After receiving complaints, Center Parcs has offered to allow guests on “longer duration breaks” to remain on site on Monday.
The villages are still set to close at 10am on Monday, meaning guests will not be able to use any facilities, and Center Parcs has offered a 17% refund of the lodge cost to affected visitors.
We recognise that leaving the village for one night and returning is extremely inconvenient
In a statement, the holiday firm said: “Like many businesses we have taken the decision to close all our UK villages on Monday September 19.
“This decision was taken as a mark of respect and to allow as many of our colleagues as possible to be part of this historic moment.
“We have contacted all the guests due to arrive on Monday September 19 and offered them a number of different options. Our villages will be open to welcome guests on Tuesday September 20.
“The vast majority of our guests are either due to arrive or depart on Monday September 19.
“We have however reviewed our position regarding the very small number of guests who are not due to depart on Monday and we will be allowing them to stay on our villages rather than having to leave and return on Tuesday.
“The villages will still remain closed on Monday and we will be offering a discount for the lack of facilities available on that day.”
In a message seen by the PA news agency, which was sent to customers on Tuesday, Center Parcs said: “Lots of guests have communicated with us today to tell us that they’re upset by this decision, particularly those guests on longer breaks.
“We recognise that leaving the village for one night and returning is extremely inconvenient.
“On reflection and having listened we have made the decision to allow guests on longer duration breaks to remain on village on Monday September 19.”
Before the U-turn, guest Tracy Groome, 58, a consultant who lives near Manchester, was concerned about where her party of nine would stay after she booked a seven-night stay at Center Parcs Elveden Forest in Suffolk. The trip – due to begin on Friday – cost more than £2,500.
She told the PA news agency: “I’m very sure it would not be what the Queen or the royal family wants.
“I’m sure they will not want everybody who was due to go to Centers Parc on a holiday to have their holiday spoiled, and for them to have this stress of trying to organise something different.”
Not everybody’s a royalist, not everybody wants to watch
Glynis Meloy, 68, from St Austell in Cornwall, is booked to stay for a week at Longleat Forest in Wiltshire in a group of six people at a cost of £1,800 and had expressed concerns about how they would spend the day if asked to leave.
“If nowhere is open, what are we meant to do with all these people all day?” she said.
“Not everybody’s a royalist, not everybody wants to watch.”
Mourning guidance from the Cabinet Office says: “Depending on the nature and location of their business and the tone of planned events, some businesses may wish to consider closing or postponing events, especially on the day of the state funeral, however this is at the discretion of individual businesses.”
Center Parcs’ five UK sites are: Elveden Forest, Suffolk; Longleat Forest, Wiltshire; Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire; Woburn Forest, Bedfordshire; and Whinfell Forest, Cumbria.
Holidays at the villages start on Fridays or Mondays and last three, four or seven nights.
A spokesman for Butlin’s said its resorts will remain open on Monday, with new arrivals asked to arrive from 3pm, two hours later than normal.
This will “allow our team time to watch the funeral and pay their respects”, he added.