Questions remain over future of Southport's only-four star hotel

Waterfront Hotel in Southport
-Credit: (Image: Soutport Visiter)

Questions remain over the future of Southport's only four-star hotel after it went up for sale more than 18 months ago.

The sale of the Waterfront Southport Hotel is being led by Christie & Co and Savills while an asking price has not been revealed. The companies behind the hotel, which used to be called Bliss Hotel, collapsed into administration in October 2022.

Paul Davies and Sandra Mundy of advisory firm James Cowper Kreston were appointed by Waterfront Southport Properties Ltd and Waterfront Hotels (Southport) Ltd to oversee the process. In May last year, it was reported that a preferred buyer had been identified by James Cowper Kreston for the hotel. However, the property was remarketed in October last year after a deal was not reached.

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The hotel, which is located on Southport’s waterfront next to the planned £73m Marine Lakes Events Centre, was first put on the market at the end of September 2022. Thankfully for the council, it has remained trading since the companies entered administration.

The Waterfront remains in plans that involve the new Marine Lake Events Centre which is due to open in 2026 following the demolition of the now empty Southport Theatre and Convention Centre. In a report from 2021, Sefton Council announced Southport's needs for more hotels, just one year before Bliss Hotel's owners fell into administration.

In a Sefton Council Cabinet report in 2021, Sefton Council Executive Director of Corporate Resources and Customer Services Stephan Van Arendsen said: “The Council’s Tourism and Regeneration teams recently commissioned a ‘Hotel and Visitor Accommodation Study’, which identified a need for a greater range of visitor accommodation types, and a need for a significantly increased supply of hotel bed spaces, particularly in Southport.”

Throughout the process of the sale, the council has remained in touch with the administrators, being kept in the loop as they remain on track for their 2026 vision of Marine Lake. Behind the scenes, the council is keeping an eye on the sale without being actively involved as the wait continues to find a new owner.

In December 2022, it was reported that Waterfront Southport Properties Ltd owed £18.2m to its creditors when it entered administration. At the start of this year, the hotel was forced to change its name after a former boss demanded £20,000 a month.

The town is set to see an influx of hotels, with The Garrick looking to introduce a spa theatre hotel to Lord Street, JD Wetherspoon has submitted an application to install a 30-bed hotel and The Cove is set to completely transform Southport Esplanade with a 200-room four star hotel.

Despite the potential and plans for the town, there is still a lingering juxtaposition as question marks remain over the Waterfront Hotel that sits proudly on Marine Lake.

A spokesperson for Sefton Council said: “We continue to engage with the Waterfront Hotel administrators in order to keep them up to date with the progress of the Marine Lake Events Centre project, as well as to discuss any matters that physically link both sites.

“Southport is a town that has an ever increasing potential for investment and we regularly receive enquiries from interested third parties about unlocking that potential in various sites around the town, which is in no small part down to the investment that has already been committed by Sefton Council, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and the private sector.”

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