September 14, 2021 5.33 pm

Grantham couple “in the dark” over wedding as second hotel takes in Afghanistan refugees

Wedding going ahead, but guests bookings cancelled suddenly

A Grantham couple due to get married in October said they have been “left in the dark” after their hotel venue was contracted by the government to house families who have assisted the British Armed Forces in Afghanistan.

This isn’t the first hotel in Grantham to be affected after The Urban Hotel cancelled bookings and weddings for at least the next six months after it was contracted to take in Afghanistan refugees.

The couple, who wish to remain anonymous, told The Lincolnite that several of their guests were contacted by booking.com to cancel their stay at Stoke Rochford Hotel in Grantham without any explanation.

The bride and groom enquired with the hotel and said they were given very mixed messages. When they finally got through to someone on the front desk on the phone, they said they were told the hotel was being renovated. Then someone else from the hotel said the British Forces from Afghanistan were staying there before they were later told that rooms were being used for refugees.

The couple claim they were told around four or five weeks ago that they could have a now reduced number of 19 rooms for their guests, but wouldn’t have any access to the remaining of around 80.

Bedrooms at the Stoke Rochford Hotel in Granhtam have been kept aside for families who have assisted with the British Armed forces during their time in Afghanistan. | Photo: R S Mortiss

An email sent to the couple last month by a Senior Wedding and Events Coordinator at the hotel, which has been seen by The Lincolnite, said: “I have received notice today (August 12) from my manager that some of our accommodation has been requisitioned by the government, meaning we are unable to provide accommodation in the courtyard accommodation block.

“Please note this does not include accommodation in the Main House. This requisition takes affect from tomorrow (August 13) until further notice.

“The bedrooms are for families who have assisted with the British Armed Forces during their time in Afghanistan helping with the ongoing violence there.

“As explained above, this has been a sudden announcement to ourselves and sadly as it has been acquisitoned by the Home Office it is out of our control.

“This will not impact your wedding day at all and we are in the process of reallocating as many rooms as possible into the Main House and personally getting in touch with any guests that may have to be moved.”

The couple are not looking to cancel the wedding, but just want proper communications and answers, especially after paying the hotel over £6,000 for their happy day, which had already been postponed once already due to the coronavirus pandemic.

After struggling to get replies from the hotel over the last four weeks, the couple said they finally had a response from the General Manager on Tuesday, September 14 saying he was looking into it. However, since the initial email with the announcement, they feel like they have been ignored.

The situation at the Stoke Rochford Hotel appears to have caused a lot of confusion and frustration for people with weddings and other bookings. | Photo: R S Mortiss

The couple said: “We are still not getting much communication and are not sleeping. We are meant to be looking forward to it, which we were before this happened.

“We feel incredibly stressed and left completely in the dark and hung out to try. As far as we know the wedding is still going ahead, but our guests can’t all stay at the hotel.

“A key aspect of this communication is the hotel claiming it’s out of their control – something I am very dubious about because from what I understand venues have to apply to the government to take on refugees, and are rewarded with significant financial compensation for doing so.

“I would like to make it clear that we think it is absolutely the right thing for hotels to offer help to refugees – that’s not the part we have issue with. It’s the complete lack of communication we’ve had since from the venue to make sure our day can still go ahead.”

They added: “We don’t feel like we have a choice (not to have the wedding there). If we were to get a refund we won’t be able to get anywhere else short notice. We feel quite trapped and tied into it.”

The couple also don’t know who their best point of contact is after finding out from a third party that their wedding co-ordinator has left her role, which had not been communicated to them.

It has also been alleged by other people that several phone calls and emails regarding weddings have been ignored, and comments from brides made on the hotel’s social media have been removed, or users blocked/banned without explanation.

Stoke Rochford Hotel in Grantham. | Photo: R S Mortiss

The Lincolnite contacted Stoke Rochford Hotel for a response, but had no reply by the time of publication.

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