Hotel reopens after ‘Beast from the East’ disaster

The Old Rectory Hotel at Martinhoe in Exmoor has reopened following an extensive repair scheme, after suffering heavy damage from the ‘Beast from the East’.

The period of severe weather and low temperatures, which lasted for over a week at the end of February this year, caused pipes to freeze and a header tank in the attic to collapse, pouring water on the main hotel building, the bedrooms and into the reception rooms on the ground floor.

Neighbours, who had been on caretaking duty whilst the couple were away, were unable to get to the hotel as the area was completely cut off by snow for a number of days, meaning that the water emptied for a prolonged period and resulted in substantial damage

Owner Huw Rees said that had the water not caused the electrics to trip, the damage would have been much worse as the tank would have continued to refill.

Andrew Gibbins from insurance firm NFU Mutual, said: “The damage was extensive but could have been so much worse. Immediately after the assessors visited we were able to set the wheels in motion to get Huw and Sam’s business up and running in time for the start of the busy holiday season.

“We work very closely with our members to reinstate the property to meet their vision and expectations; from choosing the right contractors and suppliers to the design and architecture, we like to make absolutely sure they are happy with the result.”

Rees said: “We used some incredible local firms to help put the hotel back together and the speed at which they worked, coupled with their attention to detail and commitment to meeting the tight deadline meant that we were happily able to warmly welcome all of our guests for their holidays.”

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