Such is the grandeur of the iconic Queen’s Hotel and the warmth felt from Portsmouth natives especially, that any whisperings of change or development quickly turn to news reports and rumour mills. “The Queen’s is going to be flats” seems to be commonly heard. So, we caught up with one of the new owners, a Portsmouth native himself, Farid Yeganeh to see what progress has been made since the acquisition and what we can expect in 2018 and beyond.
Farid, The Queen’s Hotel is an iconic building with such potential. How did you come to own it?
I’ve always been in the hotel business. Ever since I was a kid really as my Mum and Dad had hotels. When I was eighteen I bought a small B&B with twelve rooms and that was that. I remember being a kid and visiting the Queen’s. My father and I would sit in the old spa and sauna. I thought, one day, I’ll own this.
It seems a lot has been going on behind the scenes in the past 12 months?
We took over on the 1st April 2017 and most rooms didn’t even have hot water. There were a lot of issues we couldn’t have anticipated. We’ve spent a lot of time getting to know the building inside out. The nooks and crannies and working with surveyors, architects and interior designers to understand the building and know what is possible. Alongside that, we’ve established a team to drive the business forward. There’s been an overhaul, from the kitchen to housekeeping to senior management. There are no plans to close during the major part of the refurb so it’s essential that we implement changes on the ground now even before the building has the wow factor.
Sounds like a challenging year! What’s in store for the next 12 months?
There are lots of exciting changes planned. The ground floor is being revamped. The marble lobby floor being brought back to life is just the start. We see the ground floor as being a stunning setting for everything from weddings, to business meetings and conferences, Sunday lunches and afternoon teas to just a quiet drink in the bar. The first-floor rooms will all be completed by the end of April and the Elizabeth Room finished by the end of May! We see the Queen’s as being the heart of Southsea.
Really exciting stuff. I’d heard whisperings of a Spa?
The direction we’re taking the hotel warrants a 5* Spa. Somewhere that people from outside the city will travel to, but equally somewhere right on our doorstep. You could have the perfect escape whether it’s a day visit or an overnight stay.
Excellent! The city could really benefit from all of this. How are you feeling about it?
I’m excited. The nostalgia of the place and the potential that everyone sees is what drives us forward. We have a great team and ever-growing customer base. It’s a great opportunity which the city can greatly benefit from.
We are really happy to announce that we will be taking over the bar and gardens this summer for a special party. Watch this space to find out more.
Luke Newton is a co-founder of SWEAT Southsea. SWEAT’s functional gym is dedicated to injury rehabilitation and personal training meaning no crowds or membership fees. SWEAT also hosts bespoke classes such as Pilates, Barre and Circuits which are available on a pay-as-you-go or membership basis. If you would like to know more, then head over to www.sweat.fitness