Bournemouth hotel for sale after owner’s cancer diagnosis – Bournemouth Echo

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Ken Robins, 77, is selling Hotel Celebrity in Gervis Road for £1.295m due to a combination of age and a diagnosis of stage four prostate cancer some 18 months ago. 

Mr Robins said his cancer has spread to various parts of his body and, although receiving drugs, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, there is no cure or remission. 

“I am pleased to note that to date I am dealing with the treatment well, though I do now need to use a walking stick, (as well as being in various soft tissue areas the cancer has spread to the hip bone), and I work primarily from home,” he said. 

Bournemouth Echo:

“My life expectancy as of now is five-plus years so I am projected to live longer than the ‘average’.  

“This is mainly as I have no other medical conditions, have a healthy lifestyle, exercise regularly and am not obese and have the ‘right attitude’ with respect to taking the diagnosis on board and being positive re the treatment. 

“It simply makes sense to retire.” 

Hotel Celebrity is most famous for being the place where the Oscar-winning film Casablanca first started its life. 

It was in one of its rooms writer Murray Burnett began work on the play that became the basis for the romantic drama of 1942. 

Bournemouth Echo: Ken Robins with the Hancock family typewriter from the 1930sKen Robins with the Hancock family typewriter from the 1930s (Image: Bournemouth Echo)

In those days, the hotel had a dedicated writing room where Burnett started turning his experiences of wartime Europe into the story of Everybody Comes To Rick’s. 

Today, the hotel is being run by an experienced manager who has held his role for several years with Mr Robins’ wife, the former head chef, as his deputy. 

And Mr Robins said Hotel Celebrity, along with his other hotel Grove Hotel, is operating profitably and well. 

“I know other hotels are in trouble, the old Queens went into administration a couple of weeks back but we are not in that boat,” he said. 

“The key reason why we remain successful in a difficult trading environment is that we have operated the hotel for over 25 years so we know what we are doing – which is not the case for many other hoteliers newly come to the business.  

“Also of course we don’t have the debts that many of the hotels that have failed have. 

“I deeply regret having to put the hotel on the market – after 25-plus years of ownership I had no intention of selling it but the reality is that, at my age and medical condition, it is the only sensible alternative.   

“When our three children were young we lived at the hotel for many years, so it is a real wrench.” 

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