Christmas back on the menu for Hull’s homeless after hotel cancellation row

The DoubleTree by Hilton has offered rooms and a Christmas dinner free of charge Credit: David Davies/PA

A charity whose booking for 28 homeless people was cancelled by a Hull hotel has said “who says miracles don’t happen” after another city hotel stepped in to help.

The Royal Hotel in Hull has been widely criticised since the Raise The Roof Homeless Project revealed how the city centre establishment had cancelled its booking for 14 twin rooms for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, despite more than £1,000 being paid.

Now the project has said the DoubleTree by Hilton has stepped in to offer the rooms and a Christmas dinner free of charge.

Charity founder Carl Simpson said on Facebook: “We can confirm that the DoubleTree Hilton have offered to put up 28 people for two nights with breakfast and Xmas dinner provided and they are doing this complimentary.

“Thank you so much. We will be accepting this kind offer.”

Mr Simpson said a number of other businesses had offered services and help, including another hotel offering a Christmas dinner.

He said: “Who says miracles don’t happen?”

Cafe owner Mr Simpson also criticised the Royal Hotel’s owners, Britannia Hotels, after a spokesman explained that they cancelled the booking due to reports of bad behaviour at another hotel last Christmas.

He said these suggestions were completely untrue and described how guests sent by the project to the Ibis hotel left presents for staff and even asked for a vacuum cleaner to clean up.

Raise The Roof used the city’s Ibis hotel last year for its Christmas campaign but the venue did not have enough twin rooms available this year to repeat the booking, Mr Simpson said.

This year, he paid the Royal £1,092 for 14 twin rooms on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

He said the charity was given no explanation for the decision to cancel until Monday afternoon, when Britannia Hotels explained that it changed its mind over the booking after receiving a report of poor behaviour at the Ibis last Christmas.

A Britannia Hotels spokeswoman said the hotel took the decision after it received a call from a woman claiming to be part of the charity.

The spokeswoman said: “She had rung to warn us that the group had caused serious problems at the Ibis and that she felt we should not take the booking.

“Among the issues last year were trashing of rooms, fires, theft of hotel goods and property and damage to property.

“The hotel has a number of families and tours staying at the hotel over the Christmas period which we feel would suffer if the booking was taken.

“We have, however contacted the charity to advise that we are willing to take the booking with conditions.”

Mr Simpson said on Facebook: “This is all untrue. We do not have staff and this vindictive person was definitely not at the event last year.

“Ibis have confirmed that there was no problems last year.

“Having said this if the Royal Hotel had bothered to ask us or Ibis instead of just listening to hearsay this could have easily been resolved, instead they choose to refuse to give a reason until now.

“They have offered to reinstate our booking with conditions which we will be declining.”

Since news of the cancellation broke at the weekend, Raise The Roof’s online funding campaign has been boosted to more than £9,000.

On Monday morning, it was the most viewed page on the GoFundMe website.