Website advertises bogus luxury hotel in South Shields apartment block
Police are investigating after an upmarket residential building in South Shields was advertised as 'one of the UK's finest hotels' on a website.
Officers say they are attempting to establish whether any crime has been committed after a company, called Royal Mills and Hotel Suites, advertised “a privately-owned luxury hotel and suites located in the heart of South Shields”.
However, the picture of the ‘hotel’ shows Collingwood House – a complex of mostly privately-owned apartments in Harbour View, River Drive, with a logo for ‘Royal Mills’ superimposed on it.
A Northumbria Police spokesman said: “Inquiries will be carried out to establish if any criminal offences have been carried out.”
The website also claims that the ‘hotel’ features a gym, swimming pool, gift shop, conservatories, tennis courts, dining spaces and a ‘stunning open wine room’.
Collingwood House is located next to Little Haven Hotel on South Shields seafront, which has told of its “complete surprise” at the content of the website.
A spokesman said: “Little Haven Hotel have no association with the so-called Royal Mills & Hotel Suites, and it comes as a complete surprise to us to see the web-based advert of a hotel, spa facilities, function rooms and even a tennis court located amongst our neighbours.
“No doubt it is an even bigger surprise to those residents who actually live there and to see their homes branded on the internet as a hotel.
“We have advised our customers and neighbours to approach this with caution as it does appear to be an internet-based advert without any physical evidence on the ground.”
A contact form on the Royal Mills’ website encourages visitors to leave their name and email address and they are also invited to call a number for a ‘personalised quotation’ for events such as weddings, activity days and parties.
When the Gazette called the number displayed on the site, the person who answered our inquiry put us on hold before the line went dead.
Further calls went unanswered.
Residents of Collingwood House and Harbour View spoke of their shock after being told of the website’s claims.
Tom Manson said: “What a carry on. I’m shocked, because it isn’t what you expect on your own doorstep.”
His wife Jennifer added: “The flats are all privately-owned, and this is the first I’ve heard of this website.”
A resident who wished to remain anonymous, said: “The website looks very convincing.”
A South Tyneside Council spokesman said: “South Tyneside Council can confirm that we are aware of the existence of the website, and we have already taken action to report it to our national agencies who deal with this type of suspected e crime.”
Website claims ‘star’ hotel is recognised as one of UK’s finest
A lavish description of ‘Royal Mills and Hotel Suites’ appears on the website.
It claims it is “recognised as one of the UK’s finest hotels”.
It adds: “The unsurpassed heritage of effortlessly gracious English hospitality and the balance between heritage and evolution is what makes Royal Mills Hotel & Suites a 5 red star luxury South Shields country house hotel and spa that constantly surprises.
“Guests staying at Royal Mills Hotel & Suites can enjoy a number of countryside pursuits, both within and outside the hotel grounds, with a wonderful selection of walking and jogging trails, tennis courts, and clay pigeon shooting.
“The surrounding area boasts an extensive collection of additional facilities within a short distance of the hotel grounds – a popular choice is an afternoon of horse riding.
“As the hotel is within a few minutes’ walk of the sea, guests can also arrange sailing, powerboating, fishing and kayaking excursions.”
On the food available, it adds: “The menu is utterly delicious and thankfully avoids the sometimes tortured ‘cleverness’ of country-hotel dining rooms.
“The set-lunch, by the way, is a steal and this is a great place to eat, whether you are a hotel guest or not.”
However, the website notes a warning as to ‘construction work’ which will take place there later this year.
It states: “During the months of November and December, the hotel will be having light construction work within the private areas of the grounds.
“These will be taking place between the hours of 8am-4pm weekdays.
“All noise and restrictions during this time will be