Former Island hotel manager praises staff after huge blaze


A former Isle of Wight hotel manager has praised the swift actions of his staff when the premises he now runs on the mainland suddenly became engulfed in flames.

David Bartlett was in charge of Daish’s Hotel in Shanklin for several years before moving within the Daish’s group to take over the Claremont Hotel on Eastbourne seafront, opposite the town’s famous pier.

But drama struck last Friday morning when the iconic Grade II Star listed building caught alight, and within minutes the flames began to spread through the 75-room hotel while many of its customers were having breakfast.

The alarm was raised at 8.45am and fire service arrived within minutes, with 12 pumps in attendance, as the blaze was declared a ‘major incident’.

David, who lived on the Island for more than 40 years, and is still a regular visitor, said: “The most important thing was to make sure everyone was safe, and were taken out of the hotel as quickly as possible. I am so proud of the staff who did a wonderful job, and the regular training we receive and practice for such an incident certainly paid off. It worked like clockwork.

“We had 120 guests at the hotel, and they were all evacuated within three minutes, with no serious injuries. Since the fire, the support we have received from the town’s people, including the MPs, has been unbelievable. This was devastating, but we aim to come back bigger and better.”

The Island-based Daish’s group bought the hotel in 2013, and it is generally regarded as being one of the best of the 10 they own.

Investigations into the fire are ongoing, and although many parts of the hotel, built in 1850, were completely destroyed, it is still hoped the magnificent Grade II Star facade can be saved, but at this stage it is too still early to say if any of the building can be saved, or if it will have to be demolished..