End of era as landmark Glen Helen Inn closes its doors

The Glen Helen Inn is now closed, but will be honouring all bookings and will be open during TT and Manx Grand Prix

The Glen Helen Inn is now closed, but will be honouring all bookings and will be open during TT and Manx Grand Prix

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Owners of the Glen Helen Inn have closed its doors to customers, saying it’s not economical to continue.

Brothers Graham and Mike Priest have been forced to make the decision at their restaurant and hotel, blaming the economic conditions, and high energy costs.

All functions and weddings that have been booked will be honoured – and it will be open for this year’s TT and MGP.

Graham said: ‘I feel very sad really. We had six years of looking forward to a successful place and having had a good reputation.

‘It’s sad for the staff as well. There’s not a lot of catering jobs around, and at this time of year there’s even less.

‘But sometimes you have to make hard decisions and not be governed by your heart.’

He said: ‘In the end because we are not coming out of recession as far as food, beverages and social nights go, we decided it would be better to just look after our customers that have booked with us. We will look after them well.’

He said people and businesses were acting differently in the current economic climate, saying: ‘December used to be the month for big Christmas parties. The Christmas parties are gone.’

And he said that whereas people used to go out and enjoy a meal and bottle of wine, they now go out less frequently, and spend less.

‘The spend isn’t there at the moment,’ Graham said.

‘I can’t keep picking it up.

‘My brother and I have ridden the costs for a year or two thinking we will come out the other end.’

One of the major costs was heating and electric – which was high because it’s an old building.

Graham said that other factors that had made the business not viable included new restaurants in St John’s that drew some customers away, and offers at venues in the capital that the Glen Helen Inn could not compete with.

‘It got to the stage the niggles were stacking up,’ Graham said.

The decision to close was even more difficult to make as they have invested money into improving the facilities over the years. It includes a new conservatory on the front of the building, two new kitchens, installing a sewerage system, and converting a flat to increase the number of bedrooms at the hotel from 14 to 17.

The Glen Helen Inn employed about 10 people.

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