This old budget guesthouse/hotel made up of several adjoining houses is proposed for demolition and plans have been submitted to build a new four to eight-storey building, to provide a 122-bedroom hotel (Travelodge) & 73 flats.
SOHO W1 - REGENT PALACE HOTEL
The Regent Palace closed on the 31st of December 2006 having first opened in 1915. During the First World War, a considerable part of the hotel was requisitioned by the British Government and during the Second World War, 2 separate bombs caused minor damage.One of these bombs hit the staff Annexe This staff annexe building also contained a complete laundry service for all of the Strand hotels in London. In the 1960’s, the hotel developed a less than favourable reputation as a place of ill repute - a meeting point for ladies of the night to ply their trade. I found this review on the net by an unhappy guest at the hotel: "Abysmal. Bedbugs in most beds, filthy rooms with stains all over the walls, disgusting shower and toilet facilities and very worn and dated decor. Staff were nice enough, manager couldn't care less because he said the hotel was being closed this December. I am still itching at the thought of my stay. Our party had to check out after the first night because most people had bites. I had to show the manager the bodies of the 10 bedbugs I found (whilst just glancing at the top blanket) before he would believe me and give me a refund. Revolting."
ELEPHANT & CASTLE SE1 - DRISCOLL HOUSE HOTEL
This building opened as Ada Lewis House in 1913, one of the first of a small number of places in London providing accommodation for women (although over the years male guests were also allowed). The opening ceremony was performed by Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, and the building was named after Ada Lewis, wife of the philanthropist Samuel Lewis.
The building was bought by Terence Driscoll in the 1950s who renamed the building after himself. He worked every day at the hotel reception and used to give a weekly speech in the hotel at Sunday lunch, in the course of which he passed on news from past residents as well as his opinions on current affairs. Every December, Mr Driscoll would dress up as Father Christmas and distribute presents while carols were sung.
Terence Driscoll continued to be active in the running of Driscoll House until the last weeks of his life. He died in July 2007 and the hotel closed soon afterwards. There is a plan to convert the building into apartments.
EARLS COURT - PHILBEACH HOTEL
When open was described by Lonely Planet Guide as "in the heart of 'gay Earls Court' sits one of London's few gay hotels. Easily the most popular, it prides itself on being 'owned by gays, run by gays, for the gays!"
Phil writes to Derelict London: "I am in a state of shock at seeing the picture on your site of the Philbeach Hotel closed down and boarded up. It was part of London’s Gay Heritage and should have had a pink plaque on the wall. As a youngster some 20 or more years ago – I regularly found myself heading there to spend a night in one of it’s rooms after being picked up in a club! I would be so intimidated by the transvestites that used the bar as a regular meeting place. They all seemed to look like the men dressed as women on that ‘Bounce’ tv ad. There was a small room downstairs that was an Alladin’s cave of glittery frocks and oversized shoes, where the ‘ladies’ would dress for the evening. I can’t believe it’s all gone. Happy memories!"
NOTTING HILL - HILLGATE HOTEL
Another one of those London hotels that are made out of joined up houses
COBHAM KT11 - SAN DOMINICO RESTAURANT & BAR
Ive driven past this empty building beside the A3 for years.There is something always slightly sinister looking about it - in a Hammer House of Horror sort of way. There is always a light on (even on Christmas Day!) in one of the windows presumably security. There have been rumours via a well known London phone in radio show that that it has/had some sort of secret military use
Colin writes: “I moved to Esher from S.E London in 1982 and I'm sure it was closed then. No one seems to know the truth behind it, but local legend says it's owned by a wealthy farmer. Geographically it's positioned roughly in front of the Cobham Hilton by a few hundred yards. I believe it still stands because the owner wouldn't sell it to be demolished to provide an access road from the A3 to the hotel. Allegedly he keeps it standing empty either as an act of defiance to big business or maybe it's just 'because he can!!' Another story is that the restaurant was put out of business by the upgrading of the A3 causing it to become too dangerous for motorists to enter or exit the fast moving traffic. I have on rare occasions seen a guard sunning himself in a deckchair on a fine day, but I've never seen a vehicle in the car park. Whether or not there is any truth to either story only time will tell but for now it adds to the mystery."
Since these photos were taken the place has been given a coat of paint and the car park tidied up & resurfaced. Amid rumours of future use as a strip club or brothel the place remains vacant.