- A Hilton hotel in England has offered to house and feed 28 homeless people for Christmas after another hotel canceled a booking for them over the weekend.
- The Britannia Royal initially did not give a reason for cancelling the booking, but it later said it had received reports of bad behaviour from the group last year.
- The man who organised the booking denied the claim and accused the Britannia Royal of discrimination.
- The hotel faced outrage online, and hundreds of people donated or offered to help.
The DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in the English town of Hull has offered to house 28 homeless people on December 24 and 25 for free, with breakfast and Christmas dinner provided, after another hotel abruptly dropped a booking for them over the weekend.
The hotel that canceled the reservation, the Britannia Royal, was heavily criticised on social media. Carl Simpson, the founder of the Raise the Roof Hull homeless project that organised the booking, accused it of discrimination on Facebook.
Britannia Hotels said on Monday that it had canceled the booking, for which Simpson had paid £1,092 ($US1,375), because it had heard reports of bad behaviour from the group at an Ibis hotel last year, according to Sky News. Simpson also organised that booking.
In a statement, Britannia Hotels said it was told the group had caused “a serious problem,” The Caterer reported.
Staff at the Britannia Royal declined to comment to Business Insider.
Simpson denied Britannia’s claim, saying that the 24 people he paid for to stay at the hotel last year were “so grateful” and that “some left staff gifts using the very little money they had, and one asked if he could vacuum the rooms to show his appreciation,” according to Sky News.
“This means the world to homeless people,” he added. “Last year we had tears of joy from someone who stood on the edge of the Humber Bridge the night before.”
A Britannia Hotels spokeswoman told Sky News that the company had received a call from a woman who said that she was part of the project and that rooms and property had been damaged last year.
Simpson said on Facebook that Ibis said there had been no problems. He also questioned the woman’s identity, saying he has no staff.
Hundreds of people raised more than £9,000 for the project since the Britannia Royal canceled the booking. Simpson said the group would meet in the new year to decide how to use the money to help homeless people, and that anyone who wished to have their donation returned after the Hilton’s offer could have it back.
Britannia Hotels said in its statement that it was “willing to take the booking with conditions,” according to The Caterer, but Simpson said the group would decline that offer.
Research released last week by a UK charity found that more than 24,000 people in Britain could spend Christmas sleeping rough or on public transport.
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