Exclusive: Libertines hotel could be …

The Libertines’ Margate hotel could be the first of many with the band holding ambitions to open a group of seaside locations.

The English rock group last week confirmed plans to open the Albion Rooms, named after the nickname the band gave their East London flat in their early days.

David Bianchi, chief executive of the band’s management company Various Artists Management, told The Caterer that band members Carl Barât and Pete Doherty are keen to be involved in the operation of the hotel, but an individual from the hospitality industry is also being brought in. Bianchi also revealed that the group behind hits ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’ and ‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’ have ambitions to eventually open hotels in other UK seaside towns.

The band purchased the former Palm Court hotel for £450,000 in September 2017 and approximately £250,000 has been spent installing a recording studio. Work begins this week on the rest of the 10-bedroom property, which will undergo a multi-million-pound refurbishment that will see the room count reduced to seven – however the site will probably not be open to the public until early 2019.

“We’re giving the place history immediately,” said Bianchi. “The band is going to move in, make their album, launch and release the album from the hotel – and then when they move out, it’ll be converted into a proper guest hotel.”

The hotel will have its own bar and café, called the Harpo Club – a play on the Groucho Club, a private members’ club in London named after American comedian Groucho Marx, with Harpo Marx being the second Marx brother. There are also plans to partner with a “well-known” chef further down the line.

It emerged yesterday that an email was sent to fans offering the opportunity to pay £200 for a brick with their name on to be featured in the property, however Bianchi said this would only be funding the downstairs bar. “It came more from people asking us for that opportunity. It might make a little bit of money towards the final cost but it’s certainly not a fundamental part of it,” he said.

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