The Paragon in Highgate Birmingham had been used to house 200 migrants in 2015 but the owners have now been told they cannot take in any more without extra planning permission after the Grade II listed building was given the go ahead for a multi-million pound refurbishment.
Formerly the Chamberlain, paying guests who have stayed there have made various complaints as well as posting negative reviews on TripAdvisor, with people complaining of “hordes of men wandering the hotel corridors in packs”, the hotel was “very dirty” and even one said it “felt like the hotel from The Shining”.
The new owners, the family of Iraqi billionaire Narim El-Akabi, are investing millions into relaunching the “dirty, filthy dump” as a luxury hotel.
Jack Nicholson in a classic scene from Stanley Kubrick's horror The Shining
Councillor for Nechells, Birmingham, Tahir Ali said: "The Paragon became a dumping ground for asylum seekers, almost the Midlands entire allocation in one place.
"Residents were not against having a fair share but we need to prevent that from happening again."
The hotel has been rated “terrible” by over 700 people on TripAdvisor – with just 25 people hailing it as “excellent”.
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Firefighters try to extinguish the flames during a fire at an asylum seekers accomodation in Bad Homburg, Germany
The interior is extremely shabby, cold with all the hall carpets coming away from the floors. Felt like the hotel from The Shining
‘Jenny G’ wrote on the review website: “Well, what can I say. I'm surprised it's still open. It's in a very unscrupulous part of Birmingham, not a very central location. A taxi will cost you about £10 into the centre.
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“The interior is extremely shabby, cold with all the hall carpets coming away from the floors. Felt like the hotel from The Shining.”
Ronan, from Ennis, Ireland, revisited the hotel in February 2016 after a previous trip and said it had “degenerated beyond bad value”.
He said: "I was aware from staying years past that this hotel was poor quality and very basic, but on arriving this occasion I could see that it has degenerated way beyond all reasonable comprehension of bad value!
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"It is simply a dirty, filthy dump and does the hotel industry no favours by remaining to take bookings.
"After check-in I learned the hotel is now housing asylum seekers and refugees after asking why there were hordes of men wandering the hotel corridors in packs.
"Needless to say I checked out immediately.
"This hotel should especially warn female customers in advance that it is a Middle Eastern refugee centre to make them aware of the situation in advance."
A comment posted on TripAdvisor
Karina said she felt “unsafe” in the hotel when she visited with her boyfriend in November 2015.
She posted: "I booked the room as myself and my boyfriend were having a night out in Digbeth.
"I'm extremely glad he was with me when we stayed.
"I checked in on my own and straight away I felt unsafe – groups of men hanging around everywhere and it felt like some kind of refuge for asylum seekers.
"I was dressed up for a night out and felt a bit on edge as I was being majorly stared at.
"I stayed at The Paragon about five years ago and had a lovely room.”
Tom from Nottingham added: ”I really don't know what's happened.
The Paragon Hotel in Birmingham has been compared to The Shining
“I was heckled by the asylum seekers who stay here on my way in through the smashed front door.
"I was unable to sleep due to noisy phone calls in the corridor all night and smokers at the front of the building meant the rooms smelt awful."
Council chief planning officer, Richard Goulborn, said that the planning enforcement team had worked with the immigration service and Home Office to deal with the hotel's use as an asylum seeker's hostel.
He said they would need more planning permission to continue using it in this capacity, adding: "The new owners are moving to a redevelopment of what is a beautiful building.
"The elements put into this are well-designed so as not to detract from the building. "This scheme will bring the hotel back into use in an enhanced and enlarged form and we welcome that.”
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