A look back at the history (and future) of the Harte & Garter hotel in Windsor
THE glamorous and beloved Hotel Harte and Garter has been a dominant and historic presence in the Windsor neighborhood high street for centuries. Here, we look back at its history – as well as its uncertain future.
Last year, residents learned that the hotel was under threat of closing for the last time after administrators, Begbies Traynor Ltd, officially returned the keys to the owners of the Crown Estate building.
The hotel‘s future now depends on the Crown Estate, which has previously said it has “no intention” of reopening it this year.
Directly opposite the castle, the hotel has seen its fair share of famous faces, historical events and tragedies since the building began life as two 14th century inns, which were often visited by local actors and famous.
READ MORE: What future for the Harte and Garter site after the hotel closes?
The Garter Inn, named after the noblest Order of the Garter, was founded by King Edward III and even served as the setting for one of William Shakespeare’s plays, Merry Wives of Windsor.
The White Harte was named in honor of the royal crest worn by King Richard II. In 1681, the two taverns were unfortunately destroyed in a fire and rebuilt.
At the end of the 19th century, the two buildings were united to form the Harte and Garter Hotel. It was reformed in a Jacobean style, much loved by Victorians and reflecting Shakespearean links.
It even became a grade II listed building in 1975.
Throughout his time in Windsor, he has seen his fair share of royal weddings, presidential visits, coronations and numerous Trooping of the Colors ceremonies.
While the hotel has had an impressive and rich history, the same cannot be said for its future when its operator Suite Hospitality Ltd collapsed after a “disappointing” year in 2019. It had been in negotiations with major creditors and owners. to find a way to continue.
On top of that, the financial pressures caused by the lockdown in early 2020 also put operators in receivership.
On June 16, the directors appointed Julie Palmer and Ian Walker from the Exeter office of Begbies Traynor as directors of the company.
A call for help from hotel operations manager Lauren Collins has been sent to her closest neighbor – the Queen – asking Her Majesty to save the hotel.
According to Ms Collins, five staff had operated the hotel during the lockdown as a haven for frontline staff working with coronavirus victims, as well as vulnerable and homeless people sent in by police and council – even in being quarantined themselves for two weeks while caring for a group of people.
Queen Elizabeth II is the owner of the Harte & Garter Hotel (PA)
Lauren wrote: “Your Majesty, I am not writing from around the world, the Commonwealth or even the UK, I am writing to you from across the road. The reason I am writing to you is simple.
“The company I currently work for has gone into administration, which is, as you can understand, devastating.
“Not only because of the people affected, but more so because of what remains.”
The latest update from residents was that there were ‘no plans’ for the property for the remainder of 2021 and the Ivy restaurant, which serves British brew under the Harte and Garter, has yet to confirm if they want to stay in the property until a new owner is found.
READ MORE: Windsor bosses Harte and Garter have ‘no plans’ to reopen
When news broke of the hotel closing, Windsor Town Manager Paul Roach hoped a new operator would be found ‘as soon as possible’.
Over a year has passed and a small update from the Crown Estate indicates that the future of the hotel remains uncertain.
A spokesperson said: “We continue to explore options for the Harte and Garter Hotel in Windsor, following the operator’s entry into administration.”
Many can only hope that a new operator will be found since hotel chains have reopened, but not as high as before the pandemic. Windsor residents and tourists wishing to visit the hotel’s rich history will have to wait for the Crown Estate to find a suitable partner.