World News

The luxurious hotel that trading standards chiefs say doesn’t exist

Just one problem with five-star city centre hotel with 235 rooms, Olympic-sized pool and a grand piano in the penthouse, trading standards chiefs say: It doesn’t exist

  • The Grand Pearl hotel website boasts luxurious accommodation in Manchester
  • But trading standards bosses are warning that the hotel’s website is a ‘sham’ 
  • The hotel does not exist, and its website appears to link back to an IP address based in Nigeria, according to Manchester council’s trading standards team

Boasting 235 rooms of ‘dynamic luxury’, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a glass-walled riverside restaurant and a penthouse suite with a baby grand piano, Manchester’s glamorous Grand Pearl hotel sounds too good to be true.

That’s because it is, according to trading standards bosses, who are now warning of a ‘sham’ website advertising the five-star business based at 26 Peter Street – an address which seemingly does not exist.   

The Grand Pearl’s website promotes the establishment as ‘Paradise here on planet Earth’, but Manchester council say the site appears to link back to an IP address based in Nigeria.  

The Grand Pearl’s website promotes the establishment as ‘Paradise here on planet Earth’, but Manchester council say the site appears to link back to an IP address based in Nigeria (pictured: An advert for the ‘hotel’)

It is not yet known when the website first went live, or if anyone has actually attempted to book a room at the fictional guesthouse, but experts warned that those unfamiliar with the city may easily believe it is a legitimate website and send the fraudsters their personal details.

The website claims that the Grand Pearl is ‘one of the newest 5 star hotels in the city’, operating since 2014 and has hosted thousands of guests in that time – including celebrities and politicians.

Photographs posted on the ‘Rooms and Amenities’ section of the site show luxurious hotel suites and bedrooms – with one room seeming to have a view of a palm tree and the ocean, while another shows a view of a cityscape similar to Tokyo.  

Photographs posted on the ‘Rooms and Amenities’ section of the site show luxurious hotel suites and bedrooms – with one room supposedly based in sunny Manchester seeming to have a view of a palm tree and the ocean

Rates start at £185, according to the site.

Boasting of its eatery, the website claims: ‘This is one of Manchester’s best restaurants to eat and drink in a glass-walled, riverside setting. 

‘The convivial atmosphere is also deeply luxurious with purple leather chairs, semi-circular banquettes, while Fornasetti plates, mirrors and lithographs and prints decorate walls.’ 

The elaborate website claims that the non-existent hotel is within minutes of ‘three of the City’s most famous and efficient hospitals’ and can host anything from weddings to Bar Mitzvahs.

It also details a range of rigorous safety regulations, including ‘around-the-clock safety guards’ and an in-house medical team. 

It states: ‘Dangers of many kinds can lurk at any corner; therefore we have taken all necessary measures to ensure your safety and peace of mind while playing host to you.’

Among a long list of facilities, the site states that it has a 100-space car park, casino, art gallery, Grand Ballroom for up to 280 people and ‘Versace Fashion In-Store’. 

The Grand Pearl lists the same postcode as Manchester’s prestigious Midland Hotel (pictured) on its website

A number of ‘customer testimonials’ feature prominently on one page of the site and speak highly of the hotel, despite it not existing.  

One, from ‘George B B, Sheffield’ states: ‘This hotel must have the most comfy beds in Manchester! It’s ideally located for nights out, also has a great bar.’

While another, from ‘Angela Bunett, Madrid’ states that she stayed to celebrate a friend’s 50th birthday and enjoyed complimentary birthday brownies and  strawberries.

‘We did not get to eat in the Grand Pearl Oval Restaurant as we failed to make reservations on time and it was fully booked,’ it reads.

‘The sunny personality of the concierge was heartwarming. Did not get his name but when I do I will mention him in my next review as I will be staying there again shortly. Keep up the good work. Location superb.’

This is where the Grand Pearl should be. Among a long list of facilities, the site states that it has a 100-space car park, casino, art gallery, Grand Ballroom for up to 280 people and ‘Versace Fashion In-Store’

Reporters dispatched to investigate the hotel’s questionable existence were met with complete mystery and bewilderment at the advertised ‘hotel’ by those who are supposed to be its neighbours.

The postcode given on the website is that of The Midland Hotel, and a reporter at the scene concluded that there was no 26 Peter Street.   

Staff at Impossible Bar, which is number 36, said they knew nothing about it and said they believe it to be a hoax.

The address given means if it existed the ‘hotel’ should be in the large space on the forecourt in front of the Great Northern Warehouse.

But employees in the buildings around it, including several office blocks, the Peaky Blinders bar across the road and Home Sweet Home just off the street in the warehouse facade, had no knowledge it.

Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, said: ‘This website is a sham, set up to prey on people who look to Manchester as a tourist destination, but who may not have local knowledge of the city’ (pictured: One of the advertised rooms)

Reception staff at the Radisson said they believed it was fake, and like all other establishments around them said they had not even heard the name before or had any bewildered tourists asking for it.

One receptionist at an office block said: ‘We often get people coming in asking for the Radisson but never that one.

‘In fact we get people who are lost and are looking for hotels all over the city and I have never, ever heard of the Grand Pearl.

‘That sounds more like a Chinese buffet restaurant than a five star hotel.’

A black cab driver parked on the street said: ‘I carry dozens of tourists a day and I’ve never heard of it. There are only two hotels on this street and that certainly isn’t one of them.’

It is not yet known when the website first went live, or if anyone has actually attempted to book a room at the fictional guesthouse, but experts warned that those unfamiliar with the city may easily believe it is a legitimate website and send the fraudsters their personal details

Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, said: ‘This website is a sham, set up to prey on people who look to Manchester as a tourist destination, but who may not have local knowledge of the city.

‘As an investigation into this website is in its early stages, it would not be proper to comment on any possible outcomes, but, we will work closely with our partners in law enforcement to prevent any member of the public being taken in by this dishonest scheme.’

A council spokesman added: ‘Our advice would always be to book through a reputable travel agent or booking website when searching for holidays or accommodation.’

‘Guidance on how to avoid scams can be found through the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) website, at www.abta.com.’

Source: Read Full Article