POLITICIANS have reacted to the closure of a “landmark” Borders hotel after its owner plunged into administration.

The Waverley Castle Hotel, Melrose, cancelled all future bookings at the weekend because the Specialist Leisure Group (SLG) went into administration while blaming the impact of coronavirus restrictions.

Melrose councillor David Parker called the news “deeply disappointing”, going on to express sympathy for staff of the Waverley Road premises.

Tom Miers, who also represents the town, described the closure as a “big blow”, while MSP Rachael Hamilton highlighted the struggles faced by the hospitality sector.

She said: “It is saddening to see the Waverley Castle Hotel in Melrose close and the potential job losses that will emerge.

“This pandemic is hitting this industry hard and the impact is becoming ever more clear as the weeks progress.”

The Waverley Castle Hotel, which operated under the Bay Hotels brand, was declared closed on SLG’s website.

In a statement on May 22, SLG said bookings had been cancelled immediately and would not be rescheduled, adding that employees were being contacted by the administrator.

The statement added: “The Specialist Leisure Group operated several businesses that sold holidays and other travel arrangements... which have all ceased to trade, due to the impact of COVID-19.

“All hotels trading as Bay Hotels, Coast & Country Hotels and Country Living Hotels will not re-open.”

Reacting to the news, Mr Parker said: “The hotel has been a landmark in the Borders for decades and many Borderers have fond memories of it in the 60s and 70s.

“Obviously the company will go into a period of administration and it might be that a buyer for the hotel can be found in the months ahead.

“I know that a number of staff have been affected by this announcement in terms of the loss of their job and, in some instances, their home. It is a very sad day for those involved.

“The council will be in touch with the company and administrators to see what help and support can be offered to those affected by the hotel’s closure.”

His ward colleague Mr Miers also expressed hope that the hotel might be taken over, but said virus restrictions are causing problems for the hospitality trade.

He said: “There will be a lasting impact on demand in the economy and social-distancing rules will affect hotels by adding to their costs.

“And every extra day Scotland spends in lockdown means more jobs and livelihoods lost.

“People thinking of holidaying in the UK later this year could well be put off Scotland as an option at this rate.”

Mrs Hamilton – who represents Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire – said hotel staff who have lost their job should contact her.

The Conservative member added: “I urge the Scottish Government to get round the table to put forward a plan to help save the coach industry and the associated hotels.”