by Hans ten Cate
Sunday, 21 March 2004

The Gleneagles Hotel, the now famous Torquay hotel that was John Cleese's inspiration for Fawlty Towers, has had a tough time of it.

A developer has been proposing to demolish the hotel and replace it with a three-story, 25-residence apartment building. Plans by developers Midas Homes to knock down the 41-bedroom hotel on Asheldon Road were refused last year. This past March 16, the developer's revised bid was thrown out by a local council who said demolition would hurt tourism in the area.

The Torbay Council's development control committee, which made the decision, expressed concerns about the loss of the hotel, over-development of the site, loss of trees and other landscaping issues. The council has also said that the Gleneagles Hotel makes a positive contribution to Torbay's tourist economy by means of its size, location and quality.

In a statement, the council stated that "the loss of this well used 77 bed space hotel would undoubtedly have a significant impact upon the tourist economy of Torbay [the coastal area in which Torquay is located] and should be resisted".

They added: "Given the number of outstanding issues and concerns, it is not felt that approval of the scheme could be recommended in its present form, even if the loss of the hotel were considered acceptable."

John Cleese stayed at the Gleneagles Hotel in the 1970s and was inspired by its “wonderfully rude” owner to create the BBC sitcom Fawlty Towers.


  • John Baker, "'Fawlty' Hotel Demolition Threat Lifted," in the Herald Express (South Devon), 15 March 2004