NORTHWICH’S iconic Floatel is closed after its parent firm Real Hotel Company went into administration last week.

The UK’s only purpose- built floating hotel, on the River Weaver next to London Road and the Bull Ring, has been an interesting feature of the town for decades.

But after a business review by administrators, the decision was taken to close the Floatel along with three other hotels in the group.

As a result of the closures – the others were in Thetford, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Newcastle-under-Lyme – 150 staff have been made redundant.

Administrators BDO Stoy Hayward are now seeking a buyer for the firm in an attempt to save jobs and other branches of the hotel group across the UK.

Partner Shay Bannon said: “The group has experienced deterioration in trading during the last quarter of 2008 with this trend accelerating into the first two weeks of January, which resulted in severe cash flow pressures.

“It is regrettable that we’ve had to close a small number of hotels but we continue to trade a significant number of hotels with the support of stakeholders and will be actively marketing the group for sale.

“We’ve received several expressions of interest and are confident of a successful outcome which will save a significant number of jobs.”

The Real Hotel Company Ltd and its associated subsidiaries operate more than 50 hotels across Europe, with 40 in the UK together with two offices. The group employs about 1,200 people in the UK.