Imagine if you saw an ad for a 235-room hotel that boasted luxury suites, an Olympic-sized pool, a casino, and restaurants that offered fine dining experiences. It might sound pretty good, huh? What if it offered, “high-profile anniversaries, birthdays, weddings and bar mitzvahs, from weddings for 280 to an intimate family dinner for 12?”
If you were planning on visiting the city where it was located, Manchester, England, it might be an option, right? After all, it said it was, “one of the newest 5 star hotels in the city,’ in operation since 2014 and had hosted thousands of guests, including celebrities and politicians. And hey, it had lovely luxury rooms that look like this:
There’s only one problem – the hotel doesn’t exist.
The fake hotel was discovered by the Manchester Evening News. One of its reporters, Chris Slater, became suspicious after noticing that one view of a hotel room at The Grand Pearl included a palm tree and crystal blue water outside – not what one would see in Manchester, England. They quickly discovered the phone number on the website didn’t work and the IP address was linked to Nigeria.
According to the hotel’s website, the hotel boasted, “a glass-walled riverside restaurant and a penthouse suite complete with a baby grand piano.” It even had testimonials such as:
George, from Sheffield: “As always, had a great stay, great hotel with great staff in a great location, will stay again. This hotel must have the most comfy beds in Manchester! It’s ideally located for nights out, also has a great bar.”
Angela Bunnett from Madrid: “very high quality hotel” and the only downside was being unable to eat at the hotel restaurant as it was “fully booked.”
“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.”
But the address that’s listed – 26 Peter Street, in Manchester City Centre, – doesn’t actually exist. This is as close as you can get:
Apparently the fake website had been live since April, 2018.
But once the Manchester Evening News let authorities know that the site looked like it was fake a couple of months ago, an investigation started and, lo and behold, the website shut down.
The investigation continues. But meanwhile, who knows how many people were scammed by giving their credit card information to hold a room at this hotel that isn’t there?
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary