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Hotel closes and mom scrambles for daughter's nuptials

Posted October 15, 2008

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— Burning up the phone lines is nothing unusual to anyone planning a wedding. But what makes Marianne Turnbull's case unusual is that the wedding is weeks away.

Her daughter, who is getting married Nov. 8, planned on having her wedding reception at the Velvet Cloak Inn, a well-known Raleigh hotel on Hillsborough Street that is now closed to customers.

"People are now just learning that they're not going to be able to stay at the Velvet Cloak," Turnbull said. "And so, they're scrambling for places to be. And right now, a number of hotels are completely booked."

Safety is the issue, Raleigh Fire Marshal Rusty Styons says. The hotel did not have the appropriate permits for recent construction, and the city had to deem the building unsafe.

City inspectors cited exposed electrical connections, inoperable fire alarms and a sprinkler system that was not working.

"When we run into a case like this, we make every effort to work with our developers to help resolve those problems," Styons said.

City fire officials are meeting with the building's owner, and a hotel representative said Wednesday that repairs are ongoing. There's no timetable on when the hotel will reopen, however.

Meanwhile, visitors are greeted by a sign on the front door that says lobby repairs are under way.

Marianne Turnbull says the hotel did refund her payment for the reception and that the ordeal has taught her a lesson – to plan for the unexpected.

The story ends happily, though. Turnbull was finally able to find another location for the reception.

"I guess it's not really a wedding unless there's something really horrible that happens," she joked.

17 Comments

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  • jkca Oct 16, 2008

    OH Boy,I am glad that this made the news. At first I thought I was looking at 5 on YOur Side.

  • mmafighterwife Oct 16, 2008

    Why is this EVEN a news story? WHO cares, they did not report it rained on my wedding day!!!!!!!! Actually it did not, but there has to be more news to report than this story and I am pretty sure that there are hotels that will accomodate these people in other counties, you may have to drive a ways but at least you will get to see the bride!!

  • HUSKYLOVE Oct 16, 2008

    She should seek reimbursement for any additional expenses incurred by having to switch locations on such short notice.

  • crystalhanifer Oct 16, 2008

    I actually had my wedding reception at the Velvet Cloak Inn about 5 days before they closed it in their ballroom/terrace and it was absolutely beautiful! Yes I agree the rooms could use a little upgrading/cleaning but the facility they have for wedding receptions is absolutely gorgeous. I hate the fact that their fire alarm system wasn't working but unfortunately I was not aware of that at the time we had the reception. The Velvet Cloak Inn is a wonderful place to have events and I hate when I hear people talk about what a dump it is.

  • ncweddingdj.com Oct 16, 2008

    I'm wondering if the Prime restaurant group's slimy slthering out of obligations has left other folks with no place to have their events, no deposits refunded, etc. Triangle businesses associated with wedding events are, for the most part, honest, reasonable, good for their word. Events I have done over the years at the Velvet Cloak have been okay--it is a simple, not too expensive venue centrally located, nice top deck outdoor pool area for receptions. Nothing positive at all to say about Prime....

  • jlh4jdj Oct 16, 2008

    I love how building inspectors are so "noble". Money making scheme is all most permits are. They do have a purpuse if done correctly. Another example of big government. I once had a building inspector tell me that a project was not good enough on my house because it would only last about 150 years. I couldn't stop laughing. Here's the funny thing he then passed it. I do wonder why the hotel is not refunding the money though? I need to get that career, paid for no work.

  • pwilliamson53 Oct 15, 2008

    Come on people, have alittle heart and compassion. There are many reason they chose the Velvet Cloak in the first place. Maybe some past memories. Whatever their reason it's no right you bash them for their choice. Have out of town guest needing accomidations is very expensive. Maybe their budget has something to do with their choice. Best wishes to the Bride and Groom, may your day be filled with love reguardless of where you get married and have your reception.

  • Adelinthe Oct 15, 2008

    BigCheese - "Why would anyone book or stay at the Velvet Cloak Inn... Its a dump."

    I agree! Was there for a wedding a few years back and was amazed at some of what I saw because so many in Raleigh tout it.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Adelinthe Oct 15, 2008

    computer trainer et al - "Many churches have fellowship halls. If you are getting married at the church, what is the big deal about having the reception there??"

    They were also reserving a block of rooms for out of town guests.

    Where are they going to sleep in a church? In the rectory???

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Adelinthe Oct 15, 2008

    Things like this are going to happen a lot now because many business operate on a shoestring.

    Praying it all works out for them.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

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