Local News

Hotel closes and mom scrambles for daughter's nuptials

Posted October 15, 2008 5:24 p.m. EDT
Updated October 15, 2008 11:52 p.m. EDT

— 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.