200-year-old Yorkshire hotel to shut to house Afghan refugees over winter

A landmark hotel in the centre of a Yorkshire town is to close over winter to house refugees from Afghanistan.

The Danum Hotel, in the heart of Doncaster town centre, has been taken over by the Home Office, sister paper Doncaster Free Press understands, to take in dozens of men, women and children who fled the country earlier this year after the Taliban returned to power in the war-torn Middle East state.

The hotel, now officially called the Mercure Doncaster Centre Danum Hotel, has said that its rooms have been booked on an ‘exclusive use contract’ but did not confirm who was behind the booking.

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The Home Office has taken over a number of hotels across the country to house refugees and also to quarantine travellers under coronavirus restrictions in recent months.

The Danum Hotel in Doncaster

It is understood that a number of weddings and family functions have had to be cancelled at the hotel in Doncaster’s High Street as a result of the takeover.

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Guests will not be able to book into the 200-year-old hotel for some time, bosses have said.

A spokesman for the hotel, owned by the Accor Group, said: “The hotel has recently been booked on an exclusive-use contract and will not be taking general bookings for a period of time.

"We are working individually with any guests affected by these short-term changes.”

The UK Government has pledged to resettle 20,000 people over the course of the scheme, and approximately 5,000 people in the first year.

Thousands of people fled Afghanistan after Western forces abandoned the country to the Taliban in August.