THE last asylum seeker has reportedly vacated the Apollo Hotel in Basingstoke, marking the conclusion of the Home Office's temporary use of the place to accommodate asylum seekers.

However, the hotel remains off-limits to the public as a substantial group booking continues to occupy all available rooms.

The Gazette has learned that the final asylum seeker left the Apollo Hotel on December 12, and after undergoing redecoration, the Home Office officially returned the property to hotel management on December 31.

The Gazette contacted the hotel and a spokesperson said it continues to have a large group booking for all rooms. They did not confirm whether it is currently housing any asylum seekers. 

READ MORE: Apollo Hotel stops room bookings

The Home Office has indicated that people previously housed in hotels across the UK are currently being relocated to asylum estates.

The 'book a room' option on the Apollo Hotel's website remains unavailable, but its meeting rooms and health club are still accessible to the public.

The hotel spokesperson said: "We can confirm the hotel is fully open, but we have a large group booking for all our rooms that continues, and due to GDPR, we cannot discuss any individual booking. Our health club Horizons, and our meetings and conference spaces are available and taking bookings as they always have."

Meanwhile, the Home Office emphasised its commitment to providing safe accommodation for asylum seekers and highlighted efforts to phase out the use of hotels, which reportedly costs UK taxpayers £8.2m per day.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Accommodation is allocated on a no-choice basis and individuals may be moved to other locations in line with the Allocation of Accommodation guidance.

“We will work closely with accommodation providers and local authorities to manage the exit process in a way which limits the impact on partners and service users alike.”

Ward councillor Simon Minas-Bound expressed enthusiasm for the hotel's return to full commercial operations soon.

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He said: "Welcome back to the Apollo and the team. It's great to have our highly regarded local independent four star hotel return to full use in 2024. After it has now finished being used to house asylum seekers.

"Opening for business and leisure stays, weddings, conferences, restaurant and bar visits, or for local residents to relax in the leisure and spa facilities.

"Over the last few months, the business community and residents have been telling me how much they need the hotel back in business."