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The Group was started in 1984 when Tony and Peter Sawbridge decided to create a hotel business catering mainly for clients on coach holidays. Funds for the venture were provided by them and their four siblings and so Leisureplex was founded and in spring 1984 bought its first hotel, the Hydro Hotel in Llandudno.

By 1989, the group had 5 hotels from the Eliot in Newquay to the Selborne Hotel in Dunoon.

Alfa Travel was established in 1990 to organise coach holidays, initially only from North West England and only to the Leisureplex Hotels. For the first few years, Alfa operated exclusively by using coaches hired in from other operators. However, in 1996 Alfa Coaches was formed to improve the quality of the coach operation.

Over the years, Alfa has extended its operating areas by creating new programmes, initially in the North East (1997), then the South East (1999), and Midlands (2003). 2016 saw a new Yorkshire and Humberside operation with improved services in West and South Yorkshire and departures from Humberside and Lincolnshire for the first time.

At the time of establishment of the Employee Trust in 2015:

  • Leisureplex owned 21 hotels from the Cottage Hotel in St.Ives in the south to the Croit Anna Hotel in Fort William in the north
  • The coach operation consisted of 46 tourist coaches principally operated from a base at Higher Wheelton, near Chorley
  • Alfa Travel operated holidays to over 80 hotels and provided holidays for over 100,000 people per annum