A CONTROVERSIAL Shanklin hotel has been the subject of complaints following its public stance against Covid regulations, 'vaccine cultists' and mask wearing.

The Gothic-style Nightingale Hotel, which is painted black with huge murals of famous faces adorning its exterior walls, has been visited by licensing officials and threatened with fines of up to £20,000.

County Press readers have expressed concerns at the hotel's social media posts declaring itself a mask-free zone — people who wear masks are not welcome on the premises.

One wrote to us: "In this day and age of the Covid pandemic, which only the most arrogant and ignorant would deny, you have a hotel actively encouraging behaviour that could lead to the spread of this wretched virus.

"They might be happy to hold this attitude but why should their misguided foolishness endanger the rest of the Isle of Wight’s residents?"

The Isle of Wight Council has also received complaints from the public.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Owner Dino Joachim told the County Press he had been warned he could be fined £20,000 for his anti-lockdown social media posts, and £2,000 for a sign he erected outside his hotel, which said the hotel wasn't open to mask-wearers.

He said he was told he could have his alcohol licence taken away — although his hotel was closed at the time. It is now open and Dino said he is being 'completely honest' about his beliefs and is trying to deter mask-wearers from checking in.

He said he is following normal stringent hygiene precautions, as the hotel has always had a thorough regime of cleaning and disinfecting.

He said: "It is my establishment and I am going with the minimal Covid requirements."

An Isle of Wight Council spokesperson said: “We can confirm that Regulatory Services received complaints from concerned members of the public relating to signage at the hotel which advised it was a ‘mask free zone’ as well as social media posts.

“Officers have advised the hotel proprietor and licensee of the current Covid-19 requirements concerning face coverings and his responsibilities under current legislation including the Health and Safety at Work Act and Licensing Act.

“It is important that all Islanders comply with Covid-19 safety guidelines to protect our community and not put back our exit from lockdown.

“It is especially incumbent on businesses to follow the scientific advice and help inform the public and their customers of those rules.

"That means keeping the messages they use clear and unambiguous to avoid any confusion but also to ensure the authoritative and medically accepted messages are not weakened by fake news and rumour.

“Without this support we risk a return to further lockdown measures, increased danger, damage to our health and additional damage to our economy.”

The Nightingale Hotel first hit the headlines in 2018 for its unusual exterior decor.