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Signs that investors and entrepreneurs believe in a future fuelled by a growing staycation market are demonstrated by activity at specialist business property adviser, Christie & Co.
In recent times they’ve brought to market some fascinating hotels – and have even seen properties swiftly changing hands. It’s clear that hotels and B&Bs in destination towns, seaside resorts and scenic settings are attracting viewings by potential owners, and properties with some quirks or history are of particular interest.
If any of our readers have considered owning their own property and setting the standards there, now might be the time.
The sale of 18th century Grade II listed The Fourways hotel in Blyth, Nottinghamshire, which had been closed, went through in just eight weeks, for above the £220,000 asking price. It was previously owned by Hawthorn Leisure and received a great deal of interest from prospective buyers who identified it as a unique opportunity. Christie +Co also sold the 15-bed Elgin Hotel located in Charlestown, a picturesque village in Fife, Scotland, from an asking price of £650,000 following the owner’s retirement. The hotel overlooks the Firth of Forth and is a popular spot for getaways and weddings. The new owners are experienced local operators with a portfolio of hotels and self-catering lodges. They plan to develop the dining and wedding offering.
One of Hampshire’s finest old coaching inns, The Trooper Inn, near Petersfield, East Hampshire, is perched on the highest point in the county, attracting a mixture of local, leisure and weekend break guests, with corporate input throughout the week. It’s changed hands, with Richard Wood, Associate Director – Licensed and Hospitality at Christie & Co saying: “Despite the ongoing difficulties that COVID-19 is bringing to the hospitality industry we continue to see strong interest in freehold pubs throughout the region, particularly those with accommodation that can take advantage of the growing staycation market.”
Among the intriguing properties on sale is 18th century Marshall Meadows Country House with a guide price of £925,000 for the freehold. Just walking distance from the Scottish border, it’s regarded as England’s most northerly accommodation and nearby is Northumberland National Park, a stunning coastline with its beautiful beaches, popular seaside towns and villages and historic castles.
The hotel was purchased by brothers Robert and David Hester in 2011 and they have made the decision to retire. Robert Hester says: “It is with a heavy heart that we are now looking to sell Marshall Meadows. It has not only enabled us to live out our passion, but it has been a home and a fantastic place to enjoy the last decade. “We are now at an age where we are looking to retire and very much hope that someone else will be able to enjoy all that the Northumberland coastline has to offer in what is a building and grounds which still has so much untapped potential to further the business in a now booming domestic market.”
At the other end of the UK, The Trouville, an iconic seafront hotel at Sandown, Isle of Wight, has also been put on the market. A key feature is the ballroom, the island’s largest, which comes alive in the evening with entertainment, making it the firm favourite with visitors for dancing holidays. The hotel has been in the same family’s ownership for over 40 years.
Current owner, Paul Moorman, says: “The family bought the hotel 42 years ago and have enjoyed working in this beautiful seaside location. The business has brought us significant repeat patronage from both private and group business throughout our tenure. We have decided to retire and to hand over the successful business to a new owner to take to the next level.”
Ed Bellfield, Regional Director at Christie & Co is handling the sale and says: “With the rise in demand for seaside resort led staycations in 2020 and forward bookings for 2021 increasing, there are significant opportunities for an owner operator/investor to develop this business to the wider private market.”
The Trouville Hotel is on the market with a guide price of £2,975,000 for the freehold. Bound to create a lot of interest is that a renowned chapel conversion with letting rooms and event spaces in Harrogate is now on the market.
The Chapel, a fabulous Grade II listed contemporary B&B, was once a Wesleyan chapel built in 1896. Due to its stunning design, The Chapel has featured on numerous TV property shows including George Clark’s Restoration Man, Salvage Hunters and Four in a Bed, which the property won! At its heart is the central drawing room, the original chapel amphitheatre. The striking space rises to a 50-foot atrium ceiling with stunning marble flooring, making it a popular spot for weddings and a range of corporate and private events.
Current owners, Mark and Heidi Hinchliffe have decided to sell to pursue other projects overseas, presenting an extremely rare investment opportunity for a prospective purchaser to acquire an extraordinary piece of historical architecture. Mark Hinchcliffe says “We have met some amazing people while being the custodians of this remarkable building and it has been a pleasure to be a part of the Harrogate independent community. The area will remain close to our hearts; however it is now time for us to embark on a new chapter.” The Chapel has a guide price of £1,495,000 for the freehold.