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The boom in staycation breaks is fuelling interest in hotels in scenic settings, including from newcomers to the sector.
All this offers more than a glimmer of hope for those who work in ‘rural hospitality’ as some businesses still go into administration and others struggle to operate with limited staff. Entrepreneurs and hotel groups are watching the market with a keen eye.
An example is the renowned Lake District hotel and inn, the New Dungeon Ghyll at Great Langdale, which has been bought for an undisclosed price by expanding hospitality business, RedCat Pub Company. Launched this year, this is the first venture into the Lakes for the private equity backed firm in a succession of deals brokered in the region by Colliers’ Hotels specialists. Redcat, founded by former Greene King boss Rooney Anand, have revealed they will be looking to add further Lakes properties to their portfolio.
They also recently acquired the 18-strong Coaching Inn Group. The 3-star New Dungeon Ghyll currently has 23 en-suite letting rooms, a restaurant, bars and lounges. Julian Troup, head of Hotels Agency at Colliers, who acted for the Smith family who had owned New Dungeon Ghyll for 30 years, said: “With interest rates remaining low, hotels and pubs in staycation areas such as the Lakes are delivering impressive trading figures and solid returns on investment, and we expect to see continuing corporate and private demand from both overseas and domestic buyers given the growing popularity of UK staycations.”
AA three-star small country house hotel Miller Howe Hotel, overlooking Lake Windermere, has been sold for an undisclosed sum, off a guide price of £2.85 million, to a local businessman through Colliers. The AA three-star hotel on Rayrigg Road, Windermere was made famous by one of the original celebrity chefs, John Tovey.
Those looking to invest in Lake District hotels will no doubt be viewing the 4-star Castle Inn near Keswick, part of the Best Western Signature Collection Brand, for sale through Savills, seeking offers above £3.25 million. It has 45 en-suite guest bedrooms with planning permission for 33 more, a gym and swimming pool. Savills are also handling the sale of recently refurbished 4-star Lyth Valley hotel and restaurant near Keswick, with a guide price of £2.5m.