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Clarenco plans development of 52 bedroom suites at Stanbrook Abbey

By Peter Ruddick , 07-Sep-2012
Last updated the 07-Sep-2012 at 14:54 GMT

Related topics: Business, Venues, People, Restaurants, Hotels

Following the completion of the first phase of development, Clarenco now plans to open 52 new bedroom suites in Stanbrook Abbey by autumn of next year as part of ambitious plans for the former monastery and the entire portfolio of hotels and exclusive retreats.

Stanbrook Abbey, one of the properties in the Clarenco portfolio of 'amazing retreats', will open 52 bedroom suites in autumn next year

Stanbrook Abbey, one of the properties in the Clarenco portfolio of 'amazing retreats', will open 52 bedroom suites in autumn next year

Clarenco, the business created by Mike Clare, the founder of the Dreams bed store company, opened Stanbrook Abbey in Worcestershire in July for weddings, functions, conferences and other events.

However following an official launch event this week, the building enters its second phase of development which culminates in October next year with the  refurb of a number of former nun's 'cells' that will serve as hotel accommodation.

Pushing boundaries

Speaking to BigHospitality, Clare said he did not want to be known as an hotelier and likened his role to that of Richard Branson - pushing the boundaries of an industry; in this case hospitality.

"When we have done the 52 bedroom suites then it will be like a hotel - you will have to check in and check out and it will be a great experience. We will try and make the rooms themed and we will do things that people don’t normally do."

"I want to be different. I like to test the market. I don’t want to just be a restaurateur, I don’t want to be a hotelier but I have still got this building and we want to make some revenue from it  - how can we do things that are a little bit on the edge and different?"

As well as offering rooms, events and exclusive hire, Stanbrook Abbey will be hosting concerts, dances and a 'restaurant club'. After extending the kitchens, guests and diners will be invited to enjoy a one-sitting meal with a full choice of food alongside entertainment.

Wow factor

Earlier this year Clarenco announced it had purchased two more sea forts in the Solent to add to the one it already operates as an events venue and hotel.

Clare, who this week abseiled from the top of The Shard building in London to raise money for charity, revealed one would be opened as a museum with the second operating as a hotel and restaurant with its own harbour for local boats to moor up and visit the eatery.

Operating with the tagline 'amazing retreats in spectacular locations', Clarenco also owns property in Bath, Anglesey and three castles in Scotland including Ackergill Tower which opened as a hotel this year after previously only being available for exclusive hire.

The entrepreneur also revealed he was in discussions about purchasing a Scottish island and would not rule out opening new venues as hotels or hospitality businesses.

"We are not out there searching as much as we were a year ago but if something comes along we wouldn’t want to miss an opportunity. As long as it’s weird and unusual and wacky with a wow factor - that is what we are looking for," he said.

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