Three Von Essen hotels sold in one week, deals close for final two

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Von essen hotels, Hotel, Bath somerset

(Top) The Royal Crescent hotel, Bath; (left) Seaham Hall, County Durham; (right) Congham Hall, North Norfolk
(Top) The Royal Crescent hotel, Bath; (left) Seaham Hall, County Durham; (right) Congham Hall, North Norfolk
Three of the last remaining hotels from the Von Essen portfolio have been sold to different buyers in the space of a week, leaving just two of the company’s original 28 properties on the market – both of which are rumoured to be on the verge of deals.

The latest properties to be sold are the Royal Crescent hotel in Bath, Seaham Hall in Durham and Congham Hall in North Norfolk. The news comes almost exactly a year after Von Essen went into administration​ with debts of nearly £300m.

The Royal Crescent

The 29-bedroom Royal Crescent hotel in Bath was one of the most lauded and iconic venues in the collection. It was sold last week for a reported £18m to private international investment company the Topland Group.

Having originally been placed on the market for £22m, the 5-star, Grade I-listed hotel occupies two central buildings in the heart of the Crescent and features 16 separate suites, the fine dining Dower House restaurant and the Bath House Spa.

Chris Day, managing director of Christie & Co – who have acted on behalf of administrators for all of the deals - said: “We are delighted that this desirable and luxurious hotel, one of the jewels in the von Essen Hotels crown, has a new owner.

“This is a truly landmark sale from this fine collection of hotels and we fully expect to announce the final sales from the von Essen portfolio in the days and weeks ahead.”

Seaham Hall​ 

The 20-bedroon hotel and spa Seaham Hall in County Durham has this week been acquired by the Bristol-based Seasons Holidays, which owns seven country house hotels in the UK.

Set on a cliff-top location in 37 acres of gardens, the five-red-AA-star property was originally marketed for £12.5m before the price was cut to just £5m. Seasons Holidays are said to have paid even less than the asking price.

“Seaham Hall Hotel is a fantastic venue in the heart of the North East with a lot of potential,” said Barry Donaghey, managing director of Seasons Holidays. “It already has a great reputation as a leading hotel and spa and we will be looking to build on this to ensure it continues to be one of the top destinations at a regional, national and international level.

“We have some ambitious plans and will be announcing these over the next few weeks and months.”

Christie & Co acted on behalf of the administrators of von Essen Hotels 2 Ltd.

Congham Hall​ 

Renowned hotelier Nicholas Dickinson – one of the original founders of Luxury Family hotels – has returned to the UK market to buy the 26-bedroom Congham Hall in North Norfolk.

The three-red-AA-star Georgian manor house was undergoing £2.4m of extension work at the time of Von Essen’s collapse. The project included 12 new bedrooms, and a spa with a swimming pool, gym and four treatment rooms.

Dickinson, who began his career at Chewton Glen and ran Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons for five years, bought the hotel for a gudie price of £2.5m, less than the asking price of £3m.

“I am delighted to be returning to the world I know and love,” he said. “This acquisition provides the platform to re-establish Congham as one of the pre-eminent Country hotels in the UK.”

The final two...

These deals leave just two former Von Essen hotels looking for buyers – Sharrow Bay in the Lake District and Ston Easton Park in Somerset. BigHospitality understands that both hotels are close to having deals agreed. Watch this space.

Related topics: Business, Hotels, Venues

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