In a deal worth £20m, De Vere Group has announced the sale to Britannia Hotels of the Royal Bath in Bournemouth and the De Vere Daresbury Park in Warrington.
The announced purchase is the latest acquisition for Britannia Hotels after the owner-operator of a number of hotels including Liverpool's Adelphi Hotel bought two Scarborough hotels out of administration earlier this year.
The De Vere Group, with annual turnover last year of £360m, also announced it was negotiating the sale of two more venues - the Grand Harbour in Southampton and the University Arms in Cambridge.
The sales are the result of a strategic review carried out earlier this year which Andrew Coppel, group chief executive, said had identified 'development opportunities' including expansion of both the Venues and Village brands for the business.
"We are pleased to have successfully disposed of these two properties. The proceeds from our disposal programme will go towards funding a range of exciting development opportunities across the group, building a better De Vere and generating increased value for our stakeholders," he said.
Capital investment programmes are also now expected in a number of the nine luxury De Vere Hotels.
De Vere Village
Of the four hotels that have been disposed of, or are planning to be sold by the group, one, the De Vere Daresbury Park in Warrington, is part of the De Vere Village Hotels brand. The mid-scale offering is currently available in a portfolio of 25 properties and typically consists of a 125-bed hotel, a bar and grill, pub and kitchen, Starbucks-branded coffee shop and a leisure facility.
This week De Vere Village Hotels launched a new luxury room type in three of its properties, 'Upper Deck', which it says will be rolled-out to the entire estate by September. The room type will feature in around 20 bedrooms or 20 per cent of the bed stock in each venue and will include a luxury mattress, full Sky TV entertainment package, Bose music speakers and a Starbucks hospitality tray.
Robert Cook, De Vere Village Hotels chief executive, said the 'Upper Deck' launch was a way of reinventing a luxury offering in a mid-scale property while still keeping room rate and profitability high.
"Across the industry, and even before the economic downturn, we saw the downgrading of the upgraded status, especially in the mid-market segment. Cost cutting to improve profitability or just to keep your head above water has in most cases has prompted the stripping back of the basics in room amenities. Meanwhile, the sector is not seeing much by way of new investment and little is on the horizon," he said.
Cook, who took over from Gary Davis after Davis moved to Cook's former role at Malmaison and Hotel du Vin, added that: "I've always thought that the real potential of Village was waiting to be realised."
'Upper Deck' was unveiled last week at venues at Chester St Davids, Solihull and Swansea.
De Vere Venues
De Vere Venues, which will also be expanded after the recent property sale, currently boasts 28 residential conferencing and training venues in its portfolio plus a further eight where De Vere Venues has responsibility for sales and marketing.
In November this year a £20m Nottingham hotel will open on a site adjacent to the East Midlands Conference Centre to be managed by De Vere Venues.