Eden Hotel Collection has bought Bovey Castle for an undisclosed sum and is planning a major investment to bring the country house estate up to scratch. The hotel includes an 18-hole championship golf course, a spa, country lodges and an outdoor pursuits centre. Eden also owns eight other hotels across the Midlands, the Cotswolds and the South West.
BigHospitality spoke to managing director of the Eden Hotel Collection Mark Chambers about the new acquisition and the group’s future plans.
When asked why Bovey Castle appealed to the group, Chambers said: “This hotel came across our desks three years ago so it has been known to us for a while. In terms of its fit, it’s a really boutique style property on a scale that is very appealing to us. We’re after some bigger hotels now, so on the one hand it was the fit and the boutique nature that interested us, but more specifically the size. Its South West location was important as well, it’s a good connection to our other hotels.”
The Eden group plans to start its work on Bovey Castle by spending around £2m on renovation and improvements.
“It’s early days so we’re still getting our feet under the table, but we have earmarked a significant sum in order to upgrade and give the property the love and attention it needs,” said Chambers. “A portion of the money will be allocated on the fabric of the building, fixing gutters, leaky roofs and broken bits. The remainder will be allocated across various upgrade programmes in bedrooms, public areas, food and beverage operations, the back of house and the kitchen.
“That’s only the tip of the iceberg though. Us owning the hotel is about a long-term commitment to the property and location, the initial money that’s been allocated is just the start. There will be investment over a number of years to get the property up to the standards it needs to be at.”
A family business
In terms of branding, Eden Hotel Collection refers to itself as a family business, stating that one of its core values is the importance of integrating into the local community and building links with local businesses, people and suppliers. The group aims to make a positive impact on the local economy in Bovey Castle’s surrounding Devon.
Chambers said: We’re not a faceless business, we’re a family business and as a family business we realise the importance of relationships that take on a number of different angles. Being part of the local community is important to us, with big hotels you can be seen as the posh place on the hill, and we don’t want that image. We want to engage with our neighbours and for them to come and use the hotel, and we want to be part of local community events.”
When asked if the Eden Hotel Collection had further expansion plans, Chambers said: “We’re always looking to expand, though we’ve got our hands fairly full at the moment with the properties and projects we’ve got. But if we feel something right comes along, and maybe the timings not ideal but it’s important we do the deal then we’ll do the deal.
“We’re open to expanding in other areas of the UK too, at the moment we have a nice geographical spread from the Midlands down into the South West. I expect to move slightly further east in future, and London is always a target location.”