TV Dragon James Caan finalizes sale of Von Essen hotel empire

Hamilton Bradshaw, Caan’s private equity firm, paid £ 3million for the 22-room Ston Easton Park hotel in Bath and £ 1.5million for the 24-room Sharrow Bay hotel in Cumbria .

The deal ends a 17-month sale process of 26 country house hotels in the estate of Von Essen Hotels Ltd, after the group fell under administration in April last year.

“We are delighted to have sold the beautiful Ston Easton Park and Sharrow Bay country hotels in Hamilton Bradshaw, and to have closed the sales on all of the instructions,” said Jeremy Hill, Director and Head of Hotels at Christie & Co, who advised on all Von Essen transactions.

Quality assets

“The fact that we were able to do this in just over a year, and when market conditions – including the lack of available debt financing – could at best be characterized as difficult, is symptomatic of two things.

“First of all, because there will always be a market for high quality assets like those from the Von Essen Hotels estate; and on the other hand, the national coverage of Christie & Co, its experience and its network of significant and diversified contacts in the hotel industry and associated sectors.

“We have really enjoyed working with the directors Ernst & Young on this process and wish all the new owners the best of luck with their new business acquisitions. “

The sale of the 26 former Von Essen hotels in the UK, as well as an island fort in Wales and a castle in France, brings the total proceeds from the sale of Von Essen Hotels Ltd to around £ 165 million sterling, below the original price of £ 203.25 million.

Von Essen: Timeline

  • April 2011: Von Essen Hotels Ltd, the holding company of the 28-person luxury hotel group, entered administration after defaulting on his debt repayment schedule.
  • October 2011: Four former Von Essen hotels – Amberley Castle, Lower Slaughter Manor, Buckland Manor and Washbourne Court – have been bought out of administration by hotelier Andrew Brownsword. (Total sale price: £ 32million)
  • October 2011: The Samling Hotel in Cumbria has been sold to private owners. (Just under £ 6million)
  • October 2011: The Wiltshire Bishopstrow House hotel was acquired by Longleat, the estate of the 7th Marquess of Bath. (Indicative price £ 6million)
  • November 2011: The Greenway Spa hotel in Cheltenham was acquired by Eden Hotel Collection to join its domain of classic, country and town hotels. (Indicative price £ 3.5million)
  • November 2011: The Eden Hotel Collection has purchased The Mount Somerset country hotel, the second Von Essen hotel to be purchased by the company in less than a month. (Indicative price £ 3million)
  • November 2011: Longleat has acquired a second hotel in the former Von Essen estate – Homewood Park Hotel & Spa. (£ 3.5 million)
  • December 2011:Seven hotels in the portfolio were sold to Halcyon Hotels and Resorts, which was the largest package sale of the entire portfolio. The seven properties were: The Elms; the Fowey Room; The wing is at Ickworth; Moonfleet Manor; Woolley Grange; Thornbury Castle; and New Park Manor. (Total sale price: £ 40.5million)
  • December 2011: Callow Hall in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, was acquired by an anonymous private buyer. (Around £ 2.25million)
  • January 2012:Ynshir Hall, a Welsh mansion that once belonged to Queen Victoria, became the 19th Von Essen hotel to be acquired by the administration and has been handed over to the welcoming hands of its managing director. (Amount withheld, but indicative price of £ 1.5million)
  • February 2012: The Cliveden House Hotel in Buckinghamshire has been sold to billionaire property developer brothers Ian and Richard Livingston in the most expensive individual sale of the lot. (£ 30million)
  • February 2012: The former owners of Lewtrenchard Manor took over ownership of the hotel which they initially sold to Von Essen in 2003. (less than the asking price of £ 750,000)
  • March 2012: Dalhousie Castle, near Edinburgh, was bought by Robert and Gina Parker, for about half the price originally paid by Von Essen for the property in 2003. (£ 5million)
  • April 2012: Three of the last remaining hotels in the Von Essen portfolio were sold to various buyers within a week. The hotels included Congham Hall (sold to Nicholas Dickinson for £ 2.5million); The Royal Crescent (sold to the Topland Group for £ 18million) And Seaham Hall (sold to Seasons Holidays for £ 5million).
  • September 2012: The last two hotels in the Von Essen portfolio, Ston Easton Park in Somerset and Sharrow Bay in Cumbria, have been sold to Hamilton Bradshaw. (total sale price: £ 4.5m)


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