Singapore-based property and investment company Fragrance Group is making a serious assault on the UK hotel market having snapped up two more hotels to add to its acquisition last week of the 85-bedroom Townhouse hotel in Manchester (pictured above).
Alongside the Townhouse hotel bought from Dublin-based Harcourt Developments for £12.5m; Fragrance Group has also acquired the 115-bedroom Crown hotel in Harrogate from a consortium of private investors off a guide price of £8.5m; and the 141-bedroom Lyndene hotel in Blackpool from Deborah and Steven Dunn, off a guide price of £6.5m.
All three properties are to be operated by Bespoke Hotels, another rapidly expanding company with a portfolio that now numbers more than 200 hotels worldwide.
The latest acquisitions take the number of hotels owned by Fragrance Group in the UK up to five. In February the company bought the four-AA-star, 180-bedroom Imperial hotel in Blackpool, for £12.8m, and immediately appointed Redefine|BDL to manage the property.
Five months later Fragrance added the 141-bedroom Palace hotel in Torquay, off a guide price of more than £10m. The Palace has since closed to undergo “an extensive redevelopment”.
Fragrance Group was founded in 2000 by Koh Wee Meng, one of Singapore’s richest businessmen with a fortune of around $1.9b, according to Forbes magazine. The group owns budget chain Fragrance Hotel, which has 21 properties in Singapore, and is in the process of developing two hotels with 400 and 495 bedrooms respectively in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.
James Koh, founder, chairman and chief executive of Fragrance Group said of the Townhouse acquisition and Manchester: “The city forms a cornerstone of our UK investment strategy, and the Townhouse is a property that we view as having tremendous potential within this. We are excited to be investing in Manchester at a time when it is rapidly establishing itself as one of the foremost destinations in Europe, both commercially and in the eyes of tourists.”
Located on Portland Street, the Grade II-listed Townhouse hotel was built in 1870 as a cotton townhouse, before being converted to a hotel in 1982. Following an extensive refurbishment programme in 2010, which created the current boutique hotel offer, with a brasserie, bar and business centre, Macdonald Hotels & Resorts was appointed to manage the hotel.
Lambert Smith Hampton sold the Townhouse hotel on behalf of Harcourt Developments, while Knight Frank sold the Crown hotel. Savills acted on behalf of Fragrance Group.
Martin Rogers, head of UK hotel transactions at Savills, said: “The regional hotel market continues to perform strongly in 2017, with the north accounting for 36% of all hotel transactions in the first half of the year. Overseas investors are particularly active as they seek long term income from prominent local hotels.”
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