The Quinion family has sold the three red-AA-star Farlam Hall Country House hotel in Cumbria after 44 years of ownership to regular guests from the US.
One of the UK’s longest running family-owned hotels, the 12-bedroom, 19th century property near Brampton has been acquired for close to the asking price of nearly £1m to husband and wife Joseph Walter and Kathy Mares, who are based in Seattle.
Walter and Mares – owners of a B&B in Carmel, California, and holiday homes in Hawaii – now plan to undertake “a sympathetic refurbishment” of the property.
Peter and Bb Hall (pictured below) have been appointed to manage the hotel with immediate effect. The Halls previously spent 28 years managing the 26-bedroom Wadenhoe House hotel in Northamptonshire, which was recently sold back into private ownership.
Peter said: “We are thrilled to be managing Farlam and working with a such a loyal and professional team of staff. Taking this beautiful property forward into its next chapter is an exciting new challenge.”
He added that the interior had become “a little tired” in recent years and the intention was to retain the traditions and history of the building while undertaking “a refurbishment that reflected the locality using the colour palette of the surrounding hills”.
All 16 staff have been retained at the hotel, with the sous chef of 17 years Matt Jefferson taking on the role of head chef from Barry Quinion, whose wife Lynne and sister Helen ran the hotel’s front-of-house.
The Quinions said: “It was with heavy hearts that we decided to retire after 44 wonderful years at Farlam, but now is the right time. We see this as a positive move for everyone concerned and we wish the new guard the best of success for the future.”
Walter and Mares have been staying at Farlam for more than 20 years. Walter said: “We love the ambience of the house, the great food, and there are few locations in the world with such stunning natural beauty. When it came up for sale, we had to buy.”
Originally put up for sale with Christie & Co in April 2015 for £1.8m, the asking price was dropped to £995,000 last year. The Victorian hotel has been a member of sales and marketing consortium Relais & Châteaux for 34 years and appeared consistently in the Good Food Guide for 41 years. Peter said it would be “a priority” for Farlam Hall to remain as a member of Relais & Châteaux.
Located within a six-acre estate, the main property includes a 40-cover restaurant and two lounges, while two substantial stone buildings in the grounds have lapsed planning permission for the development of additional accommodation.
There are also two additional buildings – Laundry Cottage and Stable House comprising three self-contained cottages. While the Halls will live in one of the cottages, it is expected that the other out-building will be converted into holiday lets or additional bedrooms.