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Courtyards go for £79m to partnership

Whitbread has sold its 11 Courtyard by Marriott hotels for £79m to a partnership of privately owned Kew Green Hotels and property investment firm Chiltern Mondiale.

Chiltern Mondiale has bought the freeholds and Kew Green has agreed 35-year leases on each property. It will take over the operation of the hotels on 9 December.

The purchase almost trebles the number of hotels belonging to Kew Green and will take its turnover to more than £40m by the end of next year.

Kew Green was set up in 2001 by Paul Johnson and Jeremy Richardson, both former executives at motorway service operator Welcome Break. Johnson said: “We are very pleased to have secured this deal. The Courtyard brand is extremely popular and it has great potential for growth in the UK.”

Prior to the Courtyard deal Kew Green ran only four leased hotels, with a combined total of 450 bedrooms, under the Days Hotel and Express by Holiday Inn franchises.

Next year the company will open a 183-bedroom Express by Holiday Inn at Stansted on 24 January, and a 120-bedroom Days hotel in Luton in May. Johnson said he planned to open three new-build hotels in 2006, but could not give further details at this stage.

He also plans to open four new-build Courtyard hotels in the next three or four years.

Whitbread announced in May that it wanted to sell its Courtyard chain, saying it wanted to quit the three-star market to concentrate on its budget Premier Travel Inn and four-star Marriott chains.

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