De Vere Group
De Vere Group operates three distinct collections of hotels and largely residential conference and training centres under the De Vere Hotels, De Vere Village Urban Resorts and De Vere Venues brands. De Vere Hotels also incorporates a five-star timeshar
Website:http://www.deveregroup.co.uk/ (Opens in New Window)
- December 2013 De Vere Group plans to sell its two core businesses to offset its £1.1b bank debts. Starwood Capital – already in the frame to buy De Vere Venues – is also seen as a likely buyer of the nine De Vere golf hotels and the 25 Village Urban Resorts.
- December 2013 The group sells its De Vere Training business to Lifetime Training for an undisclosed sum. The sale follows the closure earlier this year of the 12 De Vere Academy of Hospitality centres, which is blamed on changes in financial support from government.
- November 2013 The De Vere Grand in Brighton is put on the market for more than £50m. The sale of the hotel along with De Vere Venues will help reduce its £1.1b debt and leave it with eight golfing hotels (including two management contracts) and the three-star De Vere Urban Village Resort chain.
- October 2013 Robert Cook believes there is an opportunity in the UK for a major new boutique hotel brand.
- September 2013 The group buys a long leasehold on its first De Vere Village Urban Resort in Scotland, due to open in Aberdeen in November 2014.
- August 2013 US private investment firm Starwood Capital group (which bought Principal Hayley Group this February) is believed to be close to buying De Vere Venues for up to £280m. Private equity firm TDR Capital – which once backed PizzaExpress - is also seen as a contender.
- June 2013 De Vere Venues wins the contract to manage the East Sussex National hotel meetings, events and golf complex.
- June 2013 A £6m refurbishment of the De Vere Mottram Hall in Cheshire will include what is claimed to be the most comprehensive meetings and events spaces in the North-west.
- April 2013 De Vere Venues announces its 39th site in the form of a contract to manage Altitude London in Millbank Tower near the Houses of Parliament. The group now has nine management contracts following recent wins for Studley Castle in Redditch, near Birmingham, Chicheley Hall in Buckinghamshire and Kassam Stadium in Oxfordshire.
- April 2013 The group hires Lazard to sell De Vere Venues – the UK’s largest training venue chain - on the market in a bid to raise up to £300m to reduce its £1.1m debt. Its 38 sites are a mix of freehold, leasehold, managed or franchised venues.
- March 2013 Italian restaurant brand Vinny & Vito's is launched in three De Vere Village Urban Resorts - in Swansea, Manchester and Bury. It will expand to the Cardiff hotel in May and to other properties in the 25-strong chain.
- March 2013 De Vere Venues announces its first franchise agreement (with Firoka Group) for Heythrop Park in Oxfordshire, which boosts the business to 38 properties.
- February 2013 De Vere Mottram Hall in Cheshire introduces a new bedrooms upgrade, Chambre Unique, which will be rolled out to the other properties.
- December 2012 De Vere exchanges contracts to sell the 173-bedroom Grand Harbour in Southampton to a private buyer. The deal concludes in Februarry 2013.
- November 2012 Real estate investor Melford Capital buys the De Vere University Arms in Cambridge, which becomes an associate hotel. This leaves De Vere with just two non-golfing properties - the Grand Harbour in Southampton and the Grand in Brighton - to offload.
- October 2012 De Vere Venues sells Barony Castle in Peebles, Scottish Borders, for more than the guide price of £1.95m to Prestige Hotel Management. The property is relaunched under Accor's Mercure brand after a £400,000 refurbishment.
- September 2012 Three new De Vere Village Urban Resorts are confirmed for Portsmouth (at the Lakeside North Harbour development), Aberdeen and Edinburgh, with a Glasgow site to be signed shortly. The brand is also targeting sites in Oxford, Cambridge, Brighton, Bristol, Plymouth and Durham.
- August 2012 The De Vere Group reveals it saved enough energy last year to power the London Olympics for six months.
- August 2012 De Vere is reunited with the Belfry golf resort in Sutton Coldfield when new owner – US investment firm KSL Capital Partners – appoints it to oversee a £25m refurbishment. KSL goes on to buy the boutique Malmaison and Hotel du Vin chains in March 2013 after owner MWB goes into administration.
- July 2012 The company plans to merge its two hotel divisions- De Vere Hotels and De Vere Village Urban Resorts - under the leadership of Robert Cook.
- June 2012 De Vere hotels will become a dedicated golf resort division after the sale of the Grand Harbour, the University Arms and (in 2014 after a £4.25m refurbishment) the Grand in Brighton. The group hopes to sign three management contracts with golfing hotels, including its former trophy property the Belfry.
- June 2012 Kellie Rixon, managing director of the De Vere Academy of Hospitality and group brand development director, wins a CBE in the Queen's birthday honours list.
- June 2012 De Vere Village’s 25 properties are relaunched as De Vere Village Urban Resorts and facilities rebranded as Victory Chop & Ale House, Velocity Health and Fitness and Viva Urban Spa.
- May 2012 De Vere Group is said to be planning to invest up to £120m in its hotels and conference centres over the next three years.
- April 2012 De Vere Group sells the Royal Bath in Bournemouth and the De Vere Daresbury Park in Warrington to Britannia Hotels for £20m.
- April 2012 De Vere Village is to trial a new superior room type called Upperdeck at three hotels (in Chester St Davids, Solihull and Swansea), anticipate 20 per hhotel 1000 total by September. De Vere Venues opens Colmore Gate in Birmingham, its first non-residential site outside London.
- March 2012 De Vere Venues is to manage the East Midland conference centre at the University of Nottingham including a new eco-friendly hotel, the Orchard, which opens in November.
- March 2012 De Vere Village has won planning applications to build new sites in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Milton Keynes, Bracknell, Crawley and Portsmouth as part of its bid to add 18 new properties to the chain. Unlike the current 26 hotels which are company owned, new hotels will be a mix of freehold and leasehold properties.
- February 2012 De Vere Village is to introduce real local ales in all its26 Victory pubs, revamp the menus in March and seek CAMRA LocAle accreditation. De Vere Venues opens its first non-residential centre outside London at Colmore Gate in Birmingham.
- January 2012 De Vere hopes to raise £65m to develop three new-build De Vere Village hotels by selling four hotels and one conference venue (Barony Castle near Edinburgh). De Vere hotels for the chop include the Grand Harbour in Southampton, Royal Bath in Bournemouth, University Arms in Cambridge and Daresbury Park in Warrington.
- January 2012 The Belfry golfing resort is put on the market by its lenders as Sean Quinn faces banktruptcy following the Irish property crash that scuppered his redevelopment plans.
- January 2012 Robert Cook, the former chief executive of MWB’s Malmaison and Hotel du Vin swaps jobs with Gary Davies to become chief executive of De Vere Village Urban Resorts plus the golf business across the group.
- January 2012 Healthcare charity Nuffield Health buys the 15 Greens health and fitness clubs from De Vere.
- December 2011 The De Vere Academy of Hospitality, now two years old, launches a new one-year apprenticeship.
- November 2011 De Vere Venues agrees a Preferred Partnership with Cineworld that involves three of its sites in London – O2, Haymarket and West India Quay.
- September 2011 De Vere Venues is a partner in Brigade, a London project to help the homeless and disadvantaged find work. Brigade is a bistro with bar, cook school and event/private dining space in the historic Fire Station near London Bridge.
- September 2011 Andrew Coppell becomes chairman after Richard Balfour-Lynn and chief financial officer Jag Singh leave and a reshuffle is announced in October. Balfour-Lynn steps down from MWB Holdings six months later in March 2012.
- August 2011 De Vere Group sells white spirit distiller G&J Greenall – which produces gin and vodka in Warrington, Lancashire - to a private equity group for £7.5m before costs.
- June 2011 De Vere Venue’s first London Academy of Hospitality opens at Devonport House in Greenwich. It is the seventh to open in 16 months, joining academies at Stockport, Crewe, Milton Keynes, Liverpool and Manchester. More are planned for Brighton, Leeds, Glasgow and London.
- February 2011 Richard Balfour Lynn denies reports that AHG is considering a sale of all or part of the group.
- March 2011 De Vere Village plans to build a 128-bedroom hotel at Patcham Court Farm in Brighton.
- February 2011 Planet Hollywood founder Robert Earl opens his Italian restaurant concept Buca di Beppo in the Newcastle De Vere Village and plans to roll it out to properties in Liverpool, Swindon and Blackpool by the end of March.
- January 2011 The Studio’s venues in Birmingham and Manchester and Searcy’s Commonwealth Club in London join De Vere Venues Preferred Partners programme.
- December 2010 AHG is renamed De Vere Group to reflect the strength of its brands. It currently comprises 11 De Vere hotels, 29 De Vere Venues conference centres and 26 De Vere Village hotels. Six new De Vere Villages are planned for 2012.
- September 2010 The second De Vere Academy of Hospitality opens, at De Vere Venue’s Wychwood Park in Crewe, Cheshire. Three more are planned for Liverpool, Milton Keynes and Greenwich, London.
- July 2010 De Vere Hotels and Resorts will re-establish its 13 hotels as a distinct and separate business after grouping it with De Vere Venues for marketing purposes. The Ricoh Arena in Coventry joins De Vere Venue’s Preferred Partners programme.
- July 2010 De Vere Venues wins two management contracts – for the Ricoh Arena in Coventry and for Tesco’s residential training centre and hotel Ponsbourne Park in Hertfordshire. The group offers military families returning home from service the chance to stay at one of its 25 participating properties for just £1 per night.
- June 2010 Contract caterer Searcy's is poised to clinch a £2m management buyout, far short of the £2m AHG paid for it in 2007. The deal concludes in July.
- May 2010 De Vere Venues sells the Old Swan and Minster Mill in Minster Lovell, Oxfordshire, to Lana de Savary.
- March 2010 AHG completes a £650m debt-for-equity swap with Bank of Scotland that cuts its debt from £1.7b to just over £1b. The move follows a 28% fall in the value of its properties, which include 13 De Vere’s, 22 Village hotels and 29 De Vere Venues.
- February 2010 The first De Vere Academy for Hospitality apprenticeships opens at De Vere Venue’s Cheadle House at Manchester airport. It is a joint venture between AHG, MWB Holdings and the National Apprenticeship Scheme.
- November 2009 The Village Solihull opens near Birmingham.
- August 2009 Richard Balford Lynn denies reports that AHG is to restructure its £1.4b debt with Lloyds in a huge debt-for-equity swap.
- November 2008 Michelin-starred chef Martin Wishart is to return to Cameron House to head up the new restaurant that opens next month.
- August 2008 De Vere links up with Manor Kingdom estates to seek planning permission to build the first five-star hotel in the Scottish Borders. The proposed £50m, 150-bedroom Rutherford Castle hotel in West Linton would include a PGA standard golf course. The De Vere Oulton Hall near Leeds is criticised for plans to charge childrens’ Sunday lunches by their weight.
- May 2008 Coffee chain Starbucks opens the first of a planned 10 concessions in Village hotels at the new property in Ashton Moss, Manchester.
- May 2008 AHG insists the head office restructure is not responsible for a spate of senior management departures this year. More resignations follow in June, including the marketing director and the second general manager at Cameron House in a year.
- April 2008 Village hotels is to more than double its portfolio from 18 to 50 over the next five years. New openings are planned in Ashton Moss, Lancashires; south Leeds; and Elstree, Hertordshire this year and in Solihull, Bristol and Farnborough in Surrey next year.
- March 2008 AHG is to close the old De Vere headquarters in Daresbury, Warrington.
- February 2008 An investigation is launched into a major fire at the De Vere Grand in Brighton. Belton Woods is taken off the market after its fortunes improve under new general manager Mark Frances.
- October 2007 The underperforming De Vere Belton Woods in Lincolnshire is put on the market.
- September 2007 AHG is to invest £60m overhauling its 17 Village hotels over next three years. Five new Village properties will open in next 18 months.
- June 2007 AHG is set to buy upmarket contract caterer Searcy's (founded in 1847) as part of its focus on food and the deal – estimated to be worth £20m-£25m – is clinched later in the month. AHG pledges not to change the Searcy brand.
- June 2007 The flotation of Vector Hospitality is pulled at the 11th hour, a day after the proposed share price is dropped. Investors are concerned by the state of the property market and Vector’s management structure, which Balfour-Lynn defends against accusations of mismanagement.
- June 2007 AHG plans to open at least six new Greens health and fitness clubs over the next 12 months.
- May 2007 AHG announces a £25m investment to transform the De Vere Cameron House in Loch Lomond into the ‘Gleneages of the West’. The share price for Vector Hospitality’s 71 hotel assets is revealed.
- April 2007 Balfour-Lynn links up with ex Hilton Group boss Sir David Michels to announce the UK’s first hotel REIT (real estate investment trust). Vector Hospitality comprises a £2.6b portfolio of assets operated by Malmaison, Hotel du Vin, De Vere, Village Hotels, Hilton, Marriot, Rezidor, Thistle and Guoman.
- April 2007 AHG accepts a reputed £20m payment to relinquish its management contract on the Belfry, which owner Quinn Group wants to raze and redevelop into a world-class, five-star golf resort in a £200m, five-year project.
- April 2007 AHG is to introduce dedicated food and beverage directors in each of its 13 De Vere hotels and its larger Venues.
- February 2007 AHG makes three senior appointments to spearhead a move to put food and beverage at the heart of its hotel and conference businesses. It plans to rebrand De Vere Hotels & Resorts under the Heritage and Deluxe banners.
- January 2007 Richard Balfour-Lynn appoints Deutsche Bank to advise on a planned £2b REIT focussed on his £1.3b hotel portfolio. The group secures planning permission to build a 106-bedroom Village hotel at Capitol Park in Leeds due to open by spring 2008.
- 2007 During the year, De Vere opens The Carrick timeshare development near Cameron House, Loch Lomond.
- September 2006 De Vere Hotels is renamed De Vere Resorts as AHG repositions the brand for the five-star market. Several De Vere properties are to transfer to the 29-strong Verve Venues portfolio, which is to be reamed De Vere Venues after a major refurbishment programme. The first De Vere Venues site opens at Holborn Bars in London. AHG is looking to operate up to 50 Village hotels.
- September 2006 De Vere wins the breach of contract case brought by Belfry owner the Quinn Group. It sells the De Vere Cavendish St James in London’s St Jermyn Street for £100m to Ritz hotel owners the Barclay brothers.
- August 2006 The AHG takeover is approved by 95% of De Vere shareholders, which also agree the £42m sale-and-manageback of Carden Park near Chester to director Stephen Morgan. The takeover completes in September, when chief executive Carl Leaver leaves.
- July 2006 AHG makes a third offer of 875p per share (valuing De Vere at £767.4m) and Permira withdraws from the battle. The deal is given the green light by the Pensions Regulator. AHG intends to split the property assets from the operating company, possibly sell Greens fitness centres, and convert some of its conference centres (now called Verve Venues) to the De Vere brand.
- June 2006 AHG becomes the favouite to buy De Vere Group, which now operates 19 De Vere hotels, 16 Village Leisures, 155 timeshares and 15 Greens fitness clubs. De Vere prefers its £693m bid to an over-conditional, informal offer of £705m from Permira and AHG agrees a cash offer that values De Vere at £723.5m (£1.1b including debt and pensions). Permira, which has just bought Principal Hotels, plans to trump this offer but AGH raises its bid to £745.4m.
- May 2006 Verve opens a new specialist residential training facility built for BMW at Wokefield Park in Berkshire, which it will manage under a long-term contract. It’s the first of a series of planned partnerships with clients to put under-used assets and land to work.
- April 2006 The conference business is renamed Verve Venues and a new brand – Verve City – is unveiled for the non-residential city sites previously called City Style. The group plans to target the leisure market by upgrading its properties to four-star standard, strengthening its golf and wedding facilities, and adding new services such as spas, health and fitness centres and activity-led learning weekends.
- February 2006: Initial Style Conferences takes over the management of the 150-bedroom Sunningdale Park hotel training and conference centre in Bromley, Kent, after the Cathedral Group buys it from Hanover International for £15m.
- December 2005 The Alternative Hotel Group (AHG) succeeds in its £325m bid for Rentokil’s 29-strong Initial Style Conferences business.
- November 2005 De Vere Group withdraws from the auction for Initial Style Conferences, leaving two shortlisted contenders - private investors Lazard Private Equity and Patron Capital. A new player, Alternative Hotel Group (AHG), then emerges with a £325m offer. AHG is a joint venture between Bank of Scotland and a group of investors led by Richard Balfour-Lynn and other directors of MWB Holdings (including Robert Cook, managing director of the Malmaison and Hotel du Vin boutique hotel chains).
Chairman Nicholas Bull
Group chief executive Andrew Coppel
Chief executive officer De Vere Hotels & Village Urban Resorts Robert Cook
Chief executive officer De Vere Venues Tony Dangerfield
Group development director Bruce Cave
More links on catererandhotelkeeper.co.uk
The Hot Scots Power 40 - Stephen Carter, De Vere Cameron House
Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100 (2012) Robert Cook
Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100 (2012) Andrew Coppell
Minute on the clock - Matt Shiells-Jones
The Caterer and Hotelkeeper Interview - Robert Cook
Tom McLachlan wins De Vere Academy of Hospitality National Chef of the Year
Hotel Cateys 2011 - Hotelier of the Year
Hotelier of the Year - Stephen Carter
Stephen Carter named 2011 Hotelier of the Year
Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100 (2011) Richard Balfour-Lynn
Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100 (2011) Andrew Coppell
Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100 (2011 Martin Wishart
De Vere Academy gets off to a flying start
Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100 (2010) Richard Balfour-Lynn
Interview - Richard Balfour-Lynn on De Vere, Malmaison and Searcys
Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100 (2006) Richard Balfour-Lynn
What De Vere did next
Nine of the four- and fie-star hotels fall under the De Vere Golf brand, while the group’s timeshare business De Vere Luxury Lodges, is located at three sites – Belton Woods, Cameron House and Slaley Hall. The fourth Luxury Lodge, The Carrick, is a separate development at Cameron House.
Two hotels (the Belfry and Carden Park) are managed.
De Vere Belfry, Birmingham (managed)
De Vere Belton Woods, Grantham, Lincolnshire
De Vere Cameron House, Loch Lomond, Dunbartonshire
De Vere Carden Park, Chester, Cheshire (managed)
De Vere Dunston Hall, Norwich, Norfolk
De Vere Grand, Brighton, East Sussex (to be marketed for sale in 2014)
De Vere Mottram Hall, Manchester, Cheshire
De Vere Oulton Hall, Leeds, Yorkshire
De Vere Slaley Hall, Hexham, Northumberland
Associate hotel University Arms Hotel, Cambridge
Brands include Buca di beppo, Victory Chop & Alehouse, Victory Pub & Kitchen, Vinny & Vito, Verve Grill, Starbucks, Velocity Health & Fitness, Viva Urban Spa, Hub events
Locations: Birmingham Dudley, Birmingham Walsall, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Cardiff, Chester St David's, Coventry, Farnborough, Hull, Leeds North, Leeds South, Liverpool, London Elstree, Maidstone, Manchester Ashton, Manchester Bury, Manchester Cheadle, Manchester Hyde, Newcastle, Nottingham. Solihull, Swansea. Swindon, Warrington, Wirral
De Vere Venues more than 30
The business also has links with other venues through its Preferred Partners Programme. Locations include:
Brigade, SE1, London
Canary Wharf, E14, London
Cheadle House, Cheadle, Cheshire
Chicheley Hall, Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire
Colmore Gate, Birmingham
Denham Grove Uxbridge, Buckinghamshire
Devonport House, Greenwich, London
East Midland Conference Centre & Orchard Hotel, Nottingham
East Sussex National, Uckfield, East Sussex
Gorse Hill, Woking, Surrey
Harben, Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshires
Hartsfield Manor, Betchworth, Surrey
Heythrop Park, Oxfordshire
Highfield Park, Hook, Hampshire
Holborn Bars, EC1, London
Horsley Park, East Horsley, Surrey
Hunton Park, Hunton Bridge, Hertfordshire
Kassam Stadium, Oxfordshire
Latimer Place Chesham, Buckinghamshire
Milton Hill House, Abingdon, Nr Oxford
New Place, Southampton, Hampshire
Ponsbourne Park, Hertfordshire
17 Portland Place, W1, London
Staverton Park, Daventry, Northamptonshire
Studley Castle, Studley, Oxfordshire
Sunningdale Park, Ascot, Berkshire
Theobalds Park, Cheshunt,Hertfordshire
Uplands House, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire
Warbrook House, Hook, Hampshire
Weetwood Hall, Leeds
West One, W1, London
Wokefield Park, Reading, Berkshire
Wychwood Park, Weston, Nr Crewe
Year ended 31 December 2011
Group (60 hotels)
Turnover: £363.8m (2010: £351.2m
(excludes Greens and timeshare business)
De Vere Hotels (10)
Hotel Revenue £87.4m (2010: £86.5m)
De Vere Venues (23)
Hotel Revenue £112.2m (2010: £106.8m)
Village Urban Resorts
Hotel Revenue £112.2m (2010: £180.1m)
Address:Lakeview, 600 Lakeside Drive