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Bespoke to take on management of 40 ex-Shearings hotels

13 August 2020 by

Bespoke Hotels has finalised a five-year management agreement for 40 ex-Shearings hotels, after the company was put into administration in May.

Almost all of the hotels from the Bay, Coast & Country and Country Living collections have joined the Bespoke Hotels banner effective immediately, including the Windermere hotel, Cumbria; the Caledonian in Fort William; the Ship and Castle in St Mawes; and the newly refurbished St George in Harrogate (pictured).

Having been closed since March, Bespoke Hotels will gradually start to reopen the properties over the coming months, with the Pitlochry Hydro, the Windermere and the Derwentwater Hotel & Manor Apartments earmarked to reopen first in late August.

The group only owned the freehold of the Grand hotel in Exmouth and had a long lease for the Majestic hotel in Bournemouth. Agents have been appointed to market these two properties.

The remaining 42 hotels were not under the control of the administrators. 40 of these are owned by LSEREF3 Laser (Shearings), a subsidiary of Lone Star Funds, and the remaining two were leased from a third-party and have been handed back to their respective landlords.

Bespoke Hotels regional director, Paul FitzGerald, will be leading the project internally.

Bespoke's chief executive Thomas Greenall said: "This news is particularly welcome in these trying times for our industry. This new arrangement ensures that we can create jobs at a challenging time for employees in the sector."

Specialist Leisure Group, parent company of the 117-year-old Shearings coach holiday brand and operator of 44 hotels in the UK, fell into administration after failing to secure a rescue deal. The group was significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic as all tours, trips and events were cancelled and the hotels closed to the public, leading to a significant cash shortfall. The jobs of 2,460 employees were made redundant.

Shearings Holidays was the UK's largest escorted tour operator and traced its roots to 1903 when Smiths Happiways was established in Wigan. Main stakeholder Lone Star Funds took control of Shearings in 2016, and the company rebranded as Specialist Leisure Group in 2018.

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Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

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