Grace Leo and Tim Hartnoll buy Bexhill's Cooden Beach hotel

13 April 2021 by
Grace Leo and Tim Hartnoll buy Bexhill's Cooden Beach hotel

James Kimber has sold the freehold of Cooden Beach hotel in Bexhill-On-Sea, East Sussex, to Grace Leo and Tim Hartnoll off a guide price of £6.9m.

Kimber owned and operated the 41-bedroom property, which was built in 1928, for 16 years. The acquisition by Leo and Hartnoll follows their purchase of the Red Lion hotel in Henley-on-Thames less than six months ago, which will reopen as the Relais Henley later this year following a full refurbishment.

Leo's hotel development experience includes the Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square.

Hartnoll, Leo's partner, is the executive chairman of X-Press Feeders, part of the Sea Consortium group, a global shipping company based in Singapore. He is also a global investor whose hospitality interests include the Bawah Reserve in the Anambas Archipelago in Indonesia.

Leo said: "Once I had seen the Cooden Beach hotel, I was in awe of its unique location and possibilities. I have developed upscale resort hotels in far-off destinations like St Barth's, Mustique and St Jean Cap Ferrat, so my instinct says that there's no reason why we can't recreate that idyllic resort experience in a hotel that's on the English coast, despite the cooler climate. Our plans are to create a haven for our guests to rest, relax and be nourished in a beautiful seaside setting."

Kimber said: "After 16 wonderful and successful years it is a pleasure to hand over the Cooden Beach hotel to Grace Leo, whose design skills will capture the uniqueness of this very special location. We are very much looking forward to being able to relax and enjoy the guest experience of this truly hidden gem."

Andrew Moore, director in Christie & Co's hospitality team who brokered the deal, added: "The sale of the Cooden Beach hotel represented a rare opportunity to acquire a hotel in an enviable location directly on the beach, owning the beach up to high tide, together with huge scope to increase the business still further. Such opportunities do not come along every day, so we received a high volume of interest from buyers hoping to capitalise on the ongoing UK staycation boom forecast to take place this year once Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are lifted."

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