Amazing Venues, the portfolio of six wedding and event properties owned by the multi-millionaire founder of the Dreams bedroom stores, is to be refocused as a hotel business.
Mike Clare founded Clarenco, parent company of Amazing Venues, five years ago as a property development business. Today it comprises a total of 15 properties, six of which fall under the Amazing Venues division. The other properties comprise substantial country houses, which are let as holiday homes.
Originally, the buildings were marketed as the location for weddings, celebratory parties and other functions. However, Clare admits that is a strategy which did not work as well as he had hoped.
"We have some fabulous properties and so many potential guests just wanted to come and spend the night with us or have lunch or dinner," explained Clare. "Other people were confused as to whether the buildings were National Trust properties.
"So we have now decided to open all the Amazing Venues as hotels. As well as business being boosted by the new bedroom and restaurant business, we also expect the hotel side of the operation to provide a showcase for events."
No Man's Fort
Clare, who hopes that each hotel will become well known in its own right, rather than being defined by belonging to Amazing Venues, is now considering the AA for ratings and whether each one should join a consortium such as Relais & ChÁ¢teaux or Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
The starting rate for bed and breakfast is £85. Clarenco currently has an annual turnover of £12m, with 80% of the revenue being generated by the hotels.
Clare hopes to eventually expand Amazing Venues to a group of around 10 properties, all of which are expected to occupy unusual buildings.
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