Bespoke Hotels has become one of the UK's largest hotel management companies following its takeover today of the running of 34-strong Oxford Hotels and Inns.
The group, which specialises in turning around ailing hotels, now operates 97 properties worldwide, including 85 in the UK. Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed.
Amongst the mix of three- and four-star properties joining Bespoke Hotels are the 85-bedroom Carnoustie Golf hotel and Elemis Spa, near Dundee, which hosted the Open Championship in 2007, and the 22-bedroom Lugger hotel, near Truro, Cornwall, which was once named best new seaside hotel in the world by The Sunday Times.
Oxford Hotels and Inns was formed in 2006 following the collapse into administration of the London and Edinburgh Swallow Group. Until today, the company operated a mix of country inns, boutique properties and grand castle hotels, 18 of which are in Scotland and 16 in England. These properties will now join Bespoke's existing sub-brands Beloved, a collection of four-star deluxe hotels and Befriend, a selection of three-star value-for-money properties.
Robin Sheppard, chairman of Bespoke Hotels, said: "This expansion of our portfolio comes at a very exciting time and we look forward earnestly to working with the many talented staff who are very busy preparing for the festive season at each of their hotels.
"Crucially we aim to drive sales to the hotels and provide assistance where needed. At Bespoke Hotels we have always celebrated the differences between our properties and we expect while we shall be giving out direction in a formulaic ways, the advice will be interpreted in an individual, not homogenised manner."
Sheppard added that Bespoke Hotels will be assessing the current CAPEX programme within each hotel and investing in those properties which require it.
Mark Edwards, managing director of Oxford Hotels & Inns, said: "By combining our strengths we'll have an unrivalled collection of unique hotels and inns across the UK. There are already a lot of synergies across the two hotel groups; both have an eclectic mix of properties all of which thrive on having their own bespoke style and individual character. We're convinced this is the right move for the Oxford Hotels and Inns portfolio and my team and I are looking forward to working closely with Bespoke Hotels."
Bespoke Hotels was launched by Sheppard and Haydn Fentum, the chief executive, in 2001, with the sale of Billesley Manor, Combe Grove Manor and the Lygon Arms in 2005 - at 11 times the original equity investment - providing the launch-pad for its development as a management company. It has since gone on to operate properties in France, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Grenade, Jamaica, Thailand, South Korea, and Australia, as well as the UK. The economic down-turn has helped the group's growth with banks and other financial institutions bringing in Bespoke Hotels to run properties where owners have defaulted on loans or where owners are looking for help to improve the performance of their businesses.
Earlier this year, when the company had 58 hotels, annual turnover was £8m, with an annual profit of £1.2m. Its existing hotels include 10 Manchester Street in London, Cotswold House and Spa in Chipping Campden and the New Ellington in Leeds.