The owners of Chewton Glen and Cliveden House have announced that they are close to completing on the acquisition of the Lygon Arms in Broadway.
Speaking at an event at Chewton Glen at the weekend to celebrate the New Forest property's 50th anniversary, owner Ian Livingstone said: "We are pleased to announce that [Chewton Glen and Cliveden House] will be joined by the Lygon Arms in Broadway in the near future. It's a long-term project, it hasn't had the love and attention that Chewton Glen and Cliveden House have had, but we will get there in the end."
The sale is expected to complete in the next week.
Dating back to the 16th century, the Lygon Arms holds much affection among hoteliers. The hotel, currently part of the Hotel Collection, which is headed up by Grant Hearn, has 78 bedrooms and suites, and holds four stars and two AA rosettes.
It is the fifth property to be sold by the Hotel Collection, which now falls under the banner of Amaris Hospitality, owned by Lone Star. Since it acquired the Hotel Collection in June 2014, Lone Star has sold Cheltenham Park, Basingstoke Country, the Palace hotel, Buxton, and the iconic Royal Troon golf course in Ayrshire, its most recent sale. The remaining 12 properties within the Hotel Collection - including the Imperial hotel, Torquay and the Majestic hotel, Harrogate - will continue to be operated by Amaris Hospitality, but it is expected these will be sold in the long term.
The Lygon Arms is steeped in history. In the 17th century, it served both sides of the Civil War with Oliver Cromwell staying at the inn before the Battle of Worcester in 1651 and Charles I using the inn to meet his supporters.
In recent history, it was owned by the late, great hotelier Douglas Barrington OBE, who operated the property for more than 40 years. Barrington, winner of the Lifetime Achievement Catey Award in 1989, sold the hotel to the Savoy Group in 1985 when he became a member of the Savoy Group board. It has operated under multiple brands since.
The Lygon Arms will be the third country house hotel to be acquired by billionaire property developer brothers Ian and Richard Livingstone. In 2006, Ian Livingstone purchased Chewton Glen from Martin and Brigitte Skan, and in 2012, under the umbrella of London & Regional, the brothers bought a 77-year lease on Cliveden House for nearly £30m. London & Regional is a global private investment company that has a £9b property portfolio comprising 15 hotels.
Although not confirmed, industry experts are suggesting Chewton Glen managing director Andrew Stembridge, who is also responsible for Cliveden House, will oversee all three country house properties.
As well as celebrating its milestone anniversary, last week Chewton Glen announced that is to open a cookery school with chef and TV presenter James Martin. Planning permission has been granted by Christchurch Council for the development of the school on the site of the old gatehouse at the five-red-AA-star hotel.
Chewton Glen's anniversary event on Friday night was attended by friends and colleagues past and present. Guests at the dinner, hosted by Stembridge and Ian Livingstone, were former MDs Peter Crome and Robin Hutson, and former owners Martin and Trevor Skan. Stembridge, Crome, Hutson and Martin Skan are all holders of The Caterer's prestigious Hotelier of the Year title.
The dinner also saw the return of some the hotel's culinary alumni. Pierre Chevillard, who worked at the hotel for over 20 years, and his protégés James Martin, Jean-Christophe Novelli and Luke Matthews, the hotel's current executive head chef, prepared a five-course menu celebrating dishes from the hotel's five decades.
Chewton Glen will also play host to this year's Acorn Awards, which is currently open for nominations.