The Elmhurst Foundation, a social enterprise project which offers apprenticeships, has acquired the four-AA-star, 42-bedroom Combe Grove hotel in Bath, for an undisclosed sum less than two years after it was previously sold.
Located within a 70-acre woodland estate, the property will continue as a hotel while also becoming a centre for work-based learning across all departments, including hospitality, marketing, administration, finance, customer services, listed building crafts and conservation, estate management and horticulture.
The hotel will also expand further into holistic wellness, building on its existing fitness club activities. New residential courses on the agenda include yoga, meditation, painting, and writing, alongside a programme of practical activities such as bee-keeping, dry-stone walling, and hedge-laying, amongst many others.
Combe Grove was bought by Rebecca Whittington and Simon Baldwin from the Hotel Collection off a guide price in excess of £4.5m, in June 2015. It has since undergone an extensive refurbishment.
Sharon Love, who previously ran the Royal Crescent hotel in Bath for 12 years, has joined Combe Grove as general manager, while Helen Scammel has come on board as HR director form Dorothy House Hospice in Bath.
Helen Aylward-Smith, founder of the Elmhurst Foundation, said the focus is to launch the apprenticeship programme and work towards creating "an inspiring retreat for health and wellbeing, in this most beautiful rural English setting"
Whittington, who is one of three sisters who own the Scarlet and Bedruthan Steps hotels in Mawgan Porth, Cornwall, added: "I am delighted to be able to pass the torch onto the Elmhurst Foundation who have such a wonderful vision for managing the whole estate at Combe Grove, and encouraging the local community to be part of it.
"I am sure that a vibrant apprenticeship programme will make a real difference to people across the region."
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