Hotel du Vin has acquired Cannizaro House in Wimbeldon, south London, almost 20 years to the day since the boutique brand arrived on the scene and shook up the mid-market sector.
The acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, of the four-AA-star, 46-bedroom property, 25 minutes from central London, will take the portfolio of Hotel du Vin properties up to 16. It will mark the brand's arrival within the M25, having previously been focused on regional towns and cities from Poole on the south coast to St Andrews on the east coast of Scotland.
Set within 34 acres of Cannizaro Park, adjacent to Wimbledon Common, the hotel dates back to the early 19th century, since when it has played host to Lord Tennyson, Oscar Wilde and the last Maharajah of Punjab. It was sold to Wimbledon Borough Council in 1947, eventually passing out of public ownership 40 years later when it was converted into a hotel.
Cannizaro House, which becomes a hive of activity every summer when the Wimbledon Tennis Championships are held at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, just minutes away, has been owned and managed by various operators in recent years, including Thistle Hotels and the Mantis Collection. Hotel du Vin, will now undertake a £1m refurbishment of the property.
Gary Davis, chief executive of Hotel du Vin, said the group looks forward to introducing Hotel du Vin's distinctive style of "chic accommodation and destination dining" to Wimbledon and becoming "a vital and integral part of the local community."
Meanwhile, Nick Halliday, who joined Hotel du Vin from Brownsword Hotels earlier this year as chief operating officer, recognises that the suburban, park location of Cannizaro House is very different from existing properties within the Hotel du Vin portfolio, but suggested that it could provide further opportunities for the group.
"We shall be applying to Cannizaro House the same spirit and values of Hotel du Vin, which have remained fairly consistent since the brand was launched 20 years ago," he explained.
Hotel du Vin was founded in 1994 with the launch of its first property in Winchester by Robin Hutson and Gerard Basset. Its focus on simple menus with high quality wines, stylish designs and monsoon showers, all wrapped up within a laid-back environment, immediately captured the imagination of the public.
Hutson and Basset sold Hotel du Vin to MWB in 2004, when it became sister brand to Malmaison. Following the administration of MWB Group last year, US-based private equity firm KSL Capital Partners scooped up Hotel du Vin and Malmaison in a deal rumoured to be worth about £200m. The new ownership is backing further expansion of both brands, with Hotel du Vin looking for additional sites in central London, Stratford-upon-Avon and Oxford.