Millionaire hotel owner Andrew Davies who claimed his wife Debra was "no more than a receptionist" today lost his Appeal Court bid to cut her £2.7m divorce pay out.
The 49-year-old owner of the £6m Cardiff Hotel which overlooks exclusive Norfolk Square, in Bayswater, West London, claimed he was the driving force behind the business. Davies should not be confused with his namesake Andrew Davis, founder of Von Essen Hotels, which went into administration last year.
After love turned to hate in their relationship, Davies described his 39-year-old wife as merely a paid employee and only "the second best receptionist he had had".
Lord Justice Thorpe sitting with Lord Justices Elias and Rimer, said the hotel, described as the "third party" in the marriage, had been started by the husband's grandfather back in 1958 and passed into his sole control in 1997.
Australian born Mrs Davies claimed "the status of the hotel had risen almost dramatically as a result of her energy , enterprise and marketing skills".
She claimed she worked up to 17 hours a day transforming the 60-bed hotel and was entitled to a "fair share" of the family assets.
In the High Court in September last year Judge Martin O'Dwyer agreed and gave her a £2.2m lump sum and the keys to the the £550,000 former matrimonial home in Acton, West London.
Mr Davies, said to be "in love" with the hotel claimed it should have been taken out of the family assets, which also included gold bullion worth almost £1.8m, because she was in effect a member of staff who "simply did her duties".
But Judge O'Dwyer ruled that the two of them had worked "ceaselessly" together to transform a "dowdy and unwelcoming" hotel for working men into the tourist trade magnet it was today.
He said Mr. Davies was "overcome with bitterness" and "much of his evidence was designed to belittle his ex-wife and their relationship".
He added: "There is a third party in the relationship - the Cardiff hotel. Mr Davies was burning to make the hotel work. He was in love with the hotel.
"His characterisation of his wife was as a good employee. He said she had been the second best receptionist he had had."
The couple married in 2005 and had two children before finally splitting in 2009.
Judge O'Dwyer said the businessman had been "head over heels" in love with his wife but no longer had any real acknowledgment of her commitment to him.
Lord Justice Thorpe said there were no grounds for interfering with the judge's reasoning and anything less to the wife would be "plainly unfair".
By Court Reporter
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