High-street fashion brand Laura Ashley is opening a second luxury hotel today, in Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria, under a licensing agreement with Corus Hotels.
The 62-bedroom Laura Ashley The Belsfield Lake District has undergone a £3.5m transformation, to include a new glazed reception area, to join the Laura Ashley The Manor hotel in Elstree, Hertfordshire, which opened a year ago.
While the Elstree hotel was acquired by Laura Ashley in 2012 for £5.8m from Corus Hotels to develop a blueprint for a collection of hotels for the fashion brand, the Lake District property continues to be owned and operated by Corus.
A partnership has been signed between the two companies, which has involved Laura Ashley undertaking the interior design of the Grade II listed property, using its own fabrics, furnishings and fittings. Corus Hotels - controlled by MUI Group, the Malaysian company which has a majority state in Laura Ashley - owns and operates nine properties in the UK and two in Malaysia.
Andrew Clayton, chief executive of Corus Hotels, said the partnership will benefit the Belsfield by being able to tap into Laura Ashley's design expertise, as well as being represented on the Laura Ashley hotel website. "The hotel is looking absolutely gorgeous ad has already achieved fantastic feedback from guests
The Laura Ashley brand is so well known, both in the UK and abroad and particularly in south east Asia.
"We're confident that the partnership is going to work and are already achieving better room rates than before. We shall see how this one goes, but there is definitely the potential to rebrand some of our other properties."
Nick Kaloyirou, joint chief operating officer for Laura Ashley, added that the first hotel for the company had proved to be "a wonderful showcase" for its design service.
The new look hotel, which dates back to 1845, stands within six acres of landscaped gardens overlooking Lake Windermere and the Cumbrian hills. It features the Belsfield restaurant, a brasserie, cocktail bar and brasserie, drawing room, library and glass reception area, alongside an indoor swimming pool, gym and sauna.
Double rooms at the hotel, including breakfast for two, start at from £150 per night during the summer.