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Maxfield reveals plans after sell-off

27 March 2008

The former owner of Seaham Hall will continue to run a restaurant and two spas after the sale of the hotel to luxury hotel group Von Essen.

Tom Maxfield revealed his plan for Tom's Companies after selling off the five-star hotel in County Durham last week for an undisclosed sum.

Millionaire Maxfield bought the former nursing home 10 years ago and spent more than £20m converting it into a hotel and restaurant. But after seven years of operation he said he was keen to bow out on top, with Von Essen an obvious choice to carry on the business after making an approach to buy it.

As part of the deal, Tom's Companies has also sold the Samling hotel, which overlooks Lake Windermere in Cumbria, to Von Essen.

Maxfield plans to continue running the Fisherman's Lodge restaurant in Newcastle and the award-winning Serenity in the City spas in Newcastle and Edinburgh.

Meanwhile, his chief executive Debrah Dhugga, 44, plans to stay with Tom's Companies. She joined as managing director in 2004, after working as a director at Malmaison Hotels. She said: "There's an industry rumour that I'm joining Von Essen, but for the present I'll be staying with Tom Maxfield. We've won many leading accolades within the industry and I feel very proud to have brought them to the North-east.

Von Essen founder Andrew Davis said of the deal last week: "I'm delighted with the acquisition of these two very special hotels, our first in 2008."

At the start of the year Davis revealed to Caterer that the company, which already owns the Royal Crescent hotel in Bath and the Cliveden in Berkshire, was aiming to acquire 10 major properties this year. It currently has 27 hotels across the UK.

Earlier this month Von Essen appointed its first chief executive, former operations director Nick Romano, and De Vere Group's Colin Bailey joined the company as chief operating officer.

Von Essen considers legal action over planning decision >>
Von Essen buys Seaham Hall hotel and the Samling >>
Von Essen management shake-up brings in the men from De Vere >>

By Nigel Green

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