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Merchant Inns buys Essex inn for £1.95m

18 July 2008 by

The Saracen's Head hotel in Great Dunmow, Essex, has been sold to Merchant Inns for close to the asking price of £1.95m.

The Grade II-listed coaching inn, which is believed to date back to 1560, is opposite the old Market Place in the heart of the market town that was once a Roman settlement.

It is just five miles from the M11 and Stansted Airport, and near the new Great Leighs race course.

The property sports an 18th-century façade along with a mix of Georgian- and Tudor-style architecture.

It offers 31 en-suite bedrooms to sleep 59 guests (including one family, three suites, and five executive rooms) along with two unused rooms and a shower/WC for staff on the second floor.

The 36-seat Cromwell's restaurant is named after Oliver Cromwell, the inn's most famous guest, and features exposed beams, wood panelling and an old grandfather clock. The 24-seat Flitch bar has its own entrance from the High Street.

Two meeting/function rooms on the second floor include the Saracen Room, which can accommodate 50 guests seated and more for an informal reception, and the 20-capacity Flitch Suite.

Outside facilities include include a courtyard seating area with picnic tables to the rear and parking for 45 cars.

The business achieved an adjusted profit of £202,946 on a net turnover of £707,861 in the year to 31 August 2007.

The Norwich office of Colliers Robert Barry handled the sale of the freehold to Merchant Inns.

The Saracen's Head is the seventh property for the company that was set up in 2005 by entrepreneur Robert Breare. Merchant Inns became a joint venture with Kamside (owned by former British Land chairman Sir John Ritblat) in October 2007.

By Angela Frewin

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