The nine-bedroom Ynyshir Hall country house hotel in Powys has been bought by Joan and Rob Reen, the former owners who sold the property to Von Essen Hotels in 2006.
Joan Reen said she was "absolutely delighted" to have regained ownership of the property. She would not say how much she and her husband had paid for the hotel, but it had been marketed for £1.5m by Christie & Co, on behalf of Ernst & Young, the administrators of Von Essen. Barclays, the bank which funded the development of the hotel which the Reens originally opened in 1989, has backed their current acquisition.
"It is wonderful to have back control of the hotel and we are now looking forward to moving ahead immediately with some major maintenance work, including installing a new roof and painting the exterior, as well as developing two new cottage suites," said Jean, 62, who has remained at the hotel over the past five years as general manager, while Rob, 60, took a step back to concentrate on his career as an artist.
Following the collapse of Von Essen in April 2011 with debts of nearly £300m, Joan said it had not initially been their intention to buy back the hotel as she had been due to retire in September last year; however, they had been encouraged to do so by "wonderfully supportive staff and guests".
"We don't regret the Von Essen phase as we learnt a lot regarding various systems, such as issues of legality and health and safety," she said. "However, there were the disadvantages of belonging to a large company which meant that we couldn't take pro-active decisions without first getting permission from head office."
Rob Reen will now resume his involvement in the Ynyshir Hall, which is a member of Relais & Châteaux. In the long-term, the couple intend to go ahead with the plans Von Essen had for the hotel, including the development of a spa and four to five extra bedrooms in outbuildings within the grounds.
Ynyshir Hall is the 19th sale from the Von Essen Hotel portfolio. There are a further eight hotels still to be sold.
By Janet Harmer
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