The 63-bedroom Royal Berkshire hotel in Ascot, which has just been bought by Exclusive Hotels, is to become a high quality, quirky training and wedding venue.
Acquired for nearly £14m from Aviva, the holding company of Jarvis Hotels, the property - previously branded as a Ramada - is to become the second hotel within Exclusive Hotels' EH Venues.
Until now, the 77-bedroom Fanhams Hall in Ware, Hertfordshire, which has 21 meetings rooms, has been the only EH Venues property.
Managing director of Exclusive Hotels, Danny Pecorelli, said that the Royal Berkshire is a great strategic purchase for the group as it will give the company two venues on opposite sides of the M25.
"Fanhams Hall has been a great success for us and has shown there is a big demand for good quality hotels offering extensive training facilities and something different from the bland, corporate product which is so widely available," he said. "We will be competing with high-end De Vere venues.
"While the Royal Berkshire is generally in a good condition, we shall be spending £2m on the property over the next two years to give it a boost and bring it up to Exclusive's standards."
Pecorelli said the aim of EH Venues is to provide an element of fun, which will help to stimulate a productive balance of work and play. Break-out areas offer colourful tuck shops and ice-cream vans, while karaoke and late night munchie packs are provided following a hard day's training session.
As well as EH Venues, Exclusive Hotels also owns four luxury country house hotels including Pennyhill Park, Surrey; South Lodge, West Sussex; Lainston House, Hampshire; and the Manor House, Wiltshire; as well as two golf clubs - Manor House in Wiltshire and Mannings Heath in West Sussex.
Pecorelli said he is actively looking to expand the group further and is keeping a close eye on Von Essen, which potentially has 28 hotels for sale, after the company went into administration last month. "However, there are very few Von Essen hotels we would actually be interested in," he added.
By Janet Harmer
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