Mike Clare, the multi-millionaire founder of the Dreams bedrooms stores, is to end his investment in the hotel sector by putting the four remaining properties in the Amazing Venues brand on the market.
Three former military forts in the Solent off the Hampshire coast and Ackergill Tower, near Wick in the Scottish Highlands, have been put up for sale for a total of £14.9m. Property company Knight Frank is handling the sale and said that the owner will also consider offers of £11m for the Solent Forts and £3.9m for Ackergill Tower.
Located in the stretch of water between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight, the Solent Forts were originally built more than 150 years ago by the then British prime minister Lord Henry Palmerston to protect the British Isles from a potential French invasion led by Napoleon III. More recently, they housed soldiers during the First and Second World Wars.
Dating from 1475, Ackergill Tower was extended in the mid-19th century by the Scottish architect David Bryce and more recently has benefitted from an extensive refurbishment. The 17-bedroom property is set within 30 acres of grounds, housing self-contained cottages, on the north-east coast of Scotland.
zing Venues is operated by parent company Clarenco, which last year sold two other hotels: the 56-bedroom Stanbrook Abbey hotel in Worcester to Hand Picked Hotels, and the 30-bedroom ChÁ¢teau Rhianfa in Menai Bridge on the Isle of Anglesey to Roger Hancox of Interesting Hotels, both for an undisclosed sum.
Suzanne Hurndall, chief executive of Clarenco and Amazing Venues, said that after renovating the unique properties, Clare was now ready to hand them over to a hotelier to take them forward. "He has had a lot of fun with them and is now ready to sell," she said.
Henry Jackson, partner at Knight Frank, added: "Both Solent Forts and Ackergill Tower, each one unique, will provide an incoming purchaser with the exciting opportunity and privilege to own property with such exceptional heritage and history.
"There is considerable potential for an incoming purchaser to build on Mr Clare's hard work and legacy. These businesses are yet to mature and there is significant scope for growth and development of these enterprises going forward."