Thistle Hotels has done a deal to offload five prestigious country house hotels to settle three years of financial wrangling between itself and the properties' owner, Atlantic.
The hotels return to the management of Bridge House Hotels, part of Atlantic, and Thistle will now concentrate on its city-centre properties. The properties involved are Thistle Grasmere in Keswick, Cumbria, Hendon Hall in north London, Audleys Wood in Basingstoke, Hampshire, Cannizaro House in Wimbledon, London (pictured), and New Hall in Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire.
Beverly King, chief operating officer for Thistle, said: "The country houses are pretty small, unique properties and we're not going forward with this as a company, it's not part of our core business."
He added that Thistle was continuing to upgrade its London hotels to the Guoman brand. Following the Cumberland hotel's upgrade, the Tower Thistle, Royal Horseguards, Charing Cross, Victoria and Thistle Marble Arch would all be in line for refurbishment.
Jim Stokes, finance director of hotels at Atlantic, added: "The ownership of the management contracts is changing and the debt is being refinanced. As a result of that, the contract with Thistle on these five hotels is being terminated."
Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 13 January 2005