Triple Catey winners Ian and Christa Taylor have bought the 60-bedroom Abbey hotel in Bath and have plans to transform the three-star property into a mid-market boutique offering.
The hotel - one of the oldest in Bath - has been acquired from Compass Hotels, which has run the Abbey for 23 years under the Best Western brand. Averaging a year-round occupancy of 80%, the hotel will continue to be marketed by Best Western.
The Taylors, who sold their award-winning hotels Cotswold House and the Noel Arms in Chipping Campden in 2007, will undertake a three-year modernisation programme of the hotel, starting with improvements to the terrace area.
Further works are planned this year to transform the restaurant and the ground floor of the property, followed by a full refurbishment of the hotel's 60 bedrooms. The new owners, who have bought the Abbey with support from Barclays Corporate, have pledged to play an active role in the local community to help strengthen Bath's tourist offer.
Ian Taylor said: "Bath is one of those destinations that will never lose its appeal from a tourist perspective, with visitors to the city coming from both within the UK and overseas. I see an enormous opportunity for the city's businesses - hotels, restaurants, bars and shops - to work together to continue to market this city as an exciting, ever-evolving ‘must-see' destination.
"I believe there is a gap in the market for an affordable, mid-market boutique hotel offering in Bath, which the Abbey has the potential to fulfil. My vision for the hotel also includes working harder to position the hotel as a part of the Bath community. Modernising the restaurant and terraced bar area will be the first step in the process of trying to establish ourselves as a key hub for those who live and work in the city."
Compass Hotels chief executive Julian Tee said: "Disposal of any company in the current climate is a difficult decision but after 23 years of ownership, this was a strategic decision. Ian and Christa Taylor are acquiring a profitable business in a wonderful location, supported by an excellent brand and with a dedicated and professional staff whose energies will support the planned investment programme. We wish the Taylors, the staff and the business every success for the future."
The Taylors won three Cateys - Independent Hotel of the Year in 2005 and Best Independent Marketing Campaign in 2005 and 2007 - after successfully transforming Cotswold House into a luxury boutique hotel.
The sale of the Abbey hotel was marketed by Christie & Co.
By Janet Harmer
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