Ian and Christa Taylor buy Bishopstrow Hotel & Spa

25 June 2021 by
Ian and Christa Taylor buy Bishopstrow Hotel & Spa

Ian and Christa Taylor have bought Bishopstrow Hotel & Spa near Warminster in Wiltshire to add to their Kaleidoscope Collection.

The couple bought the 32-bedroom, four-silver-AA-starred property off a guide price of £5.5m after it fell into administration, which was overseen by Kroll Advisory. The hotel staff will be transferred to the new owners on completion of the sale.

The Taylors also own the Bird and Homewood hotels in and around Bath. They have a reputation for investing in properties and transforming them into design-led hotels, having also done so with No 15 Great Pulteney and the Abbey, also both in Bath, which they later sold. As with other sites, Bishopstrow will see a significant investment put into it over a period of time in order to refurbish, enhance and refresh the site.

Ian Taylor said: "The hospitality sector has arguably been harder than any other, both within the local and national economy, but it has the potential to bounce back stronger than ever before. We understand that there was significant interest in Bishopstrow Hotel & Spa from investors, both in terms of its prestigious heritage and a spike in the staycation market as a direct consequence of the pandemic. We are delighted to be the new owners of this renowned hotel and excited about its future potential."

Set within 27 acres of gardens and grounds, the 19th-century country house hotel has a spa with indoor and outdoor heated swimming pools, a library, banqueting and meeting rooms, and a two-AA-rosette restaurant.

Acorn Award-winner Mark Bevan will continue in his role as general manager, a post he has held for three years. He said: "Bishopstrow has been through a number of changes in recent years. But under the ownership of Ian and Christa Taylor with co-investor Jonathan Walker, and the creative vision they have for the hotel over the next few months and beyond, there is optimism and a sense of excitement for what lies ahead."

Bishopstrow was previously owned by commercial and residential property developer Frank Mountain of Versant Developers, who bought the property for an undisclosed sum from Longleat Enterprises, operator of the Wiltshire safari and adventure park. Longleat bought the hotel in 2011 following the administration of former owner Von Essen off a guide price of £6m.

James Liddiment managing director of Kroll, said: "The joint administrators wish Kaleidoscope Collection every success in taking Bishopstrow Hotel & Spa forward under new ownership, no doubt leveraging the immediate popularity of country hotels as the government restrictions ease. We are particularly pleased to have preserved the employment of the hotel team during the period of administration, with staff transferring to the purchaser upon completion of the sale, and to have strategically maximised the outcome by way of the sale of the business and assets as a going concern."

Matthew Smith, partner in the hotels team at Knight Frank, which marketed the property, added: "This impressive country house hotel is the perfect addition to Ian and Christa Taylor's existing portfolio of hotels in Bath, and will no doubt be a popular destination for those looking for UK holiday's this year.

"Since the easing of restrictions, UK hoteliers, particularly in country locations such as Wiltshire, have seen occupancy rates climb. With hotels now allowed to reopen to all guests, we have seen a strong uplift in trading performance, exceeding many hotel owners' expectations, with total revenue per available room increasing by over 80% across all regional UK hotels for the month of May. While coast and country destinations will continue to perform strongly, we also envisage the return of short-breaks to popular tourist UK city destinations."

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