The three-AA-star Royal Clifton hotel in Southport, Merseyside, has been put on the market for £6m after plans to turn it into the "best seaside hotel resort in the country" failed to materialise.
Four and a half years ago, when the 120-bedroom hotel was last sold for an undisclosed sum off a guide price of £4m, the then new owners, D'Urberville Hotels, outlined its ambitions for the grand Victorian property.
Paul Clark, who with Steve Grant set up D'Urberville Hotels in 2015 to acquire the hotel, told The Caterer at the time that the intention was to restore the building back to its "original splendour", and added: "It has pride of place on Southport's promenade, in a town which we believe is one of the hidden gems of Victorian seaside resorts."
Clark and Grant launched Front Foot Hospitality in the roles of chairman and chief executive respectively to operate the hotel. However, Clark resigned as a director of both D'Uberville Hotels and Front Foot Hospitality in 2016.
Grant said in 2015: "Our plan is to turn this venue into one of the leading hotels in the north west and the best seaside hotel resort in the country."
The property, which started life as two hotels – the Royal and the Clifton – was merged into one in 1980. Today it is operated within a franchise agreement under the Sure Hotel Collection by Best Western.
The hotel has nine function rooms, a restaurant, bar, leisure club and health spa. Beefy's steakhouse restaurant, which launched in 2015 with former cricketer Sir Ian Botham, is no longer open.
The current directors of the business said they are selling the hotel as part of a planned exit strategy. "Strategic business positioning within the Southport marketplace, supported by the introduction of capital deployed to most of the bedroom stock and a tangible investment in operational people engaged in driving for results is evident in the business and reflected in year-to-date business performance," they said.
Christie & Co, which sold the hotel in 2015, has been appointed to market the property again. Ryan Lynn, director at the company, said: "We're pleased to be working with D'Urberville Hotels once again and anticipate that the business will be well received by the market.
"The hotel is currently trading strongly, but an incoming operator could invest further in order to achieve four-star accreditation, which would complement the existing facilities and diversified revenue streams. The UK hotel market is currently very active, with both UK and overseas buyers seeking high-quality opportunities, and we believe that the Royal Clifton hotel fulfils many of their criteria."