Huge demand for provincial UK hotels from overseas buyers

Mon, 15 Apr 2019 | BUSINESS SALE



Overseas buyers are swooping in to buy UK hotels, as they seek to take advantage of a weak pound and improving long-term trading prospects.

Julian Troup, head of UK Hotels Agency at Colliers International, says the level of interest in provincial hotels is unprecedented.

As well as overseas buyers there is tremendous interest from local corporate investors seeking more favourable returns and from private buyers seeking lifestyle opportunities.

The Lake District has been the most productive area in the UK for the real estate advisory firm this year. Troup comments: "This represents a great start to 2019 for the hotels team at Colliers and follows another strong performance during 2018 when we sold or acquired 97 hotels throughout the UK."

The latest hotel to be sold is the renowned 78-bed Hydro Hotel in Bowness. Thailand-based Merritt Group moved quickly to buy the distressed hotel, which had collapsed into administration in early February.

Troup added, "The sale of Hydro Hotel generated an enormous level of interest. Our instructions were to go openly to the market utilising our extensive buyer database and our strong marketing presence and dedicated PR team."

The Bowness-based hotel has outstanding views of Lake Windemere and the nearby fells. The hotel has a dedicated events area for weddings and seminars, conference facilities, ballroom, sizable restaurant and a heated swimming pool.

Although occupancy rates at the hotel had been very good, the owners overstretched themselves in a renovation project and ran into a cashflow crisis.

As well as being able to secure the distressed business at a very reasonable price, retaining the 32 staff and existing bookings, the buyers recognised the potential for significant development within the hotel itself and the grounds.

Mr. Thakral, an advisor to Lake Merritt Group, commented: "The Hydro is an exciting addition to our fast-growing portfolio. We are confident our developments will reposition this great hotel within the strong Windermere leisure market."

The deal was brokered by the specialist hotels team at Colliers International, who acted on behalf of Paul Whitwam and Phil Pierce, partners at FRP Advisory.


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