Hand Picked Hotels has exchanged contracts to acquire an architecturally splendid gothic gem, Stanbrook Abbey Hotel near Worcester - expanding the award-winning country house hotel portfolio to 20 properties.
The Grade II listed abbey, in a beautiful location close to the county town of Worcester and at the foot of the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire, is being purchased as a going concern from Clarenco, a hotel and venues group, part of its Amazing Venues brand. The deal is expected to complete mid-March.
The acquisition is part of a strategic expansion by Hand Picked Hotels, created by former lawyer turned hotelier Julia Hands, to boost the Hand Picked presence in the heart of England - in the West Midlands and close to the Cotswolds. Stanbrook Abbey Hotel is a 10 minute drive from junction 7 of the M5 and 50 minutes by road to Birmingham International airport and railway station.
The gothic style abbey, once inhabited by Benedictine nuns, with later additions by the sons of Augustus Pugin, including a church, cloisters and towers, is set in a walled estate of 26 acres. Within the grounds, there are manicured gardens, a flourishing orchard, a lake and a 100ft bell tower overlooking the River Severn.
The hotel has 56 double bedrooms and a wedding and events suite remodelled from the abbey’s original presbytery. There are 17 function rooms, including historic wine cellars, games rooms, banqueting halls and a garden pavilion, providing distinctive settings for weddings, private parties and corporate events.
Julia Hands, who formed Hand Picked Hotels in 2001 from a collection of hotels purchased with her husband, financier Guy Hands, said: “The acquisition of Stanbrook Abbey Hotel is a delightful addition to our portfolio of country house hotels with fascinating histories and stunning architecture. It also fits with our planned growth to acquire hotels in strong locations across the UK, close to good transport links to major cities.”
Suzanne Hurndall, CEO, Clarenco, said: “Clarenco is delighted to have found a purchaser for Stanbrook Abbey Hotel, who not only has a proven track record in the industry, but is as excited and passionate about the Hotel and its opportunities as we have been. After purchasing the Abbey in 2010 and overseeing the largest of our development projects to date, we can see that Stanbrook Abbey Hotel is the perfect fit for the Hand Picked portfolio. We want to thank the whole team at Stanbrook Abbey for all their hard work and dedication and wish them and the Hand Picked group every success for the future. This transaction leaves Clarenco able to focus on its remaining properties, developing and expanding them to enable them achieve their full potential over the coming years.”