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Thursday, 02 October 2014

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Cumbria's Sharrow Bay hotel still for sale with £5 million price tag

Cumbria's iconic Sharrow Bay Hotel remains on the market with a £5 million price tag after administrators for its stricken parent company failed to find a buyer.

Sharrow Bay hotel
The Sharrow Bay

The country-house hotel between Pooley Bridge and Howtown, Ullswater, was one of 28 luxury hotels offered for sale when Von Essen Group went into administration in April.

But commercial property agent Christie & Co confirmed last week that it has yet to receive an acceptable offer for Sharrow Bay.

A potential stumbling block is that the main building is held on a 30-year lease, which expires in September 2015.

The agent says the £5m price reflects the short lease.

Christie & Co is, however, proceeding with the sale of another 19 Von Essen hotels including The Samling, near Windermere, which had a guide price of £6m.

Some are being sold individually, others in groups.

The buyers have not been named but are a mix of established hotel operators and wealthy individuals.

Chris Day, managing director of Christie & Co, said: “As we anticipated, the portfolio attracted a great deal of in/terest nationally and internationally from a variety of operators and investors. The hotels that have not yet received acceptable offers have been reduced in price and will be immediately relaunched to the market — this is quite typical in multi-asset disposals such as this.”

The guide price for Sharrow Bay will remain at £5m, however.

It was opened in 1949 by the late Francis Coulson who, with his partner Brian Sack, transformed it from a private home into a luxury hotel.

The hotel was the first to brand itself as a ‘country-house hotel’ and it is renowned for opulent rooms, Michelin-starred food and picturesque views across the lake.

Celebrity guests have included former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney, who proposed to Heather Mills during a romantic break there, and John Major who stayed when he was Prime Minister in the early 1990s.

Mr Coulson died in 1998 and Mr Sack in 2002, paving the way for Von Essen to buy Sharrow Bay in 2003.

The chain called in administrators after defaulting on interest payments on its £250m debt.

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