EXCLUSIVE: de Savary family acquires Surrey pub with rooms ready to renovate and expand

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Hospitality entrepreneur and businessman Peter de Savary has revealed exclusively to BH plans to add to the bedroom stock at his newest acquisition, The Merrier Harriers in Hambledon, near Godalming.

The ambitious 73-year-old, who is well known in the industry for turning around the fortunes at some of the country’s now finest hotels including Bovey Castle and Skibo Castle, has taken over the pub with rooms in Surrey from the Stoneley family, and now has plans to invest significantly in the business.

Currently home to three bedrooms, The Merrier Harriers is a traditional country pub and will stay that way, according to de Savary, who has built his reputation in the hotel sector on acquiring underperforming properties to turn around.

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The property is currently home to owner accommodation upstairs, which will be transformed into six boutique bedrooms, to add to the three situated behind the pub on site.

De Savary also revealed to BH plans to build eight tradition gypsy caravans in the meadow opposite, which is used as a campsite. Each one will be home to a queen size bed, Smeg fridge, a ‘proper’ bathroom and wood-burning stove to give people a real authentic experience.

The project at the pub will embrace its ‘proper old fashioned English’ feel, as de Savary explains the business isn’t trying to recreate success seen at other popular properties.

“We aren’t trying to make it sophisticated or chic or ‘London in the countryside’. We want to develop an old fashion English country pub where people can drink, eat and stay,” says de Savary.

The Merrier Harriers joins the Cary Arms in Babbacombe, Devon in the boutique hotel portfolio of the de Savary empire, following the sale of the Old Swan and Minster Mill in Oxfordshire last year to Brownsword Hotels.

Read all about de Savary’s story in the September issue of Boutique Hotelier which will be out at the start of next month.

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