Boutique hotel group, Agellus Hotels, has sold off two of its pubs with rooms in East Anglia to The Chestnut Group, as it looks into new developments elsewhere in the portfolio.
The group, which is owned by Mark and Rachel Harrod, has sold the 16-bedroom The Ship at Dunwich and Suffolk coaching inn, The Westleton Crown, which comprises 34 rooms and a popular restaurant, to The Chestnut Group run by Philip Turner.
As a result, Agellus Hotels will now focus on strengthening business at its remaining three properties, Tuddenham Mill, Suffolk and the Chequers and Lifeboat at Thornham, with planning permission already submitted for bedroom extensions at both the Chequers and the Lifeboat.
Agellus Hotels was founded in 2004, with the acquisition of The Westleton Crown and then the group went on to take over The Ship three years later in 2007.
The Chestnut Group was set up in 2012 and is the vision of Suffolk born-and-bred Philip Turner, who left his career in the city to champion hospitality in East Anglia.
The Group’s family of inns includes The Packhorse Inn in Moulton near Newmarket, The Rupert Brooke in Grantchester on the outskirts of Cambridge, The Northgate in Bury St Edmunds, The Black Lion in Long Melford and The Blackbirds in Woodditton, which is currently under construction.
Turner said, “It’s long been our view that the region is vastly underestimated as a destination for eating and staying despite boasting an amazing land and seascape, rich history and culture, incredible fresh produce and a wealth of sporting experiences and activities.
“At Chestnut our ethos is to embrace all the great elements that make up the area. Our job is to act as hosts and simply open the door to the wonderful array of experiences and ingredients that we have on our doorstep.”
Mark Harrod, owner of Agellus Hotels, commented “We are extremely proud of all we have achieved with The Ship at Dunwich and The Westleton Crown, and now we have decided to hand the ownership over to The Chestnut Group, who very much share the same vision for the region. We look forward to working closely with them in the transition period to ensure the best outcome for our colleagues and guests.
‘The changes will allow us to focus on our three growing hotels with our onsite teams. Tuddenham Mill has an excellent reputation for its fine local food and quality accommodation in wonderful surroundings and we have plans to further enhance the guests’ experience in all of these areas, under the leadership of our chef patron, Lee Bye.
“Over the last two years we have invested and developed our North Norfolk team and properties, the Lifeboat and Chequers at beautiful Thornham. We have planning permission to extend the number of bedrooms across both properties and have exciting plans to further develop these inns of character under the leadership of managing director Rufus Harper and our general manager Ewen Thomson.”