Deer Park is to cease trading as a hotel to focus solely on catering for the wedding and events market.
The 32-bedroom property in East Devon, which is owned by Nigel Wray, boss of Saracens rugby club and headed up by managing director Mark Godfrey, is to close the hotel side of its business to concentrate on hosting exclusive weddings and events, marking a ‘change in direction’.
Weddings have been a key focus for Deer Park since the introduction of a new £1m, 170-capacity Orangery extension in 2016, with bookings increasing by over 100 annually.
MD Godfrey said that with this demand continuing to grow, they felt the ‘time was right’ to focus on that side of the business, and going forward will only specialise in creating one-off celebrations for customers.
He explains: “The great thing about this new chapter is that it’s a logical progression of all the massive effort and investment we’ve been putting in over the past few years. The house and estate have never looked better, and the brilliant team behind the scenes are excited by this change of direction. We have always regarded ourselves as part of the local community, and hope that we will in future be drawing customers to Devon not just from all round the UK, but from all over the world.”
“The hard part of the decision is that we’ll genuinely miss hosting guests for lunches, dinners and overnight stays. It’s been a real joy that so many of our local customers have grown into genuine friends. We don’t intend to lose touch, however. Deer Park Country House will still be hosting charity events and summer and winter balls, and we have just received planning permission for a new Cider Barn, so stand by for our first community wassailing event.”
Earlier this year, Godfrey told BH that £500k was to be spent this year on renovations at Deer Park, with a further £2m earmarked for development over the next two years.
Deer Park is home to 32 bedrooms, the Treehouse Suite, a vintage collection of classic cars, 2 AA Rosette dining room, kitchen garden and self-catering cottages for the longer stay guest.
The CEO House, the hotel’s quirky take on a meeting room, was also introduced to the offering last year.
The Deer Park Country House will remain overseen by general manager John Spiller-Jones.