Hand Picked Hotels has kickstarted its expansion plan across the UK with the acquisition of Stanbrook Abbey Hotel near Worcester.
The move takes the county house hotel portfolio to 20 properties.
The Grade-II listed abbey is being purchased as a going concern from Clarenco, a hotel and venues group, part of its Amazing Venues brand, with the deal expected to be completed 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 West Midlands and close to the Cotswolds.
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.
The hotel has 56 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.
The acquisition is the first for the Hand Picked brand since it sold off Seiont Manor in Wales and The Priest House in Derbyshire in 2015 to focus on expansion.
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. 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.”