Seaside towns on the radar of ambitious developers seeking new boutique hotel sites

Cliff Folkestone

Two property developers in the South East on the hunt for the sites for four new boutique hotels have said that they are looking in seaside towns such as Folkestone, instead of London after seeing a regeneration happening across the region.

Dave Mellish and Ann Grundy are currently renovating a seafront hotel in Folkestone Kent, motivated by the town’s commitment to regeneration.

The major project will turn what was a rundown Victorian property into a four-star boutique hotel and restaurant and will mark the first of four new hotels for the pair as they seek to tap into new markets such as Hastings in Sussex.

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The View Hotel Folkestone and The Cliffe Restaurant and Bar will aim to add another dimension to Folkestone’s evolving leisure and hospitality profile.

“Folkestone is going through a real phase of regeneration and that’s a model we’ve followed throughout the years,” Mellish said. “Previously, we’ve applied that strategy to residential developments in rising areas of London such as Deptford, Greenwich and Elephant and Castle. We had been closely monitoring property sales in Folkestone for at least two years, due to the investment that was being made into a brighter future for the town and it tempted us to look outside London for our next project. It took us a year of searching, but we finally found the ideal property and we’ve fallen in love with both the building and the town.”

Since the early 2000s, Folkestone has benefitted from significant regeneration projects, including the Creative Quarter and the reopened Harbour Arm. The town’s renaissance continues later this year when work begins on a multi-million-pound redevelopment of the seafront.

“We felt that although the hotel rates charged in Folkestone wouldn’t be as high as in London, the initial purchase and development costs would be lower, resulting in a better margin,” Mellish added.

“We have always identified emerging markets by researching property prices and seeing how they line up against comparable areas,” he continued. “That information is then put into a forecast, along with the cost of purchase and redevelopment– this is then tallied against the projected revenue that the business would create. All the numbers stacked up when we looked at Folkestone, but this is not just a short-term investment for us. We plan to keep The View Hotel Folkestone and The Cliffe Restaurant and Bar in our portfolio as we move into other exciting areas.”

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Zoe Monk

The author Zoe Monk

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