Von Essen in £17m first overseas deal

Von Essen has made its first overseas move with the acquisition off 13th century Chateau de Bagnols, near Lyon, previously managed by Rocco Forte Hotels. The deal was reportedly worth an estimated £17m – a figure described as “not wildly inaccurate”, to C&IT by a Von Essen spokesman. The operator took control of the property on 1 January from Lady Hamlyn, who bought it in 1987 and ran it as a hotel from 1992 before bringing in Rocco Forte in October 2003. The acquisition is the latest addition to von Essen’s 23-strong private collection of properties. “We have planned to expand into mainland Europe for some time and are delighted to acquire one of the continent’s most outstanding hotels,” said Von Essen chairman Andrew Davies. “2007 is set to be an exciting year for von Essen, with continued plans for expansion. We look forward to going from strength to strength.” The move follows von Essen’s £8.7m purchase of the Luxury Family Hotels chain last year, which was completed with the acquisition of Suffolk’s Ickworth Hotel in September. Von Essen’s portfolio also includes Cliveden in Berkshire and The Royal Crescent in Bath. Chateau de Bagnols has 21 rooms and five meeting rooms, including a winery suitable for banquets for up to 120 people.

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