Von Essen unveils European plans

Von Essen has announced the next stage of its acquisition and investment plans following its first overseas property acquisition this week – the £17m buy-up of Château de Bagnols, previously managed by Rocco Forte Hotels. In addition to Château de Bagnols, the chain currently has 22 UK properties and is now looking to take on at least three more top-end hotels this year, including another in London. More European buys will accompany the UK activity, confirmed Von Essen executive director of sales and marketing Greg Ward. “We will continue our expansion into France with up to five new properties and we will also be looking to acquire at least two in Italy.” The French moves are likely to happen this year, with the Italian acquisitions coming in 2008. Von Essen is currently looking at properties “in the south of France and on the fringes of Paris”, Ward told C&IT, with the Italian destinations yet to be decided. Meanwhile the company is currently putting £14m into revamping its existing hotels as it looks to bring them in line with the standard of new properties it is seeking to purchase.

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