Main Photo: The Mercure Sheffield Kenwood Hall Hotel and Spa in South Yorkshire
Date: January 2019
Location: York, Leeds, Sheffield, Barnsley, all in Yorkshire, UK
Name: MGallery York, Mercure Leeds Centre, Mercure Kenwood Hall (was Best Western Plus), Mercure Tankersley Manor (was Q Hotels), Ibis Budget Sheffield. – due to open/re-open by 2020
No. of Keys: 443 in total
Operator: Accor: “Signing five new hotels in Yorkshire is a great move for AccorHotels,” said Philip Lassman, vice president of development at AccorHotels UK and Ireland. “It is a thriving region and we are happy to bolster our presence here.”
According to AccorHotels analysis of ONS data, there were about 1.27 million visits to Yorkshire from overseas in 2017, with visitors collectively spending 10.6 million nights in the region, driving revenues of £530 million.
Other companies have shown interest in Yorkshire over the last year. The announcement came just after British bank OakNorth loaned £2.8 million to Helmsley Hospitality partners Simon Rhatigan and Simon Kershaw to launch a new boutique hotel brand, Bike and Boot, starting with the acquisition and conversion of an existing hotel in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England.
In May, Hilton signed a franchise agreement with real estate investment company Aprirose (buyers of Q Hotels) to add five new hotels to its UK portfolio, including the DoubleTree by Hilton Forest Pines Hotel & Golf Resort.
The hotel with the most history is probably Kenwood Hall….The hotel started out life as the home of George Wostenholm, a Sheffield cutlery manufacturer in 1845. He named the residence Kenwood, which then became Kenwood Park 15 years or so later in the 1860s.
After Wostenholm’s death, his wife embarked on some expansion work on the house which was completed in 1883 and the house continued to be used as a home up until the year 1922.
The Kenwood was first used as a hotel in 1924 after Kenwood Ltd bought it for the sum of £5,500 two years previously. It experienced a period of prosperity in its new role and so Kenwood Ltd jumped at the opportunity to expand the hotel. Work continued until 1956 when the venue was rebranded as Kenwood Hall and from then on further success ensured future expansions and developments in the following years.
By 1975 more refurbishment and development led to the re-opening of the four-star venue as the Hotel St George. However, by 1982, Swallow Hotels Ltd bought out the hotel and it remained under Swallow control for the following 18 years.
By this time it contained 115 rooms, with its attractive lake, lawns and trees in the open space outside. Initially, the hotel kept its existing name, but then it became known as the St George Swallow Hotel and then as the Swallow Hotel Sheffield.
Another twist to the story took place in 2000 when Whitbread PLC, then owners of the UK’s Marriott hotels, acquired the Swallow Group. The hotel underwent a substantial £3.5 million investment and it was reopened in 2001 as the Sheffield Marriott Hotel.
In 2007, Principal Hayley bought a handful of the UK’s Marriott venues including the Marriott at Sheffield. It was at this time that it took on its current name – the Kenwood Hall. And so it is under this guise that it existed until Vine Hotels (chaired by Greg Dyke) aquired the hotel in 2016.
THPT Comment: This last hotel has had a colourful career from 1882 to the current day, not a few brands…let’s hope it remains well under the Accor Mercure touch.
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