Singapore’s Fragrance Group Buys Duke of Cornwall Hotel in Plymouth

Main Photo: Duke of Cornwall Hotel, Plymouth

Date: July 2019

Location: Plymouth, Devon, UK

Name: Duke of Cornwall Hotel

No. of Keys: 72

Seller: Joint owners Jonathan Morcom and Walter Combstock have sold the historic Duke of Cornwall Hotel in Plymouth.They have sold up after 18 years in charge at the Grade II-listed building, in Millbay. 

Buyer: Singapore-based development firm Fragrance Group in a multi-million-pound deal. The buyer is leasing the 72-room property to boutique operator Bespoke Hotels, which currently operates around 70 properties in the UK.

Plymouth’s historic Duke of Cornwall Hotel has been sold in a multi-million pound deal – but its new operator has vowed not to change the Victorian edifice.

Bespoke already owns or manages about 70 hotels in the UK including the Lugger in Portloe, Hunters Inn in Barnstaple, and Corbyn Head Hotel in Torquay.

Its managing director, Graham Marskell, said there will be no immediate changes to the hotel and said it will not be re-branded into a corporate entity.

He said the only change people will notice is that the Best Western branding, an international group the Duke has been affiliated to, will disappear – but will not be replaced by the Bespoke logo.

He said the firm was attracted to the hotel as soon as it was put on the market, because Bespoke has no hotels in Plymouth and sees the city as having great potential.

“We like Plymouth as a city and see opportunities in Plymouth,” said Mr Marskell. “There is a lot of development in this area.”

Mr Morcom and Mr Combstock, well known faces in Plymouth’s business fraternity, were part of a team that tool over the hotel in a management buy-out in 2001.

They have run the business ever since, but decided the opportune moment to move on, partly, but not primarily, because Plymouth is being eyed by several hotel developers.

“We felt it was the right time to and investigated the opportunity to put the hotel on the market,” Mr Morcom said. “We received an offer from Fragrance, It’s (the deal) been 18 months in the making.

During Mr Morcom’s and Mr Combstock’s tenure, more than £1.5million has been injected into the 156-year-old hotel.

Price: Undisclosed

THPT Comment: Fragrance have steadily built up a portfolio of hotels in the UK…they seem to favour Devon and Blackpool.

First Seen: Plymouth Herald

The Hotel Property Team (THPT) is a small group of highly experienced business professionals. Between us, we provide a range of skills and experience which is directly relevant to those involved in the hotel property market.

For more information – Visit or email