Main Photo: Chicheley Hall, a Grade-I listed Georgian Mansion
Date: March 2021
Location: Chicheley, near Milton Keynes, England, UK
Name: Chicheley Hall
No. Keys: 48
Seller: The house was purchased from the Chester family by David Beatty, 2nd Earl Beatty in 1952. Beatty began a large restoration program and finally employed the renowned interior decorator Felix Harboard, famed for his work at Luttrellstown Castle near Dublin. Harboard’s masterful, classical colour schemes accentuating moulding and panelling perfectly suit the house.
Chicheley Hall remained the home of the 2nd Earl’s fourth wife, Diane, after his death. She remarried, to Sir John Nutting, and was later the chairman of the Georgian Group. Together, they ran the house as a venue for weddings and conferences. The house stood in for Bletchley Park in the 2001 film Enigma.
In 2007, Chicheley Hall was bought by the Royal Society funded in part by Fred Kavli. The Royal Society has renovated the house, and adapted it to become the Kavli Royal Society International Centre, a venue for science seminars and conferences.
Buyer: Grade-I listed 18th century Georgian mansion Chicheley Hall has been sold to Pyrrho Investments Ltd off a guide price of £7m.
The hotel has been added to the company’s portfolio, which includes Broome Park in Canterbury, and will be managed by Countrywide Hotels.
Knight Frank completed on the sale, which received ‘substantial interest’ from new entrants, existing UK hoteliers as well as overseas buyers.
Paul Cummins, director Chicheley Hotel Ltd, commented: “We are very excited to add Chicheley Hall to our portfolio of hotels, in particular it is a great sister property to Broome Park, our hotel and wedding venue near Canterbury. We have appointed Countrywide Hotels to manage the hotel and intend to develop the business as the leading wedding venue and country house hotel in the area.”
The Grade-I listed mansion is located in a private estate with approximately 35,000 sq ft of accommodation and 75 acres of landscaped gardens, woodland, farmland and parkland including a lake.
Built between 1720 and 1724, the Hall has only been sold three times since its construction. The present hall was built between 1719 and 1723, with the interior fittings completed in 1725. The house was often attributed to the architect Thomas Archer, but has more recently been attributed to Francis Smith, who is thought to have designed it for Sir John Chester, the 4th baronet.
The main door opens to a fine panelled Great Hall, in the manner of William Kent with a classical double-height ceiling depicting Herse and her sisters sacrificing to Flora. Through an arcade of marble columns, oak staircases lead to the upper floors. The most remarkable room is the ‘secret’ library on the upper floor, with all shelving and books concealed behind what appears to be panelling, thus disguising the room’s true use. The interior includes some of the finest woodcarving, joinery and plasterwork in any English country house of its period.
During the Second World War, Chicheley Hall was used by the Special Operations Executive as its Special Training School No. 46. From 1942 until 1943, it was used for training Czechoslovaks for SOE parachute missions. It was later used to train Polish agents, and then became a FANY wireless telegraphy school. Fortunately, the fine interior was protected by hardboard.
In recent years, Chicheley Hall has undergone a careful restoration and comprises 48 bedrooms, meeting rooms, dining rooms and a range of reception areas.
The property’s two Grade II-listed former stable blocks are connected to the main Hall and contain most of the bedrooms.
The former coach house has been converted to a conference centre and has two lecture halls, a meeting room as well as ancillary facilities.
Pyrrho Investments Ltd is the family investment fund owned by a Hong Kong based property investment and development family. The family’s main property assets include investments and developments in Hong Kong, Canada, the US, Taiwan and China.
Pyrrho is named after the Greek Philosopher who was founder of the Greek School of skepticism and the inspiration behind the school known as Pyrrhonism that was founded by Aenesidemus in 1st Century BC!
Henry Jackson, head of hotel agency at Knight Frank, commented: “We are thrilled to have completed the sale of the historic and iconic Chicheley Hall, with both buyer and seller pleased with a successful outcome. There is a very limited supply of quality hotel opportunities in the market at present and the substantial interest we received in Chicheley Hall demonstrates this.
Price: Around £7m
Price per Key: £145k
THPT Comment: Wow a serious amount of heritage with this hotel…Well done to Pyrrho and hope they continue to add such hotels to their portfolio…and Countrywide as managers. THPT has similar properties for sale.
First Seen: Boutique Hotelier
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