UK’s The Apartment Group Expands Portfolio with Two Acquisitions

Main Photo: A  bedroom at the current Whitworth Hall

Date: September  2020

Locations: Spennymore and Barnard Castle, Co. Durham, North-East England, UK

Names: Whitworth Hall Hotel & Deer Park and Jersey Farm Country Hotel…the latter to be renamed: Runa Farm – opening 2020 & 2012

No. of Keys: 29 and 22

Seller: Private owners

Buyer: The Apartment Group has expanded its portfolio with the acquisition of two County Durham hotels. With both deals secured through Christie + Co. The group, which is headed up by COO Debrah Dhugga, has taken over Whitworth Hall Hotel & Deer Park and Jersey Farm Country Hotel with a plan to invest ‘millions’ in creating ‘world-class’ boutique hotels aimed at the leisure, wedding and corporate markets.

Commenting on behalf of The Apartment Group, Dhugga says: “The hospitality and leisure industry has been under a lot of strain as it deals with the current COVID-19 pandemic and our industry has seen many casualties. However, we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We are thrilled to welcome to the TAG family Whitworth Hall and The Jersey Farm Hotel and thank Christie & Co for helping us, once again, to find such ideal sites.”

The sale of Jersey Farm Hotel, located just outside of Barnard Castle, was completed through in February this year.

The hotel will be renamed Runa Farm, which is a derivative from the first two letters of RUral and NAture. As well as bedrooms, the site will also be home to Shepherd’s huts and Pig Houses.

The more recent purchase of Whitworth Hall & Deer Park was completed in September. The hotel is a Grade-II listed stately mansion, set within its own private deer park, dates back to the 17th century and was converted into a hotel in the late 20th century.

Dhugga comments: “Our plans for Whitworth Hall are completely different to Runa Farm. Where Runa Farm will be luxurious boho and earthy, Whitworth will be an excess of opulence, sophistication and glamour, with a Chapel, ballroom, and bedroom suites like nothing else in the UK.”

Mark Worley, director at Christie & Co. adds, “The sales point to the healthy demand for hospitality businesses in the north east region at present, particularly those which are able to host weddings and which are reliant on leisure-based trade. The foreign travel restrictions imposed upon us all, have benefited the domestic pub and hotel industry and as wedding income has been pushed into next year and beyond, hospitality buyers can now see the financial appeal of purchasing this type of business.”

Runa Farm will be open at the end of 2020, with Whitworth Hall following on in early 2021, with both venues already taking bookings.

Other sites in the group’s 12 venue collection include Northumberland hotels Newton Hall and Le Petit Chateau, as well as Newcastle venues As You Like It and The Holy Hobo.

THPT Comment: This small hotel and apartment company has done well, under Debrah Dhugga who joined The Apartment Group in 2019, after 10 years as managing director at Dukes London and parent company, Dubai-based Seven Tides.

First Seen: Boutique Hotelier

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