Laura Ashley has bought a 49-bedroom hotel in Hertfordshire to showcase its range of furnishings and design service.
The Edgwarebury hotel in Elstree, was purchased by the high-street group for £5.8m from Corus Hotels, which is controlled by MUI Group, the Malaysian company which has a majority state in Laura Ashley.
Set in 10 acres of grounds, the mock Tudor property will be relaunched later this year as a boutique hotel, featuring Laura Ashley range of home furnishings. The company's latest interim report described the hotel as providing "a further step in the expansion of our brand marketing strategy".
It is not the first time that the interiors of a hotel will have been decked out with the paints and fabrics of Laura Ashley. The late Sir Bernard Ashley, who founded the company with his wife, Laura, bought the 23-bedroom Llangoed Hall in Brecon, Powys, in 1987, reopening it as a hotel in 1990 following an extensive refurbishment. It was sold after his death to Von Essen Hotels.
Following the collapse of Von Essen in April 2011 with debts of nearly £300m, Llangoed was one of four hotels which continued to be operated by Andrew Davies, the founder of Von Essen. However, Llangoed itself fell into administration in November 2011 and currently is on the market with the Cardiff office of Savills for an undisclosed price.
By Janet Harmer
E-mail your comments to Janet Harmer here.
Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with Catererandhotelkeeper.com jobs
Blogs on Catererandhotelkeeper.com
Catch up with more news and gossip on all Caterer's blogs
For the latest hospitality news, sign up for our E-newsletters