The new owners of Cliveden, who are due to exchange and complete on their purchase of the historic country house hotel tomorrow, intend to make the property "sparkle" again.
Ian and Richard Livingstone, the billionaire property developer brothers whose London & Regional company owns a portfolio of hotels including Chewton Glen in Hampshire, are buying the 41-bedroom Thameside hotel in Buckinghamshire from Ernst & Young, the administrators appointed following the collapse of Von Essen with debts of nearly £3OOm.
It is believed they are paying nearly £3Om off a guide price of £35m for a long lease from the National Trust.
The Victorian Italianate-style mansion, which came to prominence during the Profumo scandal of the early 196Os, requires a considerable amount of investment to return it to its former glory.
Andrew Stembridge, managing director of Chewton Glen, who will assume responsibility for the running of the Grade-I listed Cliveden, said the first priority will be to make the hotel feel loved and the staff feel proud again.
"After this we need to start working on a capital plan, which will see all bedrooms and public areas refurbished," he explained. "Cliveden is incredibly impressive and we are looking forward to making the place sparkle again.
"It has to be the best hotel address in the country and with the right management approach, time and investment it will soon become one of the best hotels in Britain again."
It had been expected that the Livingstone brothers would also acquire Bath's Royal Crescent hotel from the Von Essen administrators, but Stembridge said the timing was not right.
By Janet Harmer
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