The precarious nature of some of the UK’s mid-market provincial hotels has been highlighted by the administration earlier this month of Brompton Hotels, a group of eight leasehold properties.
Until a year ago Brook Hotels had 21 properties. Following the administration of Brompton Hotels, Brook Hotels, which managed Brompton Hotels’ operations, now has only five remaining properties: Kingston Lodge in Kingston-upon-Thames; Marston Farm, Birmingham; Mollington Banastre, Chester; Red Lion, Colchester and Whipper-In, Oakham.
Ashok Ummat, one of three directors of Brompton Hotels with Denise Ummat and Umesh Ummat, said that the company had suffered as a result of high fixed costs and a fall in turnover. "The hotels became no longer sustainable and the difficult decision to place the business into administration was taken," he added. The three directors continue to head up Brook Hotels.
The administrator, UHY Hacker Young, is now looking to sell the leasehold interest of the eight hotels via property consultants Edward Symmons. Meanwhile, the hotels are continuing to be operated through a new company, set up in December 2012, called Delight Hotels, while the freehold of each property is owned by property investment group Mountain Capital.
It has emerged that the directors of Delight Hotels are Justin Wallace and Corby Hotels, which in turn names Malcolm Gray and Kyriacos Kimitri as its directors. In January 2012, Gray and Kimitri – through two companies known as Albermarle Hotels and Albermarle Hotels (No 2) – took over the first eight of the original 21 Brook Hotels, via a vehicle called Antler Hotels.
Within a few months liquidators were called into Albermarle Hotels and Albermarle Hotels (No 2), while Antler Hotels was wound up earlier this month. One of the hotels concerned was the three-star, 60-bedroom George hotel in Huddersfield, the location where rugby league was founded in 1895, which on 2 January closed with the loss of 35 jobs. The George is now being marketed for sale by Colliers International, with a guide price of £900,000.
When contacted by Caterer and Hotelkeeper to ask what Delight Hotels intended to now bring to the portfolio of properties previously run by Brompton Hotels, Gray said "lots to be honest", but declined to comment any further.
By Janet Harmer
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