DE VERE Hotels is selling the Queens Hotel in Eastbourne to the privately owned Leisureplex group as part of its plan to gradually withdraw from the three-star market.
The 107-bedroom Queens is one of three hotels De Vere has in the East Sussex coastal town - it also operates the five-star Grand and four-star Cavendish - and caters mainly to the coach tour market.
De Vere's deputy chairman, Paul Dermody, told Caterer this week that although the coach market had proved successful for the group, the long-term aim was to sell off hotels that concentrated on that sector.
Another five properties are being quietly marketed for disposal by William Hillary, the agent in the sale of the Queens, though Mr Dermody emphasised there was no pressure to sell quickly.
He said the disposals would happen "over a period of time", and only at "a suitable price", adding that some of the group's other three-star hotels would probably be upgraded.
For Leisureplex, the Queens deal, which is due to be completed on 12 April, is part of a strategy of acquiring well-located hotels in seaside resorts.
It has nine other hotels - in Weston-super-Mare, Newquay, Falmouth, Torquay, Llandudno, Cromer, Great Yarmouth, Dunoon and Ifracombe - and, according to director Peter Sawbridge, is keen to look at other opportunities.
Leisureplex, which with the Queens now has a total of 810 bedrooms, made a pre-tax profit of £625,000 in 1993 on turnover of £3.9m - up from £525,000 and £3.5m respectively the previous year.
Much of the group's business comes from its associate company, Alfa Travel, a tour operator specialising in all-inclusive coach holidays.