Lake Windermere hotel sold out of administration by Thai group

Bowness-based Hydro Hotel has been acquired out of administration by Thai-based Lake Merritt Group.

The deal was brokered by the specialist hotels and agency team at real estate advisors Colliers International, who acted on behalf of Phil Pierce and Paul Whitwam, partners at FRP Advisory, after they were appointed Joint Administrators of the business on 8 February 2019.

The hotel, which is based on the banks of Lake Windermere, entered administration after a large-scale renovation project led to cashflow issues. The deal secures the jobs of the Hydro Hotel’s 32 employees, and all bookings will be unaffected.

Built in 1985, the former manor house is situated at the heart of the Lake District and has outstanding views of Lake Windermere and the fells beyond. As well as 78 ensuite rooms, the hotel also boasts conference and events areas that are suitable for weddings and business seminars, a heated swimming pool, a substantial restaurant and ballroom that can seat up to 150 people.

Phil Pierce said: “We worked closely with all parties to secure the sale of the Hydro Hotel, and the acquisition is the best possible outcome for everyone involved. Not only does it guarantee that people’s holidays, weddings and events can go ahead, but it also saves a significant number of local jobs.”

Julian Troup, Head of UK Hotels Agency at Colliers International, commented, 'The sale of Hydro Hotel generated an enormous level of interest. Our instructions were to go openly to the market utilising our extensive buyer database and our strong marketing presence and dedicated PR team.

“Its sale is indicative of an unprecedented level of interest from buyers wanting to acquire UK provincial hotels, with the Lake District continuing to be Colliers’ most productive area in the UK and the sale coming hot on the heels of that of the Queens Hotel, Ambleside last month.”

Troup explained that the sale was indicative of a wider trend of increased demand for quality provincial hotel opportunities from a diverse range of potential buyers, ranging from international investors attracted by weaker sterling and improving trading prospects, private buyers seeking the benefits of a lifestyle opportunity and corporate investors focused on favourable returns and real estate alternatives.

He added, “This represents a great start to 2019 for the hotels team at Colliers and follows another strong performance during 2018 when we sold or acquired 97 hotels throughout the UK.”

Prab Thakral, an advisor to Lake Merritt Group, commented, “The Hydro is an exciting addition to our fast-growing portfolio. We have identified a significant opportunity for development within both the grounds and the hotel itself. We are confident our developments will reposition this great hotel within the strong Windermere leisure market.”