British pubs, hotels and restaurants that do not strike the right chord with their clientele may be under pressure this year as costs and staffing issues continue to bite.
However, hospitality specialists at Colliers International believe refurbished hotels and pubs in the right location will continue to thrive – as long as the surroundings, décor and ambience match today’s expectations.
Peter Brunt, a Director with the firm’s Hotels’ team, who has sold countless pubs and hotels across the South West and Wales during his career – said refurbishments had turned many ‘borderline’ properties into successful businesses.
He said: “I remember that Fishmore Hall in Ludlow was so derelict when I first went to see it I told my secretary to phone for help if I didn’t ring back in half an hour - because I must have fallen though the floor and injured myself! Now, its’s a fabulous destination hotel and spa.
“The Shaven Crown at Shipton-under-Wychwood underwent an amazing transformation following the sale in 2013 and the fully refurbished hotel looks fantastic now.”
The Old Cross Hotel in St David’s was refurbished top to bottom and is now a fine destination hotel in Pembrokeshire. The Swan Hotel in Hay-on-Wye which I handled the sale of in 2015 now has 4-stars having undergone a significant refurbishment.
“The Swan at Ascott under Wychwood was a wreck when I first sold it but has undergone a couple of major refurbishments to become the fantastic boutique pub you see today.
“Burford House in Burford was on its knees as a business when sold in 2016 and is now going great guns combining original old-world charm with a highly contemporary interior.
“Similarly, the operators of the Old Stocks in Stow said the 17th Century coaching inn was in need of some considerable TLC to transform it in to the stylish destination hotel it is now when I dealt with the sale – its amazing “walk though” website shows all the property and you can see the extent of the work that has been done to create it.
“The Rectory in Crudwell has also been transformed into a very stylish country house hotel.
“Looking forward, ones to watch this year are the Crown in Hopton Wafers and the Northwick Arms in Evesham. I expect these will be transformed over the next year or so following sales in 2018.”
Peter Brunt concluded: “There are plenty of buyers out there ready to have a crack at the right hotels and pubs in the right location. Closed and struggling units will continue to be snapped up by new buyers with an eye on current and future trends.
“We have seen countless examples of tired old businesses being given a new lease of life though refurbishment or a new product offer - some of our buyers have turned the process of revamping pubs into a fine art.”
“Businesses must ensure they are attracting and satisfying customer demand. Owners can’t just stand there and expect people to turn up. Smart, tidy and contemporary facilities are a must and a traditional real fire welcome from landlord and staff helps ensure customers will be back for more.”
Peter Brunt’s Top Five Transformations
1. Fishmore Hall, Ludlow
2. Old Stocks Hotel, Stow-on-the-Wold
3. Old Cross Hotel, St David’s
4. Swan Hotel, Hay-on-Wye
5. The Swan at Ascott-under-Wychwood