West Suffolk: Ickworth Hotel sold by von Essen administrators to Halcyon

THE Ickworth Hotel near Bury St Edmunds, part of the von Essen Hotels chain which went into administration in May, is under new ownership, it emerged today.

The hotel, within the east wing of Ickworth House, which is leased from the National Trust, is among seven properties sold by the von Essen administrators to Halcyon Hotels and Resorts.

Halcyon, led by hotel sector specialist Nigel Chapman who in 2005 sold five hotels to von Essen, was launched a year ago to focus on the niche luxury family-friendly market.

It made its first acquisition earlier this year, the Polurrian Hotel in Cornwell, backed by a �1.8million funding package from Barclays Corporate.

The company’s stated aim at the time of the deal was to acquire an additional five hotels over the next 18 months.

The value of the deal with the administrators of von Essen, from accountancy firm Ernst & Young, has not been disclosed.

Chris Day, managing director of agent Christie & Co, which specialises in the hospitality sector and handled the sale on behalf of the administrators, said: “We’re delighted to have sold such a significant package of von Essen hotels to Halcyon Hotels and Resorts which now has an excellent ready-made addition to its growing portfolio.

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“We look forward to announcing further sales from the von Essen Hotels portfolio very soon,” he added.

Besides the Ickworth Hotel, the deal includes the Elms in Worcester, Fowey Hall in Cornwall, Moonfleet Manor in Dorset, Woolley Grange in Wiltshire, Thornbury Castle in Gloucestershire and New Park Manor in Hampshire.

Together the seven properties have a total of 203 guest bedrooms and apartments, with the Ickworth Hotel including 27 bedrooms within the East Wing of the main house plus three more rooms in a Butler’s Lodge and 11 apartments in the Dower House.

Ickworth House was home to the aristocratic Hervey family, of Lord Bristol and Lady Victoria fame, for almost 200 years before it passed to the National Trust in lieu of death duties.

The hotel, which opened nine years ago, has continued to trade throughout the administration process.