Cadbury heir bets on London luxury hotel market

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The two entrepreneurs who have reinvented the Groucho Club in London are banking on the British capital’s luxury hotel market even as it faces a collapse in foreign tourism and a drop in domestic demand.

Joel Cadbury, a member of the family who founded the eponymous chocolate maker, and Ollie Vigors plan to open a luxury hotel in Chelsea next year, modeled after their grand country hotel, the Beaverbrook.

The Bold Bet is a joint venture with real estate group Cadogan Estates, which owns more than 90 acres of land in Chelsea and neighboring Knightsbridge. Around £ 25million has so far been invested in renovating two Georgian buildings that will house the hotel.

The pandemic has left London’s hotel industry in shock as international tourists, business travelers and visitors from elsewhere in the UK have declined in numbers. While many expect the luxury market to prove more resilient, the occupancy rate of upscale hotels across the UK in July was 77% below last year’s levels, according to the firm. studies of the STR sector.

“If we open next week I would be legitimately worried, but reality opens spring [or] next summer, ”said Mr. Cadbury. “I think it’s a really exciting time to open up something new. I’m sure there will be bumps in the road, but we’re all getting used to face masks and social distancing. “

Hugh Seaborn, chief executive of Cadogan, said the hotel would be part of a “bigger vision” for the region that included opening more hotel, food and beverage businesses.

Mr Cadbury and Mr Vigors bought the Groucho, a London watering hole for film and art lovers, in 2001 for £ 11.6million and sold it to the capital company Graphite Capital investment in 2006 for £ 22 million.

The two have invested over £ 100million in the original Beaverbrook, which opened as a hotel in 2017. Mr Cadbury said the hotel, once the home of the former Baron of Lord Beaverbrook’s press, had been full since it reopened in early July 4 thanks to an increase in demand from Britons wishing to spend their holidays in the United Kingdom.

Regarding the London hotel, Mr Cadbury said the final bill would be “obviously [be] much more than that (£ 25million). Art alone will end up being a big investment.

Russell Nathan, head of hospitality at accounting firm HW Fisher, said those investing in long-term hotel projects would benefit from the industry’s hardship.

“If it is well funded it would make sense because in this type of recession you would be able to build this hotel at a better price than you would have done before the recession,” Nathan said.


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