Major leisure business on the market for the first time in 44 years



The Manor House Hotel and Ashbury Golf Hotel in Devon, a well-known leisure business, has come on to the market today after 44 years under the same ownership.

Situated within two miles of each other, The Manor House Hotel and Ashbury Golf Hotel operate as one thriving leisure business, set within over 500 acres and comprising 404 guest bedrooms and circa 60 staff bedrooms.

This deal provides a truly unique opportunity to acquire a substantial leisure, spa, sports, crafts and golf resort situated on the edge of Dartmoor National Park and within easy access to the City of Exeter, the South West coastline and the M5 motorway.

Having been under the same ownership for over 40 years, the Manor House and Ashbury Hotels are regarded as one of the UK’s premier activity holiday destinations. This combined business, which is available at an asking price of £23m, is set within 546 acres of Devon countryside on the fringes of Dartmoor National Park and includes the ninth largest golf resort in the world averaging over 110,000 rounds of golf played every year across the five 18-hole golf courses.

There are over 50 daily sport, craft, leisure and spa activities available for guests and attracts circa 135,000 sport & leisure activity participants per annum with extensive indoor and outdoor sporting facilities, operating as an all-year round tourism destination.

The business has grown beyond recognition from the original 10-bedroom manor house which was purchased by John and Simon Essex in 1978, and consistently generates in excess of £15m annual revenue with a high percentage of repeat custom contributing to the success of the resorts. A successful business model that operates as a unique concept of one package price that includes full board accommodation and access to the numerous facilities and activities.

Matthew Smith, a partner in the Knight Frank Hotels team, which has been instructed to sell the business, commented: “We are delighted to be acting as sole selling agents for the sale of The Manor House Hotel & Ashbury Golf Hotel, which operate as highly profitable multi-faceted unique leisure resorts.

“The opportunity arises simply due to our client’s decision to retire from the industry. Through their vision and business philosophy they have installed an established structured management team with extensive knowledge of the operation supported by loyal, local and trustworthy staff who have embraced the business, have defined roles & responsibilities and are passionate to providing the very best experience for their guests.

“Given the strength of the domestic market it is no surprise the business is currently benefitting from increased trading performance. The resorts, which are to be sold as one business, will no doubt appeal to an array of investors seeking a substantial land holding in the South West, and should provide further value-add and development opportunities.”

Joan and Simon Essex, owners of The Manor House & Asbury Golf hotels, issued this joint comment: “Soon, it will be 44 years since we moved into the Manor House, originally a large house in 17 acres with fantastic views of Dartmoor. We had a plan to build the only Sport and Craft Hotel in Britain, offering an unprecedented range of opportunities and facilities. We have fulfilled that dream. However, we are aware that our joint age is 152 and it’s time to step aside.

“We have been working with our experienced team, together with our agents Knight Frank, to roll out a marketing plan for the sale of our business. We are proud to recognise the enormous contribution that our staff have made to the success of the Manor and Ashbury resorts and we are certain that this will continue to be the case. The resorts offer further growth for the next custodian with an exciting chapter ahead for the business.”

 

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