Brownsword buys 4 von Essen hotels

English businessman Andrew Brownsword purchased four former von Essen hotels out of administration on Thursday, reportedly for £32 million (US$50 million).

The U.K. hotel properties — including castle hotel Amberley Castle, Amberley; Lower Slaughter Manor, Lower Slaughter; Washbourne Court, Lower Slaughter; and Buckland Manor, Broadway — were purchased by Bath Priory Ltd., Bath, which is privately held by Brownsword and his wife Christina.

Brownsword Hotels has been created to operate the four properties and Nick Halliday, managing director of ABode Hotels, Bath, a lifestyle hotel chain in the U.K. that Brownsword created with famous British restaurateur Michael Caines, has been appointed its CEO.

Von Essen was founded in the 1990s by London property magnate Andrew Davis. The firm fell into financial difficulty due in part to its aggressive acquisition strategy, along with an inability to maintain acceptable RevPAR rates at its pricey provincial properties through the economic downturn. The U.K. hotel group defaulted on more than €250 million (US$345 million) in debt in April.