Hip Hoxton is making its way to stately Scotland after boutique hotel operator, Ennismore, agreed to buy Gleneagles, the luxury hotel and golf resort set in prime Perthshire.
The acquisition for an undisclosed price from Diageo, the world’s largest distiller, marks a departure from property developer Ennismore’s fledgling collection of Hoxton hotels.
The first Hoxton opened nine years ago in then-edgy Shoreditch as an “anti-hotel”. Its website, depicting a tattooed street artist at work on an east London wall, celebrates its “no bullshit” policy of refraining from unpopular charges for minibar and WiFi extras.
Gleneagles, which was built in the 1920s and nestles among three golf courses in 850 acres, is known as “the Palace in the Glens". It has played host to a G8 leader summit and was the venue of last year’s Ryder Cup golf tournament.
Sharan Pasricha, Ennismore founder and chief executive, said there was no intention to change the character of the five-star hotel and that it would be managed separately from Hoxton hotels.
“Gleneagles is a grand old lady with so much history. It is more a question of a deep dive into its DNA,” he said. “We want to bring Gleneagles up to date — by investing in food and beverage and the rooms, rather than modernising the place.”
Ennismore, which acquired Hoxton hotels in 2012, said Gleneagles was attractive because of its distinctiveness. “Our strategy is about owning unique experiences. It doesn’t matter which segment that is in — whether it is urban and hipster, like Hoxton, or an iconic golfing resort,” said Mr Pasricha.
Ennismore is expanding internationally, with one Hoxton hotel due to open this month in Amsterdam and others slated for New York and Paris.
Mr Pasricha said it was possible that Gleneagles could also develop abroad. “I wouldn’t rule out taking the Gleneagles brand and looking at opportunities abroad. But that’s definitely not our short-term focus,” he said.
Gleneagles has been under Diageo’s ownership for 31 years but Ivan Menezes, chief executive, said the time was right for a sale following the Ryder Cup, which has led to increased buyer interest.
Though small in the context of Diageo’s sales last year of £10.3bn, its disposal will allow the group to focus on selling in emerging markets.
Diageo is to retain a relationship with Gleneages by continuing to display its Scotch brands at the hotel.
Gleneagles made an operating profit of £2.6m on sales of £43.5m in the year to 30 June 2014.
Analysts said the price was likely to have been between £150m-£180m, which would be short of the £200m price tag.
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