Starwood Capital has sold its De Vere Horwood Estate to Ziz Hospitality off a guide price of £15.5m, the first of three De Vere properties it officially put up for sale earlier this year.
The American private investment firm put the freehold of the 185-bedroom Horwood Estate (pictured) in Milton Keynes; 247-bedroom Staverton Estate in Daventry, Northamptonshire; and 151-bedroom Cranage Estate, Cheshire, on the market for £60m as part of its wider disposal of the De Vere portfolio, following the sale of the Principal brand.
Karim Kassam, founder of Ziz Hospitality, which according to Companies House was incorporated in May, is also a director of Crimson Hotels. The latter has six hotels in the UK including the DoubleTree by Hilton London Victoria and Crowne Plaza London Gatwick Airport, as well as properties in Portugal and Dubai.
Horwood Estate marks his first solo purchase and he is "considering a variety of brand options" for the property.
Kassam said: "It's been a long journey finding the right first investment for Ziz in this market and Horwood Estate, already an established wedding and conference venue, offers just that. I'm looking forward to working with the experienced management team at the hotel to upgrade the facilities and build on this base to grow the business further."
Jeremy Jones, head of brokerage – hotels, at Christie & Co, who handled the sale, said the sale "is further evidence of the demand for such assets in the UK".
Following the sale of Principal last year to Covivio, with InterContinental Hotels Group as the operating company, along with two De Vere properties, Starwood Capital was left with 13 De Vere hotels.
According to the De Vere website there are 12 De Vere properties remaining, minus Horwood Estate but still including the Staverton and Cranage Estates.
Starwood consolidated the hotels it brought from Principal Hayley, Four Pillars, De Vere and the Townhouse Collection into two brands: Principal and De Vere under the Principal Hotel Company, injecting £100m across the De Vere portfolio to reposition the properties as country house hotels.