Michelin-starred chef Michael Caines and greetings card millionaire Andrew Brownsword have announced the launch of a new hotel brand along with the purchase of a third property.
The partnership's latest acquisition is the County Hotel in Canterbury, Kent, a former Macdonald hotel in a listed building dating from the 16th century.
It will be the third hotel in the duo's new brand, called Abode, which will be launched in September with the reopening of the Royal Clarence in Exeter, Devon, following a £3m refurbishment. The pair, whose partnership began in 2003, also own the Arthouse hotel in Glasgow.
Caines said the business aimed to open between 15 and 20 town-centre hotels within 10 years, to rival niche luxury brands like Hotel du Vin and Malmaison.
"This is our third property in a year-and-a-half, and demonstrates our aggressive expansion policy," said Caines. "We chose the name Abode for the group because it represents the fact that our hotels will be homely and very personal."
Abode rooms are expected to cost about £125 a night, and the hotels will focus on a Michael Caines-branded food and beverage outlet.
Caines said the business aimed to buy another hotel by the year-end.