The Pig is to expand following purchase of Hunstrete House
Robin Hutson, chief executive of Home Grown Hotels, parent company of the Pig, confirmed that the £5m acquisition had completed today.
The hotel, which has been closed since going into creditors' voluntary liquidation in April 2011, is expected to reopen as the 30-bedroom Pig near Bath, before Christmas.
It will join the Pig in the Forest, near Brockenhurst and the Pig in the Wall in Southampton, which have been celebrated for their focus on home-grown produce and laid-back ambience. The Pig on the Beach, which is on a long-term lease from the National Trust, is currently going through the planning process and will open in spring 2014.
Hutson said that he has been very fond of the hotel ever since he visited it in its heyday during the 1980s, when it was owned by John and Thea du Pays. "I had just started working at Chewton Glen in 1986 and it was one of the places the owner Martin Skan sent me to look at as being an example of a well-run country house hotel."
In the intervening years, Hunstrete, which is set in 77 acres of grounds and includes a one-acre walled kitchen garden, has been owned by Arcadian International, Homewood Park and most recently by Davis. Although it was operated by Von Essen Hotels, it did not form part of the administration of the company when it collapsed with debts of nearly £300m two years ago because it was privately owned by Davis.
Hutson hopes that the Bath property will replicate the phenomenal success of the original Pig in Brockenhurst, which last month recorded 96% occupancy and served an average of 175 covers per day.
"The infrastructure of the hotel is in quite good condition overall, although the décor is very out of date, but we expect the renovation process to be easier than on the earlier Pigs," he said.
"The location just seven miles from Bath and 12 miles from Bristol is fantastic for us as it far enough away from the Pigs not to be in competition. It has great demographics and has always been an area renowned for great country house hotels."
Hutson said that the Pig, which launched in 2011 to inject new life into the lacklustre three-star country house hotel market, had been successful because it appealed to a broad church of guests who appreciated its relaxed environment and good value room rates.
•Following the loss of the Von Essen empire of 31 properties, rumours have been rife about Andrew Davis return to the hotel scene. Two of the hotels - Ston Easton in Somerset and Sharrow Bay in Cumbria - were sold by the administrators Ernst & Young to Hamilton Bradshaw, the private equity company headed by entrepreneur and former Dragons' Den presenter James Caan. However, calls this week to both hotels confirmed that the hotels are now back under the ownership of Andrew Davis.
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