Hotel marketing consortium HotelRez has acquired fellow consortium Best Loved Hotels from the Great British Hotel Company for an undisclosed sum.
HotelRez plans to develop the Best Loved brand globally, adding luxury boutique hotels from across the world that will cater to high end travellers, while also retaining it as an independent brand.
The move is described as a "milestone" in HotelRez's global expansion and move into the luxury soft brand sector and the group confirmed it is looking at further acquisitions of direct competitors.
Best Loved Hotels was founded by London-based entrepreneur Jeffrey Epstein in 1993 and has a membership of more than 250 boutique and independent properties, including the Duke of Richmond hotel in Guernsey; Llangoed Hall in Brecon, Powys (pictured); and Wychwood Park in Crewe, Cheshire.
HotelRez's 1,500-strong global portfolio, launched by entrepreneur Mark Lewis in 2004, is mostly made up of four- and five-star luxury, independent boutique and small group hotels. Its UK portfolio includes including Nadler properties and the Good hotel in London; Holbeck Ghyll in Windermere, Cumbria; and the Country Living Landsdown Grove hotel in Bath.
Julian Ebbutt, managing director of Best Loved Hotels, will remain as a consultant during the transition of the business to the new owners, while Nicolas Wijnants, former director for HotelRez's World Rainbow Hotels (WRH) brand, has been promoted to group director global brands at HotelRez, with responsibility for both Best Loved Hotels and WRH.
Lewis said: "The acquisition marks a milestone in our business' ambitious expansion plans and cements our reputation as one of the world's leading and most progressive hotel representation companies.
"Our immediate plans for Best Loved Hotels include a complete brand refresh and new cutting edge website including booking functionality coupling both hotel and ancillary spend designed to appeal to high net worth travellers."
Ebbutt added: "We are proud to have nurtured this successful brand over the last four years, and are confident the acquisition by HotelRez will enable Best Loved Hotels to reach its full potential, enhancing its status as a truly iconic global hotel marketing brand."
The group also plans to "hugely" develop WRH, which currently represents 57 member hotels in the UK and more than 1,000 worldwide.
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