Scottish hotel chain acquired by private investors

Image © Crerar Hotel Group
Scotland-based privately owned Crerar Hotel Group has been acquired by Blantyre Capital Limited and its operating partner Fairtree Hotel Investments.

The deal is aimed at further expanding the new private investor owners’ UK luxury leisure platform.

Upper market target

Crerar’s portfolio of seven four and five star hotels will form a key part of the new owners’ plans.

The hotel group had recently realigned its market position targeting the more affluent upper market through a blend of quality refurbishments matched with service authenticity. Its approach, in the face of well understood external market pressures, was successful in attracting hospitality talent to the group and has ultimately been rewarded with significant  growth in all areas.

Personnel updates

Outgoing chairman Paddy Crerar and his co-director Nigel Dearnley will no longer be connected to Crerar Hotels but will retain a formal link with the new board and remain staunch supporters of the business.

Chris Wayne-Wills will remain in post as Crerar Hotels CEO, supported by his existing team, as the group plugs into the luxury UK platform. Blantyre and Fairtree promised further announcements in due course on their plans for growth and the further development of their latest acquisition.

Double digit growth

Crerar commented: “We set out to deliver the type of hotels and service that properly reflects Scotland – a world class destination that is consistently a podium finisher in the global tourism marketplace. It’s been an absolute joy seeing our ambitions flourish and be rewarded by guest demand and loyalty. The current year we believe will be our best yet with double digit growth forecasted in every month ahead.

“After getting to know the new potential owners it was soon clear that they shared identical aims and ambitions to those we have worked hard to foster at Crerar Hotels. Their view of the potential for high quality hospitality in Scotland pitched to the global stage is unquestionable and their access to greater resources makes delivering on the potential of Crerar Hotels achievable.”

Step change

Wayne-Wills said: “This is an extremely exciting time for Crerar Hotels, we are looking ahead to a record year of performance with our hotels now at the highest level of facility and service. Knowing the ambition of the new owners our teams are ready and will relish the opportunity to make this next step change an unbridled success.

“Crerar Hotels has taken time to develop a distinct and authentic DNA – it is a strong and clear identity that matches the ambitions and aims of the new owners. The road ahead was and remains just as clear, new ownership accelerates us to the opportunities much earlier than we might have hoped previously.”

Excellent fit

Joe Bester of Fairtree noted: “Both Nic Ross and I at Fairtree are hugely excited to be expanding our hotel portfolio in Scotland with the addition of the Crerar Hotel Group, which offers a variety of beautiful hotels in iconic locations across Scotland. The pride the group has in offering an exceptional guest experience is an excellent fit with the existing portfolio properties, and we are looking forward to building on the huge opportunity this acquisition offers us to expand and enhance the portfolio within the national and international marketplace.

“We are extremely proud to have a strong partner like Blantyre in this iconic portfolio acquisition as we continue to build out our UK luxury leisure portfolio.”

Fourth deal in two years

Julian Troup, head of UK hotels – agency, at Colliers advised the vendors, and the confidential transaction took place at an undisclosed price.

This acquisition marks Blantyre and Fairtree’s fourth hospitality purchase within the UK since 2021, having also acquired Fonab Castle and Dunkeld House Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland and Daffodil Hotel and Spa in Cumbria, England.

Luxury momentum

Johann Scheid of Blantyre concluded: “We are very pleased to have concluded our fourth deal and first group deal with our partners Fairtree and are excited about the momentum in building our luxury leisure hospitality portfolio with them across the UK.

“The addition of these seven high quality assets to our platform allows us to expand on our offering in providing unique and memorable experiences to our international customer base. We are grateful for all the outstanding work our existing staff members at Fonab, Dunkeld and the Daffodil are doing on a daily basis to differentiate our hotels from others and warmly welcome our new colleagues to continue this exciting journey.”