UK hotel acquires nearby resort for transformation

Watergate Bay Hotel in Cornwall, UK, has acquired a 72-room resort a mile away from its Watergate Bay location, with big plans for the property.

Sands Resort will now undergo a multi-million pound development to transform the site into a new lifestyle aparthotel, to be operated under the group’s self-catering brand, Beach Retreats.

Additional lodges

The property will remain open during 2023, with work on the aparthotel due to get underway in late 2023/early 2024. The project will include the addition of 24 lodges on the 10-acre site.

The development will be in line with the company’s existing ESG strategy. The group is currently being assessed for B Corp status, which it hopes to achieve in the new year.

Accommodation choice

The site will include a choice of accommodation, with apartments ranging from studios to three-bedrooms, all including living space with entertaining in mind. The communal areas will include restaurants, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts and outdoor cooking and pop-up spaces.

Guests at the aparthotel and lodges will be able to enjoy a range of different F&B offerings, delivered by local partners.

The new Sands Resort will target couples, groups and families. In addition to the leisure market, the group will be focusing in corporate retreats and events business, along with the emerging work-from-anywhere/relocation segments.

Rare find

Ben Harper, group MD at Watergate Bay Hotel, Beach Retreats and Another Place, said: “This is a big moment for Beach Retreats. Sites with development potential of this kind are rare and, three years after developing our strategy to expand the Beach Retreats business into developing and managing coastal aparthotels, we’re thrilled to acquire this property and deliver our vision to blend the best of self catering with hotel hospitality.

“The past few years have taught us that the sector is ripe for a strong brand which offers the lifestyle-led, leisure-driven outdoor offerings guests are looking for.”

Lifestyle leader ambition

He continued: “The market in the UK has not kept pace with the needs of leisure travellers who are now holidaying within its shores, and this addition to the Beach Retreats portfolio is the next step for us as we diversify into operations in addition to our agency business.

“The aparthotel concept is now proven in urban environments and I have always believed that this will translate well to the leisure sector. This acquisition will fuel our ambition to create a leading lifestyle self-catering brand.”

Cornish complement

The Sands Resort project will be supported by Barclays. Jim Turner, director, hospitality and leisure, Barclays Corporate, said: “Given our longstanding commitment to the UK hospitality sector, it was a natural fit for Barclays to support Beach Retreats with funding for this innovative concept.  As the home leisure market continues to evolve to compete with the best of global hospitality and as consumers become ever more demanding, the financing will help Beach Retreats deliver a high quality development to complement the Cornish coastline.”

The group is planning further growth for the Beach Retreats brand, including a development in Hayle, Cornwall, due to open in 2024. The brand has a strong pipeline and the team is working with investors and developers to add to its portfolio.