The FINANCIAL -- The
Belfry - four times host of the Ryder Cup - is to be managed by the De
Vere Group following its acquisition by KSL Capital Partners.
Set within a 550-acre resort in Warwickshire, the 324-bedroom hotel will be returning to the De Vere fold after the hotel group sold the property in 2005 to Irish businessman Sean Quinn, whose bankruptcy status in Northern Ireland was annulled in January.
It is believed the Belfry, which was carrying £105m of debt, was put on the market by its lenders - Bank of Ireland, Barclays and Certus.
The hotel's new owner is an American investment firm which specialises in travel and leisure business and has a long history of investing in golf resorts. Its purchase of the Belfry, which has hosted more Ryder Cups than any other venue, marks KSL's first foray into Europe.
A comprehensive renovation of the property, involving all the bedrooms, public areas (including food and beverage) and meeting spaces, will now be undertaken.
For De Vere, the addition of the Belfry will be a boost to the newly created De Vere Hotels and Village Urban Resorts division - which operates alongside De Vere Venues - under chief executive Robert Cook. It will particularly enhance De Vere's golfing facilities, which are currently centred on 11 of its hotels and venues, with 16 championship courses.
According to Caterer and Hotelkeeper, the group has a long tradition of hosting leading golf tournaments, most recently at Slaley Hall In Northhumberland (2012 PGA Seniors) and at the Carrick golf course at Cameron House on Loch Lomond (2008 Ladies Scottish Open and 2009 PGA Cup).
Andrew Coppel, group chief executive of the De Vere Group, said the company was delighted to have secured the management contract at The Belfry. "De Vere and the Belfry have a proud history together and share a golfing heritage. The De Vere name became synonymous with the game after hosting the 1985 Ryder Cup at the Belfry which the Group then owned: the year Tony Jacklin's European team ended the USA's 28-year winning streak!
"The PGA is wholly supportive of these new arrangements, again further consolidating our strong relationship with them at this location.
"We look forward to working with KSL Capital Partners and re-establishing the Belfry as one of Europe's premier destinations."
One of KSL's partners, Richard Weissmann, said the company is honoured to be the next steward of what is the spiritual home of the Ryder Cup.
"Given KSL's experience owning and operating large scale golf and spa resorts across the United States, the Belfry is the perfect opportunity for our first resort investment in Europe," he said. "We believe De Vere's familiarity with today's European travellers combined with our planned renovations will provide guests of the Belfry with a new level of luxury, service and amenities."