Property agents slash £3m off asking price of prestigious country house hotel closed during pandemic

December 10, 2021
The sale price of one of the top country house hotels in the Bath area has been reduced by more than £3m - with property agents now marketing the closed-down venue for £6m.
Grade I listed, four-star Ston Easton Park near Shepton Mallet, which has 20 individually styled bedroom suites and seven reception rooms, was put up for sale nearly two years ago shortly before its owners went in administration. 

The Georgian Mansion House – once the home of North East Somerset MP Jacob Rees-Mogg’s family – also boasts a restaurant, games room and billiard room as well as an orchard and tennis court in its 28 acres of landscaped gardens and grounds.
A Grade II listed three-bedroom gardener’s cottage and a Grade II* listed coach house are included in the deal.
Agent Strutt & Parker was appointed to sell it in February last year with a price tag of £9.5m – but it is now also being marketed by rival Knight Frank for £6m. 
While not used as a hotel for more than 18 months, Ston Easton Park has found a new role as a location for period dramas. 
It has featured in the BBC’s The Pursuit of Love and is currently being used as an elegant backdrop for the ITV series Sanditon.
Knight Frank hotel team Partner Matthew Smith said: “Ston Easton Park represents a superb opportunity to acquire one of the finest hotel assets in the region. 
“Although closed for trading, the hotel provides an incoming purchaser the opportunity to reposition the business as a luxury hotel and wedding venue, that also benefits from planning permission to further enhance the future business.” 

Ston Easton Park had been owned by the Hippisley family from the days of Henry VIII to the 1950s. While the present house dates from around 1760, it replaced a Tudor building on the same site.
In 1958 a Preservation Order was obtained to stop it being demolished and six years later it was bought by Jacob Rees-Mogg’s father and former editor of The Times William Rees-Mogg, who undertook the first phase of restoration.
In 1982 it was sold again, to hoteliers Peter and Christine Smedley who converted it into a 22-bedroom luxury venue before selling it to fast-growing Bath-headquartered prestige hotel group Von Essen in 2000. 
A year after the Von Essen group collapsed with debts of nearly £300m in 2011, the hotel was bought by entrepreneur and former Dragons’ Den presenter James Caan’s private equity firm Hamilton Bradshaw for a reported £3m. It was then returned to former Von Essen director Andrew Davis to run.
The impact of the pandemic early last year hit the hotel hard and it entered administration in June 2020. It is still being marketed by Strutt & Parker, which is seeking offers in excess of £7m.

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