If all goes well with the planners, work will start this autumn on the construction of a £4 million 50 bedroom 4 star hotel with leisure centre and spa to the rear of the present clubhouse at The Oxfordshire Golf Club, located just off junction 7/8 of the M40 motorway.
The bedrooms will be contained within three connecting ‘pavilions’ that will rise no higher than the existing clubhouse. This is located on the highest part of the property overlooking the 18 hole championship golf course, designed by Rees Jones, which opened in July 1993 after construction costs amounting to some £22 million.
Nitto Albion plc and Nitto (Oxfordshire) Ltd, the developers and original owners of The Oxfordshire Golf Club, were placed in administration in 2002 and in July of that year the golf club was sold through HLL Humberts Leisure to Leaderboard Golf for an undisclosed sum, believed to be around £5.5 million.
Leaderboard Golf’s portfolio of golf courses includes Chart Hills Golf Club, Kent; Dale Hill Hotel and Golf Club, Sussex; Sandford Springs Golf Club, Hampshire, and the Leaderboard Golf Centre in Reading.
The Oxfordshire clubhouse already offers superb facilities within a 40,000 sq ft building offering commanding views of the golf course and surrounding countryside. With a restaurant capable of seating 200 diners and a range of other meeting rooms it can cater for weddings and conferences, meetings and private parties, but until now all guests wishing to stay overnight have had to be directed to offsite accommodation including that at The Oxford Belfry, a 130 bedroom hotel owned and operated by Marston Hotels.
The proposed hotel, which has been designed by the Oxford architects ADP, was originally slated for 72 bedrooms but the scaled-down version, more likely to be accepted by the planners, who because of its prominent location regard The Oxfordshire as a very sensitive site, will still provide sufficient accommodation for both teams contesting the 2011 Solheim Cup.
It was the Leaderboard Group’s decision to bid to stage the Solheim Cup that provided the catalyst for the current plan for the hotel. The course is one of seven contenders to host the Cup – and the only one from England, where the matches have never been played.
“There’s no doubt that The Oxfordshire has all the infra-structure necessary to stage a major international event,” says Mark Casey, the European Solheim Cup director. “They have a fabulous clubhouse, while the proposed hotel, which will be linked to it, will only add to those facilities and there’s plenty of room to accommodate a big crowd.”
The three day event is expected to attract more than 100,000 fans over three days. The final decision about location will be announced before the end of the year.
In the meantime there is no doubt that Martin Harris, general manager at The Oxfordshire, is looking forward to the opening of the new hotel, possibly as early as September/October 2007. The 50 bedrooms, which will include four suites, in combination with the leisure centre, with swimming pool, spa and fitness centre will provide much needed facilities both for the existing membership, which is on the increase, as well as corporate and private visitors, placing The Oxfordshire firmly onto the map as a fully- fledged golfing destination in its own right.
The Oxfordshire www.theoxfordshiregolfclub.com