The Manor House Hotel, near Moretonhampstead in Devon, has been purchased by Peter de Savary from Meridien Hotels, who had acquired the property when they took over Principal Hotels two years ago. The price paid was in the region of £7 million and Mr de Savary expects to spend a further £7-8 million on improvements to the property.
The 18 hole golf course, which was designed by JF Abercromby and Herbert Fowler and opened in 1929, measures just over 6,000 yards with a SSS of 69. Donald Steel has been commissioned to carry out improvements to the course while maintaining its character and authenticity. The only hole where major changes are expected is the 18th, always considered as being the weakest on the course and which de Savary describes as being in need of “significant improvement”.
There will be a new drainage scheme to improve playability throughout the year, a state-of-the-art full irrigation system and new equipment to maintain the golf course. “Investment at the property has been lacking for the past thirty or forty years,” said de Savary.
The Manor House Hotel will remain open until the end of 2003 while significant changes and additions are made within. It is expected that the premises will be closed from January to March in 2004 to allow for final major refurbishment. The property will be re-opened for Easter 2004 and re-positioned as England’s number one sporting and leisure destination.
The number of bedrooms in the Hotel will be reduced so that the facilities on offer can be upgraded. A new spa will be built on to the wing of the original building and golfers will have a new clubhouse and golf academy. Other leisure facilities will include stables, falconry and sporting clays.
While Peter de Savary has not yet decided on whether Manor House Hotel will use the Carnegie Club name, there is no doubt that he intends to model the development upon the successful formula which he has established at the exclusive Skibo Castle resort in Scotland. “The merits of the property are quite exceptional,” he said. “It is directly comparable to Skibo.”