Nearly 40 hotels feared lost to the leisure and tourism industry following the collapse of Shearings Hotels last May have been given a new lease of life and are now set to reopen under the Coast & Country brand.
Under new ownership, and a new hotel management agreement with Bespoke Hotels, 39 former Shearings Hotels properties will reopen in 33 leisure destinations across England, Wales and Scotland over the coming weeks and months as lockdown eases.
Properties that feature in the new Coast & Country Hotel Collection include the Windermere Hotel in the Lake District, the Caledonian in the Scottish Highland town of Fort William, and the Ship and Castle in St Mawes, Cornwall.
Many of the hotels are located near coastal or rural attractions, and will serve as bases for outdoor pursuits or visits to local attraction. Opening dates will vary by location, with most planned for 17 May, in line with the government’s Covid roadmap. Some will reopen in June.
The portfolio also includes Derwent Manor Apartments, a set of 19 self-catering apartments in Keswick in the Lake District, which Coast & Country plans to reopen in April, with self-catered holiday accommodation permitted to reopen to single household groups from 12 April.
Paul FitzGerald, portfolio managing director, said: "Given the enormous challenges of the last few months, we’re delighted to bring such a wonderful mix of properties back to market.
"Many of them are well-known within their areas and their initial closure was felt keenly among their respective communities. Now though, we’re able to offer not just jobs and wider tourism opportunities through reopening, but a hospitality service that people can engage with as restrictions lift.
"With the country having been unable to enjoy the delights of hospitality for so long, everyone is eager to enjoy themselves post lockdown, and as people are starting to realise these properties are reopening, we’re already seeing keen interest to book – something that bodes really well for their future success."
FitzGerald added many of the Coast & Country properties were previously geared towards coach parties, and that while the collection would warmly welcome back coach guests, the hotels would also be opened up to other markets.
"In particular, we are looking to attract those seeking leisure breaks and welcoming local residents to sample the restaurants, bars, and wedding and event venues on offer as we look to create a local hero status and develop a close bond with communities," said FitzGerald.
Coast & Country said it had "actively sought" to re-employ former Shearings Hotels staff. It is also looking to offer newcomers opportunities to join the hospitality industry, and to more broadly provide "much-needed" jobs across the UK post-Covid.
Thomas Greenall, Bespoke Hotels managing director, said: “The Coast & Country Hotel Collection is made up of some prominent local hotels in some wonderful and well-established leisure locations and we’re thrilled to be able to facilitate their reopening.
"We know the initial closures of many of these properties caused a real stir in their local communities last year, so we hope they’ll be keen to embrace their reopening and support the individual hotels in their endeavours."
He added: "We hope this will be regarded as a very positive move for the industry – delivering jobs, support for communities and vital trade for suppliers and ancillary businesses."