Wed, 22 Nov 2023 | ADMINISTRATION
Both hotels operating under the Birch brand have fallen into administration, three years after the opening of the first site in Hertfordshire and just months after the opening of the second hotel in Croydon. The Birch Cheshunt in Hertfordshire says Teneo have been appointed as administrators, while Moorfields Advisory Limited have been appointed administrators of the Birch Selsdon in South Croydon.
The Birch Cheshunt has been closed with immediate effect following the appointment of Teneo. In a post on Instagram, chef Robin Gill, who oversees two restaurants at the hotel, said he believed the closure was as a result of “a lack of funds required for reinvestment into the sites that was needed to bring the properties up to standard.”
Gill added that he believed the hotel is now up for sale “at a fraction of what the owners would have liked to sell it for” and said it required investors “with vision and passion to get it to where it needs, and deserves to be”.
As well as its two restaurants, the Birch Cheshunt features 140 bedrooms, three bars, 20 event spaces, fitness studios and screening rooms. It was opened in 2020 at the site formerly occupied by the De Vere Theobolds Estate hotel. The 200-acre site, which previously housed a golf course, has undergone a rewilding project, with Exmoor ponies and long-horned cattle roaming free on the property.
The hotel was a joint venture between Performance Hotels, the management company of former Ace Hotel London managing director Chris Penn and entrepreneur Chris King, both of whom left the Birch Cheshunt in 2022, and real estate investment firm Aprirose.
Owner Aprirose acquired the site in 2018 and invested £8.5 million in transforming the hotel to its current state. Aprirose is also the company behind the portfolio of 25 North East pubs owned by subsidiary Milton Portfolio Op Co 3 Limited, which went up for sale last week following the appointment of administrators.
The Birch Selsdon opened in South Croydon in spring 2023 under current managing director Ayo Akinsete. The 181-bedroom hotel features two restaurants overseen by chef Lee Westcott, three bars, co-working hubs, creative studios, a wellness space and lido. The hotel’s rooms come in five types, ranging from small rooms to large multi-room suites.
The hotel will remain open and trading while administrators work on a possible sale, but a staff member confirmed to industry publication The Caterer that all zero-hours staff had been let go.
Moorfields partner Milan Vuceljic commented: "The Birch hotel group had a unique market proposition, which fitted with today's health and wellbeing culture whilst still boasting a Greater London location. We are currently continuing to trade the hotel whilst we explore various options, which we believe provides a good opportunity for potential purchasers."
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