Hospitality & Tourism

£20m shot in the arm as group plans to turn hotel into a five-star resort creating 200 jobs

The Savoy Hotel on Bournemouth's West Cliff which has been acquired by the Nicolas James Group.

By Staff Reporter [email protected]

Published: April 9, 2021 | Updated: 9th April 2021

Bournemouth’s hotel and hospitality sector is to receive a multi-million pound shot in the arm.

One of the UK’s top property groups has acquired The Savoy Hotel and is to spend £20m on redeveloping the site into a five-star resort, creating up to 200 jobs.

The Nicolas James Group, headed by Nicolas Roach, says the new mixed-use concept will offer a standout hotel resort alongside proposed apartments.

It will open next summer and be the first site for the group’s latest brand, yet to be announced.

Mr Roach has already built the luxury and lifestyle hotel group, Harbour Hotels.

Its 15 hotels include the Christchurch Harbour Hotel & Spa, The Kings Arms in Christchurch and the Southampton Harbour Hotel & Spa as well as The Jetty Restaurant, pictured left, in the grounds of the Christchurch Harbour Hotel.

The Savoy Hotel, which was among three Dorset hotels which ceased trading after the Specialist Leisure Group went into administration last May, will undergo a soft refurbishment under its current name, opening for the 2021 summer season.

It will then close its doors for an extended period from September as it undergoes a full and extensive redevelopment and re-brand.

The new name will be unveiled in due course.

Mr Roach, pictured, who founded the Nicolas James Group in 2000 and is Chairman, said: “We are delighted to have acquired The Savoy Hotel site and are committed to significant investment with plans now formally submitted for a £20m redevelopment.

“For previous generations, Bournemouth was the prime coastal location.

“With phenomenal untapped potential, on one of Europe’s top beaches, it is time to bring back the golden era of Bournemouth’s hospitality and raise the game, starting on the West Cliff.

“As in other locations, our group will invest heavily, much like we did in Southampton, transforming Ocean Village into a five-star destination.

“As a local resident, I am looking forward to a luxury lifestyle resort on my doorstep, alongside other quality venues.

“I expect others will follow.”

The proposed £20m development will see The Savoy Hotel and its gardens restored to their former glory alongside new additions to include:

  • A 100 bedroom, five-star standard hotel, featuring a state-of-the-art spa and wellness club
  • Multiple food and beverage offerings, including new rooftop and garden restaurants
  • Outdoor terraces and landscaped gardens, as well as contemporary meetings and events facilities.

In addition, the planned development will provide a number of residential apartments, aimed at what the Nicolas James Group describes as “active urbanites”.

News of the acquisition and £20m development has been warmly welcomed by BH Area Hospitality Association.

Tim Seward, Chair, pictured left, told Dorset Biz News: “This is another great sign for the Bournemouth hotel market.

“I wish the new owners and team every success.

“We’re absolutely delighted to see hotels across the town that were closed due to the pandemic being bought and regenerated for the present day.”

Political leaders have also greeted the news.

Cllr Drew Mellor, Leader of BCP Council, pictured right, said: “We are delighted to welcome operators of this quality to BCP.

“Our big plan is an ambitious vision to create a world class city region and this investment, from the Nicolas James Group in Bournemouth, is a great part of that journey.”

Cllr Philip Broadhead, BCP Council’s Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Economy and Strategic Planning, described the £20m investment as “great news for Bournemouth and indeed the whole BCP area.”

He added: “As a council, we are midway through a major piece of work, which is focused on using all levers available to massively lift the hotel quality across the resort.

“This is a stunning location, right on the cliff top overlooking our fantastic environment.

“To have a five-star iconic hotel here is precisely what we need.

“We look forward to working with the Nicolas James Group, who clearly have an impressive track record, as their plans develop.”

Lewis Spendlove, pictured left, formerly General Manager of the Christchurch Harbour Hotel, has been appointed General Manager of The Savoy Hotel.

According to the Nicolas James Group, the Bournemouth acquisition and re-development aims to “further position Bournemouth as a distinctive destination with a modern appeal, delivering a fresh approach in food and drink, well-being, entertainment, workspaces and more – appealing to visitors both regionally and beyond.”

The group adds: “Driving new demographics to the area, increasing visitor numbers to the town centre and supporting local businesses, the hotel will encourage a sustainable community chain – working with local suppliers to deliver the best local experiences.”

The Nicolas James Group has successfully completed approximately £500m of construction and development projects, including hotels, residential apartment blocks, villages and large commercial properties, since it was founded.

Undertaking its own large construction projects, the group has a large investment portfolio across the south of England, from warehousing to cinemas.

Mr Roach, 50, is an economics graduate and chartered accountant who qualified with Price Waterhouse Coopers in 1995.

The Nicolas James Group’s acquisition and £20m investment plans at The Savoy Hotel follow the decision of several of Bournemouth’s hotels to take advantage of the lockdowns to spend millions of pounds on upgrades and refurbishments.

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