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900 year old Sussex castle up for sale
A 900-year-old castle is up for sale.
Historic Amberley Castle has been put on the market after the financial collapse of its owners, the Von Essen Hotels group.
Barclays and Lloyds Banking Group called in administrators Ernst and Young after the group, which owns 28 hotels in the UK and France, failed to make interest payments on its £250 million debt.
A spokesman for the administrators said for now it would be “business as usual” for the luxurious hotel and its 40 staff.
He said: “The administrators are working with the company to develop the appropriate strategy to take the business forward.”
Industry analysts expect a bidding war for the hotel, which is listed as one of the top ten castle hotels in the world by gayot.com.
The upmarket property employs 40 people and has 19 bedrooms and suites, many with four-poster beds and all featuring whirlpool bathrooms. The hotel's facilities include two restaurants, lounge areas, tennis court, croquet lawn, gardens and lakes, an 18-hole professional putting course and a thatched-roof tree house with a rope bridge.
A spokesman for the hotel said it was open for business and had rooms available for the upcoming Royal Wedding and Bank Holiday period.
He said: “If people have weddings, parties and conferences booked at the hotel they can be assured that these events will not be affected in any way.”
A West Sussex County Council spokesman said: "Amberley Castle is a very key and important tourist attraction and provides a number of jobs in the local area. We hope that a buyer will be found for the castle as soon as possible."
Tim Smith, director of hotel consultancy HVS London, said the holding group had acquired a large number of hotels in a short space of time and that hotels across the UK were still struggling to reach pre-recession levels of occupancy.
He said that a single buyer for the chain was unlikely. He said the more likely scenario is that the group will be split up with some hotels being sold individually.