Shepherd Neame sells Conningbrook Hotels in Ashford and Royal Wells in Tunbridge Wells to RedCat Pub Company

A drop in business travel has seen Shepherd Neame sell two of his Kent hotels for £ 5.75million.

The Faversham Brewer has offloaded the Conningbrook Hotel in Ashford and the Royal Wells Hotel in Tunbridge Wells as it seeks to focus on the leisure market, which has rebounded more significantly from the lockdown.

The Conningbrook Hotel in Ashford was sold by Shepherd Neame

Both properties were acquired by the RedCat Pub Company, a London-based firm run by former Greene King managing director Rooney Anand.

RedCat set out to acquire sites across the country using US venture capital funds in a bet on the long-term recovery of the hospitality industry from the pandemic.

George Barnes, Director of Real Estate and Services at Shepherd Neame, said: “We can confirm that we sold the Conningbrook Hotel in Ashford and the Royal Wells in Tunbridge Wells as the properties no longer fit our portfolio.

“They are based on business commerce and therefore have a different profile from our coastal hotels which target the leisure market and have performed very well since reopening.

The Conningbrook Hotel, on Canterbury Road in Kennington, has 29 rooms and facilities to host events, while the Royal Wells Hotel is located atop a hill on Mount Ephraim.

The Royal Wells Hotel in Tunbridge Wells
The Royal Wells Hotel in Tunbridge Wells

In his annual report, Shepherd Neame President Richard Oldfield reflected on the pandemic experience, writing: “We are fortunate to have a strong base of rural and coastal pubs to benefit from the increased custom that could come from less travel as well as the presumed tendency to warmer weather.

“We have also been able to innovate with increased use of reservation and ordering systems and table service.

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