Business as usual at the castle as owner goes into administration

Amberley Castle.
Amberley Castle.
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IT’S BUSINESS as usual for one of the county’s most prestigious hotels, Amberley Castle - despite the von Essen Hotels Group entering administration to the tune of £250m.

A stunning portfolio of country mansions, stately homes and castles are likely to be sold after the owner collapsed under the weight of its debt.

Amongst them is Amberley Castle - a landmark luxury hotel, renowned for its superb cuisine and being the ultimate romantic destination.

Administrators at Ernst and Young are trying to find buyers for von Essen’s 28 luxury country house hotels in the UK and France.

They also include Cliveden House in Berkshire, Ston Easton Park in Somerset, the Royal Crescent in Bath, Thornbury Castle near Bristol and Amberley Castle, which dates back to 1140.

But the administrator made clear that the hotels themselves are not in administration and will continue to trade as usual.

Angela Swarbrick, joint administrator at Ernst and Young, said: “It is business as normal for the hotels and customers of von Essen Hotels can continue to enjoy their stay.”

Von Essen was founded in the mid-1990s by multi-millionaire Andrew Davis, who made his fortune in property in London.

The company employs 40 people and another 1,000 work at the 28 hotels. The administrators were unable to say whether they would be sold as a package or individually.

“The administrators are working closely with the business to develop the appropriate strategy to take the business forward,” said an Ernst and Young spokeswoman.

Amberley Castle was bought from the Cummings family about four years ago.

It features a portcullis and 60ft curtain walls, beautiful landscaped gardens and fine examples of medieval architecture.

There are 19 luxurious hotel 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, 18-hole professional putting course and a stunning thatched-roof tree house complete with rope bridge. The castle is still completely enclosed by a high curtain wall, which is only flanked by a magnificent twin-tower gatehouse to the south and a kitchen block and a garderode tower with gun loops to the north.

Square internal towers stood at the corners, with a small water-gate in the west wall and a Norman postern in the east wall.