ONE of York’s most luxurious boutique hotels has sold to private buyers.
Jeremy and Vivien Cassel who opened The Grange Hotel in Bootham in 1990 completed the sale of the 41-bedroom property within just 12 weeks of agreeing an offer.
The Grange Hotel which is within walking distance of the city centre and York Minster has been extended over the years, in keeping with the building’s heritage, with an elegant country house style running through each new improvement.
It has an award-winning restaurant, The Ivy Brasserie, set in the atmospheric hotel cellars, which boasts two Rosettes and serves a fine dining menu with a classic French twist.
Jeremy and Vivien Cassel, 25 years apart outside The Grange Hotel, York – right, when it was celebrating its quarter century in 2015.
Specialist business property advisor, Christie & Co managed the sale process.
Jeremy Jones, head of hotel brokerage at Christie & Co, said: “Having sold Hotel Felix, Cambridge for Jeremy and Vivien in 2018, we have always kept in touch with their long-term plans for their second property, The Grange Hotel.
“When we got a hint that they were ready to sell to the right ‘custodian’ we immediately made contact with the buyers; and so it came to pass, with a sale approximately 12 weeks from agreeing and signing terms to the sale.
“More broadly, this is evidence of the strong market for this quality of business in the right location. There is no shortage of funded buyers, but the opportunities are limited, and sellers need to be teased out.
“We wish the buyers all the very best and particularly wish Jeremy and Vivien all the best with their next venture.”
David Lee, Christie & Co’s hospitality regional director based in the Leeds office, added: “The sale of The Grange Hotel is clear evidence that the market for quality hotels in the best locations in Yorkshire remains strong.
“Cash buyers recognise that they need to meet the owners’ aspirations on price if they are to secure one of these sought-after businesses.”
When the Cassels brought their young family north for a new life in York in 1990, tourism was not the multi-million pound business it is today – instead the city’s focus was on Rowntree’s, Terry’s, the railway and the carriage works.
The couple had been looking to buy a hotel in London for five years, without success, and decided to look further afield.
They discovered what was then Bootham Grange, a Regency townhouse within strolling distance of York Minster which had latterly been used as a homeless hostel.
They spent 18 months converting the building into an elegant English country-style retreat in the city.
When The Grange opened, it had 29 bedrooms, with two restaurants: Smartypants upstairs and the Brasserie, in the cellar which had been an air raid shelter for the area during the war.
During renovations, they found rubble from the raid in the basement and the skeleton of a Roman soldier out front, who had been buried with his arms crossed, just inches from the main road.
Jeremy who previously worked in hospitality, including The Savoy, Claridge’s and The Berkeley in London, previously told The Press that the Kuwait war started the day they opened, and businessmen were not going on planes or trains.
The business flatlined and they were not sure they would survive.
With a supportive bank, the couple were able to ride out the worst of the economic downturn at the start of the 1990s. By the mid 1990s, the hotel was doing so well they branched out and invested in a second, the Felix, in Cambridge.