THE new owners of five-star Seaham Hall are throwing £1m behind its refurbishment after the luxury hotel became increasingly neglected after the collapse of the company which owned it.
The Durham-based mansion was sold by former owners Von Essen, for less than £5m earlier this year. The price tag for Seaham Hall was slashed by 60% in 2011 after Von Essen went into administration.
It was one of the last of the 27 hotels owned by the group to have been sold, and was originally on the market for £12.5m.
It is believed that the dramatic drop in the value of Seaham Hall reflected the fact that the hotel and spa, which has 19 treatment rooms, had been neglected in recent years and was in need of refurbishment.
Bristol-based Seasons Holidays, which owns seven country house hotels in the British Isles, is busy bringing the 18th Century mansion back to its former glory.
Managing director of Seaham Hall, Barry Donaghey said: “We’re spending around £1m on the hotel, bringing it bang up to date.
“We are currently installing a new, state-of-the-art gym and weights room, upgrades in the spa and a transformed outdoor veranda, as well as improvements to the grounds and buildings.
“We’re also introducing a Teppanyaki bar later this summer to compliment our pan-Asian restaurant, The Ozone.”
Set in 37 acres of gardens, Seaham Hall was originally launched as a hotel in 2001 by multi-millionaire entrepreneur and former Sage software director Tom Maxfield.
Maxfield had discovered Seaham Hall, which was built in 1791 and hosted Lord Byron’s wedding in 1815, after he was flying over in his private plane in 2001.
He spent about £20m on transforming the property that had been derelict for several years into one of the North East’s most prominent hotels.
The hotel’s restaurant held a Michelin star under one-time head chef Kenny Atkinson, who has now moved on to Rockliffe Hall.
Maxfield sold Seaham Hall and its sister hotel, the Samling, overlooking Windermere in Cumbria, to Von Essen in 2008.