Iconic lakeside hotel set for liquidation

Date: Friday 25th September 2020

THE world famous Sharrow Bay Country House Hotel, on the shores of Ullswater, is set to be placed into liquidation.

A resolution to consider the winding up of the iconic hotel is due to be considered on 2nd October.

Papers sent out to creditors by email on Wednesday reveal that the administrators — Portland, who are based at Fareham, Hampshire — were first contacted by the director of Sharrow Bay Hotel Ltd, Andrew Davis, on 3rd July.

A statement of finance shows that the estimated total assets available for preferential creditors is £83,898. The estimated deficiency to creditors is more than £2.3 million.

Customers have taken to TripAdvisor to complain about the failure to repay deposits for bookings at the hotel, and a lack of communication. Telephone callers are answered by a voicemail message which simply says: “The party you are calling cannot accept calls from this location.”

One customer confirmed that he had received an email from the liquidators and wrote: “It is disappointing as I only confirmed with the hotel a few weeks back that a booking for 4th October was still good.”

The hotel was opened in 1948 by the late Francis Coulson, who created the first ever “country house hotel” along with his partner Brian Sack, who joined him in 1952.

The 26-bedroomed hotel, which overlooks Ullswater towards the Lakeland fells, became a firm favourite with celebrities.

Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney famously proposed to Heather Mills at the hotel in 2001 and other visitors have included former Prime Minister David Cameron and celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal.

In December, 2003, the hotel was sold to the Von Essen hotel chain for £5 million. The chain later went into administration with debts of nearly £300 million.

The Sharrow Bay was snapped up by a private equity company, London-based Hamilton Bradshaw, run by entrepreneur and former Dragons’ Den presenter James Caan, for a knock down £1.5 million in 2012.

In 2013 Andrew Davis, the founder of the Von Essen group, took it on again and invested heavily in the hotel.

Reacting to this week’s news, Miles MacInnes, chairman of Barton Parish Council, said: “It is very sad. It is a well known hotel that has a lovely position on the shore of the lake.

“It is a bit of an institution, being the first country house hotel. I hope that somebody takes it on and restores it to its former glory.”