Two major UK resorts are sold on the same day

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 8, 2021 15:18

The golf club that has hosted the Ryder Cup four times has been reportedly sold in a £140 million deal – with a second major UK resort being sold on the same day.

Both venues have been bought by US companies.

Wall Street investment bank Goldman Sachs is to become the new owner of The Belfry, ending nearly a decade of ownership by private equity firm KSL Capital Partners.

According to Sky News, a property fund run by Goldman has beaten bond fund manager Pimco to be the preferred bidder for the iconic Warwickshire hotel and golf courses, which hosted the Ryder Cup in 1985, 1989, 1993 and 2002.

The purchase price is expected to be in the region of £140 million – £40 million less than KSL paid for it in 2012.

KSL has been looking to sell the resort for a while and conducted an auction of the venue, which recently hosted the Betfred British Masters tournament, in 2017 but then opted against a sale.

The Belfry

Just as The Belfry sale was announced, a second major transaction involving a UK golf resort took place, perhaps suggesting an increase in market activity following 18 months of uncertainty due to the pandemic.

Slieve Donard Resort and Spa in Northern Ireland, which borders Royal County Down Golf Club, has been sold by its owner Hastings Hotels.

Royal County Down’s Championship course is currently rated the best in the UK and fourth best in the world, and it is often marketed together with Slieve Donard Resort and Spa by Hastings Hotels.

Slieve Donard has now been sold to Adventurous Journeys (AJ) Capital Partners – a Nashville-headquartered real estate developer and hotel operator, with over 40 hotels based in the US and UK.

The brand currently has properties located at other world-class golfing destinations including St Andrews, North Berwick and Troon.

Speaking about the sale, Hastings Hotels managing director Howard Hastings said: “AJ Capital Partners’ acquisition of the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa is encouraging news for hospitality and tourism in Northern Ireland and, in particular, for the burgeoning golf tourism industry here – which has been an important driver of local tourism in recent years and shows significant growth potential in the future.

“This investment is a strong sign of confidence in the local market by a major international hotel operator with exciting ambitions for the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa in the coming years. I have every confidence that AJ Capital Partners will be sympathetic to the heritage of the hotel and that, under their leadership, it will continue to flourish and maintain its reputation as an iconic destination in Northern Ireland.”

Slieve Donard Resort & Spa. Image from Facebook

AJ Capital Partners CEO Ben Weprin said he was honoured to welcome the hotel to its collection.

“It’s a tremendous responsibility and honour to be the next steward of this timeless asset. The Hastings family has held that distinction for nearly 50 years,” he said.

“We plan to carry and uphold the tradition and spirit of this iconic property and connect it with our existing assets to create a collection unparalleled in the golf world.”

Meanwhile, Grey Harlings Hotel, which overlooks Montrose Golf Links in Scotland, the world’s fifth-oldest golf course, has also been placed up for sale.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir October 8, 2021 15:18
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  1. djm October 14, 09:59

    Good times or bad times…….money has to be laundered

    Reply to this comment
  2. Peter October 10, 16:12

    Mergers, Acquisitions and Consolidations will continue for a long while !!

    Reply to this comment
  3. Wayne October 8, 14:48

    First the Slieve Donard now the Belfry have been sold to Americans on the same day. Do they see the growth of golf travellers to come to these iconic British hotels in 2022?

    Reply to this comment
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