Plans for £1bn UK hotel chain revealed

Plans have been revealed to bring together 89 UK hotels to form a £1 billion chain under the Amaris brand.

The combined group would include 29 Jurys Inn properties sold in January for £680 million and Puma Hotels, both owned by US private equity group Lone Star.

Puma Hotels, which owned the Lygon Arms in the Cotswolds and the Imperial in Torquay (pictured), was bought for £323 million last year, and has now been rebranded as the Hotel Collection.

The new umbrella company will also include Lone Star’s 21 Mercure hotels, three Hilton properties and 19 Thistle hotels when a deal completes on July 30.

It will be one of the largest hotel owners in the UK, with 8,000 staff.

John Brennan, the current head of Jurys Inn who will become Amaris’s chief executive, told the Financial Times: “The strategy is to create a branded hotels business. Many of these hotels have great locations but have not had much put into them.

“We have £100 million to invest and renovate these hotels.”

Lone Star decided to bring together its hotels portfolio to create a simplified and more attractive business.

“We want to make it simple and easy to understand,” Brennan said. “This year is about strategy. In 2016 we will do the renovation and investment; 2017 is when we should see the fruits of our labours.”

He added that a number of the hotels could be repositioned and that he was discussing which brands to bring into the portfolio.

Some of the Hotel Collection properties may remain outside the group and be run as individual provincial hotels.

Former Travelodge chief executive, Grant Hearn, will become non-executive chairman of the new company.

“I have been advising Lone Star for a year and we had acquired a number of these hotels beforehand. It was the acquisition of Jurys Inn that unlocked the strategy for us,” he said.

“The aim is to create value by deploying capital and showing what the business is capable of. The plan is to build a business we can [float]”.

He added: “There is a market gap. In the UK you have InterContinental Hotels and there’s nobody else, so I think it is going to be a very interesting proposition.”

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