OakNorth Bank has provided a £3.8m loan to The Signet Collection, to acquire Barnsdale Lodge Hotel in Oakham, Rutland, and refurbish and upgrade it to a 4-star Signet-branded spa resort.
Founded in early 2020 by seasoned hotelier Hector Ross and his team, The Signet Collection is a British hospitality brand that creates boutique hotels in memorable locations.
The business was supported by OakNorth Bank for the opening of its first hotel – The Mitre Hotel at Hampton Court, and its second hotel – The Retreat at Elcot Park which very recently opened.
Barnsdale Lodge Hotel has been in Thomas Noel’s family since 1760 and formed part of the adjoining Exton Park, seat of the Earls of Gainsborough. Formerly a farmhouse and hunting lodge, it was converted by Thomas in 1983, and has since gained a 4.5-star rating on TripAdvisor, 8.4-star on Booking.com, and 78% Visit England rating.
Being less than a mile from Rutland Water (reservoir), a popular tourist attraction, it benefits from visitors throughout the year. The hotel currently consists of 46 ensuite bedrooms, 17 luxury self-catering cottages known as ‘Rutland Retreat’, three private dining and events rooms which can accommodate up to 50 guests, a larger function space which can accommodate up to 120 guests, a hair salon called Glow, and a 130-cover restaurant.
Signet’s plan is to refurbish the rooms, convert the existing events space into a spa and a new events space with capacity for 150 guests, and develop new retail units.
Hector Ross, founder of The Signet Collection, commented on the transaction: “Signet Hotels is all about taking assets in the UK countryside that have fallen out of love, favour or investment, and breathing new life into them. I’ve now worked with OakNorth Bank for a number of years for both our Mitre Hotel in Hampton Court and The Retreat at Elcot Park, so I know they listen, they believe in backing entrepreneurs, and will work collaboratively to make plans come together.
“There’s a real can-do attitude amongst the team, and an understanding that in construction and hospitality, things don’t always go to plan, so timeframes can sometimes be longer than expected. They also move faster than any other UK lender I’ve ever worked with – if you go to them on a Monday with an opportunity but caveat that you need the capital in two weeks’ time, they’ll get it done.”
Deepesh Thakrar, senior director of Debt Finance at OakNorth Bank, said: “When it comes to hospitality, many lenders have a tendency to paint every business in the sector with the same brush. We’re different: we consider every business on its own merits and delve deep into the data to really understand the management team’s objectives and future potential.
“We’ve worked with Hector and the team for years, so know this is a team that can deliver and has the expertise and drive to succeed in this highly competitive market. The fact that this is the third time Hector and his team have chosen us as their trusted funding partner demonstrates that we’ve continued to deliver on our promise to delight customers and offer a borrowing experience that’s truly differentiated.”