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Principal Hotel Company reveals £250 million investment ahead of launch

Independent conference hotel brand readies for launch of country estate brand, De Vere, next month

Pictured: De Vere Wotton House, which has expanded its WiFi network across its grounds, to allow delegates to work outside

More than £250 million in refurbishments and upgrades are being carried out across the Principal Hotel Company portfolio as it prepares to officially launch its De Vere brand next month.

The huge investment is aimed at positioning the group as the leading independent conference group in the UK, and comes ahead of the opening of its newest venue, Principal London.

Principal Hotel Company CEO Tony Troy told M&IT the investment didn't include only hotel infrastructure, such as meeting spaces and bedrooms, but also staff training and the overall brand.

"I'm delighted because it's great to have two strong brands (De Vere and Principal) that have benefitted from a large investment; it's good for the industry," he said.

"It's lovely to see our shareholders supporting the vision; they've given us the capacity to invest in our product and we feel we've really got that right. Our portfolio is a wonderful a la carte of country and city.

"At the core of our business is the conference and events market. We've got a great client base and if we get them to relax while they're staying with us, they're more likely to be more creative."

De Vere is part of the Principal Hotel Company, which was acquired by Starwood Capital Group in 2013 with an investment of £250 million. Alongside the De Vere brand, which is made up of historic country estates with a strong conference focus - sits Principal, which has a portfolio of urban-based 'Grand Dames' hotels.

Some of the current refurbishment programmes include De Vere Wokefield Estate, which will finish a £10m investment by December; The St David's Hotel in Cardiff, which has refurbished its public areas and restaurant; De Vere Beaumont Estate which has nearly finished a £9m project; and the 200-room De Vere Tortworth Court which received an £8m investment. This autumn will also see the launch of Principal London, formerly Hotel Russell. Refurbishments have also been carried out across the Principal portfolio, including Principal Manchester and Principal York.

Some of the improvements to have been carried out at De Vere Wotton House include the expansion of Wi-Fi to across the estate grounds, to allow delegates to work outside. The property has also converted 20 meeting rooms into executive suites, and invested in the remaining 20 meeting spaces, as well as a complete makeover of its restaurant 1877.

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