Chester ’s best known hotelier Gordon Vickers has sold The Mill Hotel for an undisclosed sum.
The Mill has been bought by Bespoke Hotels, who also operate the Chester Grosvenor.
Originally established in 1987, the three star Mill Hotel & Spa Destination boasts 132 en-suite bedrooms, a restaurant and bar and spa and leisure facilities.
Gordon used to co-own The Mill with son Gary but Gary and his partner Kaye Clarke were killed in a plane crash at Hawarden in November, 2013. His daughter Maretta Williams is general manager but will retire.
“It has given me enormous pride to develop the Mill over the last 30 years,“ said Gordon, who earned the nickname ‘Mr Chester’ as a result of running the Monday Wall City Jazz Club night at Quaintways (now Rosies), Northgate Street, in the 1960s.
Gordon, who turns 89 this month, will retire and has bought a home overlooking the River Dee where he spent Christmas.
Asked what he would miss, he told The Chronicle: “First of all I’ve got a good team and whilst I employ the staff – 145 staff – I love them as friends. I get on well with them and they get on well with me. I’ve got no prima donnas. If the food isn’t right I tell them. If it’s not right they do something about it.
“And the customers, I have some fantastic customers. Some have been coming for 25 years for Christmas and New Year. People come from North Wales every three or four months so we have a clientele which comes regular. We also get a lot of recommendations because it’s a unique hotel. That’s why we call it the destination.”
Haydn Fentum, CEO of Bespoke Hotels, added: "We are thrilled by the prospect of working with this historic property, as well as strengthening our affiliation with Chester and the North West of England, which is a flourishing market and region of real significance to the group.”
Ian Latham and Helen Brocklebank from RSM advised the vendors and Stuart Scott-Goldstone and Jamie Hawley from Chester legal practice Aaron & Partners acted as legal advisors to the shareholders.
Mr Latham, corporate finance partner for RSM, said: “The Mill Hotel is a well-loved Chester institution and the partnership with Bespoke Hotels going forward will further enhance its position.
"We received significant interest from potential purchasers and it was great to draw on our extensive sector experience to deliver a successful exit for the shareholders to the right purchaser and provide a strong platform for the future continued success of the hotel.”
Stuart Scott-Goldstone is head of the corporate and commercial team at Aaron & Partners, which provides legal services to those who own, run or invest in businesses.
He added: “We are delighted and very proud to have played a part in securing this landmark deal. The Mill Hotel is one of the most well-known and popular hotels in Chester and we look forward to seeing it continue to develop in the hands of a new buyer with plenty of experience in the hospitality sector.”