Oakman Group acquires Bedfordshire hotel

Eloise Hanson Eloise Hanson Uploaded 30 March 2021

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UK: The Oakman Group, owner and operator of 34 hospitality businesses across the UK, has acquired The Woburn Hotel after signing a 25-year lease with The Bedford Estates.

Sitting at the gateway to Woburn Abbey Estate, the hotel is an 18th century property with 48 bedrooms and seven individual cottages. Facilities include three conference and events spaces, as well as a restaurant and bar.

The hotel closed last year due to government restrictions. Oakman is preparing to reopen the property from May 17 when indoor dining is permitted, and is looking to create around 60 new jobs.

Dermot King, chief executive officer of the Oakman Group, said: “Following our acquisition of The Seafood Pub Company, this represents another major step in delivering our vision for the business. The Woburn Hotel represents a significant addition to our existing portfolio which contains many historical coaching inns and remarkable buildings. The Woburn Hotel’s history and strategic position in Bedfordshire make it a superb venue for both the leisure and business traveller.

“We now have 225 bedrooms across The Oakman Group and we will be looking to further grow our capacity,” King continued. “We are developing our ability to provide compelling staycation packages as well as ensuring we meet the needs of business travellers. As well as all the local attractions, The Woburn Hotel has the advantage of being only twenty minutes from Luton Airport and only ten minutes from the commercial centre of Milton Keynes.”

The Duke of Bedford said: “The Oakman Group has a proven track record over many years as high-quality operators. They also have a reputation as a business that builds relationships with local communities and their chairman, Peter Borg-Neal, knows Woburn well - indeed, he used to live on the Estate. I am confident Oakman will safeguard our historic values whilst delivering a contemporary and hospitable offering of which we can all be proud.”

Borg-Neal added: “Unsurprisingly, there was considerable interest in this wonderful property, and we are delighted and honoured that His Grace has put his trust in us. At Oakman we work with a number of Estates and we have always built strong and mutually beneficial relationships with them.”

Oakman Inns was founded by Borg-Neal in 2007 when he opened The Akeman in Tring. King succeeded Borg-Neal as CEO in August 2020.

The group now owns and operators 34 establishments with 13 venues totalling 225 bedrooms across the UK. Seven additional sites are in the pipeline.

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