See the Olympics in lux­ury

Business Day - Home Front - - HOMEFRONT -

THOSE that have more than £1m at their dis­posal and a wide group of friends should make plans now to rus­tle up about 50 or more guests to visit the UK next year.

Only a Lotto win­ner could af­ford to stay at Leeds Cas­tle for six weeks, pay­ing for ac­com­mo­da­tion at six-star rates plus room rates a night — but this is what is on of­fer in time for the Olympic Games.

Anne Porter’s UK as­so­ci­ates Knight Frank have been man­dated to make Leeds Cas­tle in Kent avail­able to a sin­gle lessee for the 2012 Olympic Games, which will run from late July to late Au­gust. The lease, priced at more than £1m, comes with full hos­pi­tal­ity cater­ing and back-up ser­vices.

Leeds Cas­tle orig­i­nates from the 12th Cen­tury when it was Ed­ward I’s palace and it has, over the years, been mod­ernised ex­ten­sively. It is now run by a trust. Un­der its last pri­vate owner, Lady Bail­lie, it gained a rep­u­ta­tion as a so­cial hub fre­quented by politi­cians and show­biz per­son­al­i­ties.

Ear­lier in its his­tory — in Tu­dor times — it was home to Cather­ine of Aragon, Henry VIII’S first queen, and as a princess El­iz­a­beth I was im­pris­oned there for a time as she was seen as a threat to Queen Anne, Bri­tain’s last Catholic monarch. The cas­tle is close to Ebb­s­fleet In­ter­na­tional sta­tion, which is 11 min­utes by high-speed rail to the Olympic venue. The cas­tle is en­cir­cled by a moat and has its own park in which a range of ac­tiv­i­ties is of­fered, in­clud­ing golf on a nine­hole course, archery, joust­ing, fal­conry, horse and quad-bike rid­ing, fish­ing and hot air bal­loon­ing.

The cas­tle has 52 bed­rooms and sump­tu­ous din­ing and ban­quet­ing rooms.

Lav­ish state apart­ments in St James Palace owned by the queen, are also now avail­able for hire.

The palace’s throne room, ta­pes­try room and Queen Anne room can all be leased for about £30 000 for a sin­gle func­tion.

Anne Porter, chair­per­son of Anne Porter Knight Frank, said: “Right now I can think of no sin­gle client with more than R13m to spare, but with eight months still to run it is just fea­si­ble that a toprated hote­lier could make a go of this propo­si­tion.

“If this does not hap­pen I ex­pect a Mid­dle East­ern or In­dian bil­lion­aire to take up the op­por­tu­nity to host the party of the decade,” she says. Con­tact: Anne Porter 082 554 7944 Of­fice 021 671 7120

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