Find a fresh home from home with extras of top tourist hotel
There’s a new breed of luxury holiday home that’s hassle free and comes with all the frills of a top hotel. Sharon Dale reports.
BUYING a holiday home is something many of us dream about at this time of year.
A bolt hole by the sea would be lovely or maybe a little cottage in the country, we think, as we fritter away time drooling over properties that we’ll probably never buy.
Even if the price is right, the practicalities of holiday home ownership often dampen our ardour.
But where there are problems, there are solutions and two companies at opposite ends of the country have both come up with the same bright idea.
Yorkshire-based Skelwith Group, which is developing the Raithwaite Hotel and Spa in Sandsend, near Whitby, and CMR Leisure, which has created The Cornwall Hotel and Spa in St Austell, are both pioneering a similar concept.
They have both bought small estates, turned the main houses into luxury hotels and are building holiday homes in the grounds.
The beauty is that holiday home owners also have the use of the hotel and its facilities right down to ordering dinner to be delivered to their door, breakfast in bed to taking a dip in the pool.
The hotels will also market and manage your property as a holiday let, organise cleaning and maintenance and allow your guests to use the facilities, which is a big attraction for holidaymakers.
It means the property generates an income and you feel less guilty about only using it for a few weeks a year.
At Raithwaite Hall, there are seven cottages ranging in price from £195,000 to £345,000 with a service charge of £1,000 a year and gym membership of £500 a year. There has been buyer interest locally, regionally and nationally
Toby Cockroft, of DHP Croft, which is marketing the cottages, says: “There was a definite gap in the market. There are caravan and log cabin sites that operate a system where guests have use of facilities and where they will manage your property for you, but they are nothing like this, where you have the use of a five star hotel.”
In Cornwall, the contemporary Woodland Homes close to the hotel and luxurious spa cost from £285,000 for a furnished and equipped two-bedroom property, but this includes VAT at 20 per cent. If you want to let your home you can claim 100 per cent of the VAT back, which works out at £57,000. The company is also offering a guaranteed return of 6 per cent for the next two years if owners use its Platinum Stay and Let Scheme, which means a minimum profit of £13,738 a year. The service charge is around £3,000 a year.
The Cornwall’s sales director Sam Weller says: “Some people have bought for themselves to use, others want to use it for a few weeks and let it the rest of the year. They love the fact they can have all the benefits of the hotel, its restaurants and the spa on the doorstep. We can also clean their home, stock their fridge and provide linen and we can look after the maintenance.
He adds: “I have been selling property in Cornwall for 40 years and I’ve seen people buying holiday homes that become a millstone round their neck. The first week they arrive they spend doing the garden and the second week of their holiday is spent decorating and when they get home 300 miles away they worry about whether the place is alright, With this concept you don’t have any of that.”
Building new homes linked to a hotel also has an additional benefit to the local community, says Sam.
“It brings in tourists and that is good for the local economy but creating purpose-built accommodation means that the buyer isn’t using local housing stock.”
This is particularly important in Cornwall, where almost half the properties in some areas are holiday homes. Although both the Yorkshire and Cornish developments look set to be a big success, both Toby and Sam believe that there won’t be many copycat schemes.
“It’s not something that can be easily replicated,” says Toby.
“You need the right location, the right property. A lot of estates come with too much land or the house isn’t right for conversion to a hotel. Then you have planning to contend with. Gaining permission for something like this is not easy. It has taken a long time We were lucky we have benefited from working with Scarborough Council and they were happy that we were regenerating the estate and creating employment. There was nothing else like this on the coast, which was also a benefit.”
Funding for such a big undertakings is also limited and both The Cornwall and Raithwaite Hall have been funded mainly by private finance, rather than by bank loans. Bank funding for such projects have dried up since the credit crunch.
“The working capital for Raithwaite was raised in a very creative way thanks to Mark Pepper from Grosvenor Financial Consultants,” says Toby.
“It was raised utilising SIPPs, self invested personal pensions.”
“It takes a lot of bravery to undertake a project like this, he adds, not least because you have to build before anyone will buy.
“They want to know that the hotel is up and running and everything is in place and that’s understandable,” says Toby
Both CMR leisure and Skelwith Group plan to build more holiday homes on their sites over the next few years.
WISH YOU WERE HERE:
The contemporary Woodland Home at The Cormwall Hotel and Spa, top. Above, from leftt: the infinity pool at The Cornwall Hotel’s spa; the Raithwaite Estate, set close to the beach; and the cottages at Raithwaite Hall.