Pandemic-hit Dragon wants £4million for his best hotel
HAVING taken a £50 million hit during the pandemic, and with a glamorous wife 31 years his junior to keep happy, former Dragons’ Den star Duncan Bannatyne appears to be taking drastic action.
I can disclose that the tycoon, 72, has put the jewel in the crown of his hotel empire on the market.
Bannatyne — who was known for telling hapless wannabe entrepreneurs on the hit BBC2 business series ‘I’m Out’ — wants £4 million for the Charlton House Hotel & Spa in Somerset.
‘I think any business owner would be lying if they said they hadn’t been severely impacted by the pandemic,’ he tells me. ‘We certainly have.’ The hotel is housed in a converted Grade II-listed 17th-century stately home near Shepton Mallet.
The Scotsman insists: ‘I don’t want to sell any of my other hotels. This is the only one which doesn’t have connections to any of my health clubs, so it makes the most sense.’
The foundry worker’s son from Clydebank also owns hotels in Durham, Darlington and Hastings, as well as 70 gyms and an estimated 50 spas as part of his Bannatyne Group.
The father-of-six married 41-yearold former receptionist Nigora Whitehorn in 2017, the year after he proposed in Monte Carlo, with a sparkler said to be worth £40,000. He first met Uzbekistan-born Nigora during a visit to his dentist in London’s Harley Street, where Nigora worked.
The divorce from his second wife, Joanne McCue, was reported to have
cost him a staggering £345million. Although his business suffered in the pandemic, Bannatyne has said he turned down a £250million offer from an unnamed American company to buy his empire.
Matthew Smith, of Knight Frank, the agency which is marketing the property, confirms: ‘We are thrilled to act on behalf of the Bannatyne Group to source a new owner for the Charlton House Hotel and Spa.’