After many months of negotiations, keeping it secret from the staff and general chasing up of lawyers in order to get things done, today the exchange and completion of the sale of Findon Manor has finally happened!
Ashley’s ‘other’ career , of course, is in estate agency, so we’ve both been very aware for all these months that it’s NEVER over till it’s over, and although it’s obviously been more and more likely that the sale would go through with every step forward, I still feel a bit … shellshocked, I think, that it’s actually happened.
For those who don’t know the back story, the hotel belonged to Ashley’s parents, and is four hours’ drive away from where we live. When Ashley’s father was diagnosed with terminal cancer in late 2008 and subsequently died in early 2009, Ashley, who had little experience in hotels other than staying in them(!), had no choice but to take over running it.
In just under four years, he has turned around a failing business in desperate need of updating. He should be very proud of what he’s achieved – major refurbishment, a massive increase in bookings, far higher food and beverage standards, and a healthy diary full of function bookings into 2014. All this at the same time as running his own company as well.
I know he has very mixed feelings about the sale, as he has really enjoyed getting Findon Manor back on its feet, but it is the right financial decision both for us and for his mother. The distances involved make it very difficult, too – much as I would have liked to get more involved, it was impossible to do so from such a long way away.
Ashley has just embarked on his final four hour (probably five or six, actually, with it being Friday afternoon!) journey back home from the hotel, having handed it over to its new owner at lunchtime today, and I expect that we’ll be cracking open a bottle of champagne this evening, saying goodbye to life as a hotelier, and toasting to a job well done.