EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Pandemic-stricken Duncan Bannatyne wants £ 4million for his best hotel
Having taken a Â£ 50million hit during the pandemic and with a glamorous bride 31 years his junior to stay happy, former Dragons’ Den star Duncan Bannatyne appears to be taking drastic action.
I can reveal that the 72-year-old mogul has brought the crown jewel of his hotel empire to market.
Bannatyne – who was known for telling hapless budding entrepreneurs about the successful BBC2 commercial series ‘I’m Out’ – wants Â£ 4million for the Charlton House Hotel & Spa in Somerset.
Sale: Duncan Bannatyne, pictured with wife Nigora, wants Â£ 4million for Charlton House Hotel & Spa in Somerset
âI think any business owner would be lying if he said he hadn’t been badly affected by the pandemic,â he tells me. âWe certainly did. Â»The hotel is housed in a 17th century, Grade II listed stately home near Shepton Mallet.
The Scotsman insists, âI don’t want to sell any of my other hotels. It’s the only one that doesn’t relate to any of my health clubs, so it makes the most sense. ‘
The Clydebank foundry worker’s son also owns hotels in Durham, Darlington and Hastings, as well as 70 gyms and around 50 spas as part of his Bannatyne group.
The father of six married 41-year-old former receptionist Nigora Whitehorn in 2017, the year following her proposal in Monte Carlo, with a sparkler worth Â£ 40,000. He first met Uzbekistan-born Nigora during a visit to his dentist on Harley Street in London, where Nigora worked.
The divorce from his second wife, Joanne McCue, has reportedly cost him an astronomical sum of Â£ 345million. Although his business has suffered from the pandemic, Bannatyne said he turned down a Â£ 250million offer from a US corporation to buy his empire. Matthew Smith of Knight Frank, the agency that markets the property, confirms: âWe are delighted to act on behalf of the Bannatyne Group to find a new owner for the Charlton House Hotel and Spa.
The hotel is housed in a 17th century Grade II listed stately home near Shepton Mallet
Normal People star leads the Fashion Pack
CHOICE OF PARTIES
THE OCCASION: The after-parties of the Fashion Awards.
DRASTIC MAKEUP: Paul Mescal, who was known for his gold chain and scruffy outfits when he starred alongside Daisy Edgar-Jones in the hit BBC drama Normal People, was almost unrecognizable in a flamboyant jacquard blazer Gucci at Tommy Hilfiger’s party at The Maine, Mayfair.
Paul Mescal looked almost unrecognizable in a flamboyant Gucci jacquard blazer at Tommy Hilfiger’s party in The Maine, Mayfair
Designer John Galliano was greeted by Anna Wintour during the awards ceremony
Former Victoria’s Secret model Elsa Hosk wore a dramatic, floral-print Richard Quinn dress, but stood on it as she got out of her car.
Olympic hero Tom Daley plunged into the biggest night on the style calendar by befriending Hollywood star Demi Moore
Paul Mescal with Normal People co-star Daisy Edgar-Jones
RETURN TO THE TREND: Designer John Galliano, whose career took a nosedive after a racist rant in 2011, proved he’s back in the heart of the fashion world by being greeted by the big head of Vogue Dame Anna Wintour.
IN SWIMMING: Olympic hero Tom Daley plunged into the biggest night on the fashion calendar by befriending Hollywood star Demi Moore. He said to me: âFor me, fashion is just a fun way of expressing yourself.
FASHION ROYALTY: Sadie Frost, who directed a movie about Mary Quant, said she wanted to “dress like a princess” for the awards and wore a peach pantsuit by Dame Zandra Rhodes.
BAREFOOT BEAUTY: Former Victoria’s Secret model Elsa Hosk wore a dramatic, floral-print Richard Quinn dress, but stood on it as she got out of her car. Fortunately, she had no shoes.
Harry’s ex-assistant on royal return
Clara Loughran was among those hapless courtiers who lost their jobs when Prince Harry and Meghan left royal duties and moved to the United States
Yesterday, however, she made an emotional return to a royal residence to retrieve a gong.
Clara, who was one of Harry’s closest associates, received her badge of the Royal Victorian Order at Windsor Castle by Princess Anne on behalf of the Queen. Clara was in charge of project management for the Sussexes, having worked for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Clara, now a partner in a business that “connects influential people and organizations with good causes”, was watched in Windsor by her husband, Nick Loughran, who was also a palace assistant.
Clara, who was one of Harry’s closest associates, received her badge of the Royal Victorian Order at Windsor Castle by Princess Anne on behalf of the Queen
The organizers of the BRIT Awards believe they are woefully “awakened” by removing gender categories, such as best female artist, but ’80s star Patti Boulaye is not impressed.
“This sucks,” the singer and actress tells me at the British Curry Awards at Battersea Evolution in London.
âSometimes it’s better to leave things alone, because when you turn one thing upside down, you turn everything upside down. ”
Born in Nigeria, Boulaye, 67, who starred in The Real Marigold Hotel, adds: âMy female ancestors in West Africa went to war instead of men. I don’t understand a thing about this one size.
Keira Knightley believes she has a historic looking face. “I’ve done about half of the contemporary films – but they haven’t always done so well,” she says.
âI think it has something to do with my face.
âI am more often selected in period films and the roles I play there are more interesting.
âI must have a face for period drama. ”
Not sure that’s what the producers of his latest film would want to hear: it’s a contemporary horror comedy, Silent Night, shot during the early days of the pandemic.
Boris Johnson’s wife Carrie is passionate about ‘rewilding’. And now I’ve heard that a friend of his, wild animal breeder Derek Gow, has convinced a prominent aristocrat to give up farming in favor of nature.
James Lowther, who inherited his family’s castle in the Lake District, says the farming practices of his father, the late Earl of Lonsdale, “laid waste to the land”.
He said to me, “I have razed the henhouses behind Lowther’s Castle and made a plan to save it and the gardens.”
Without raising dairy, beef and chicken, how does he make money? âI built 600 beehives,â he explains.