Von Essen Hotels Group Collapses

Big news from the luxury hotel scene in Europe: The Guardian is reporting that a "grand collection" of castles (many of which are used as hotels) and private homes is up for auction after their owner, the von Essen Hotels group, collapsed into administration on Wednesday.

Administrators at Ernst & Young are trying to find buyers for von Essen's 28 luxury country house hotels in the UK and France. They include Cliveden House in Berkshire, Ston Easton Park in Somerset, the Royal Crescent in Bath, Thornbury Castle near Bristol and Amberley Castle in west Sussex, which dates back to 1140.

Thornbury is even older, with the earliest account of the manor in the time of King Athelstan (925-940), the grandson of King Alfred the Great. King Athelstan and William the Conqueror stayed at the castle, as did Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and Mary Tudor.

Cliveden, once home to Nancy Astor and mired in the Profumo scandal in the 1960s, recently unveiled the world's most expensive afternoon tea – which carries a price tag of £550 for two people. It includes white truffles, Beluga caviar and a glass of Dom Perignon Rosé.

Read more

Read more on