Hawkstone Hall: New owners vow to transform mansion into 'one of UK's most opulent hotels'
Developers who have taken over a £3 million historic mansion in Shropshire have spoken for the first time about their plans to convert it into a top-of-the-range hotel, wedding venue and festival site.
It was revealed in August that Hawkstone Hall, near Wem, was to be converted into a hotel and plans are also afoot to use its 88-acre grounds for corporate events, yoga and fitness retreats – and even music festivals.
It is hoped that the transformation could be completed by next year summer, and work has already begun to recover parts of the garden and develop plans for the building's most recent additions.
Hannah Whiting, group development director at new owner The Distinctly Hospitable Group, said: “Since completing on Hawkstone Hall we are delighted with the progress we have made in restoring one of only two Grade I listed buildings in Shropshire.
"The gardens have proven to be a major project over the summer and we have thoroughly enjoyed uncovering some of the lost and hidden features, numerous pathways and a secret garden."
Venues director Martin Hirst added: “We were thrilled when the change of use permission was granted in such a timely manner and we're currently in the process of working with architects to submit a sympathetic yet innovative proposal for the 1960s wing of the building.
"We are extremely proud to be playing such a significant part in the history of this magnificent Grade I listed building and we look forward to a very exciting future at Hawkstone Hall.”
Hawkstone Hall is a Grade I listed 18th century mansion, of which the Distinctly Hospitable Group become the fourth owner in its 550-year history when it agreed the acquisition in the summer.
It was put up for sale in 2012 for £5 million, but the price was later reduced to £3 million.
The property was originally built as a stately family home, and was in the care of Catholic missionaries until June this year.
The new owners have expressed hopes that they can turn the 43,400 sq ft building into "one of the most opulent hotels and exclusive wedding venues in the UK".
The main hall will include 12 suites, all of which will be named after Jane Austen characters, while a newer wing built in the 1960s will be renovated to include 28 further rooms. The colour scheme will be duck-egg blue and calamine pink, the owners say.
The stately home, which has wined and dined the Duke of Wellington and writer Samuel Johnson, presently boasts 64 bedrooms, a ballroom, two cottages and has been owned by Members of Parliament.