The stunning Elan Valley hotel that’s impossible to sell

A HOTEL that has proved impossible to sell despite its stunning Radnorshire location is to be partially transformed into a furniture workshop in order to help boost business.

Despite the fact that the Elan Valley Hotel is on the market for “significantly lower” than its valuation, only one viewing has taken place since it was put on the market in December 2019 – and no offers have been received.

The 11-bedroom, family run hotel is located in an idyllic Mid Wales setting, just outside Rhayader, nestled in the Cambrian Mountains and just a short distance from the Elan Valley Visitor Centre.

In September last year, we named it as one of the top five hotels in Powys, as ranked by users of the TripAdvisor website – with its status as a ‘family-friendly hotel within range of the most beautiful sights of the Elan Valley’ leading to an average rating of 4.5 stars.

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And yet owners Kevin and Liz Davies, who bought the property in 2016, have been unable to find any buyers. Before the couple, from Newport, bought the hotel it went on the market at £445,000, although website The Move Market has it valued at closer to £500,000.

Property firm Berrys, who are acting as agents, have released a report in which they say the hotel owners have instead chosen to diversify the premises – with renowned Welsh furniture making firm Lyn Morgan Furnishings set to take over part of the premises, with plans to open a workshop and retail space.

“The lack of interest in the hotel is symptomatic of general changes in the UK hotel trade which has seen a move away from full-service to select-service hotels and the emergence of Airbnb style accommodation,” a report commissioned by Berrys states.

The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly had an impact on the hotel owners too, as it is no longer playing host to local sports organisations and community groups while lockdown saw a drastic reduction in footfall for every business in the hospitality sector.

“While the hotel benefits from an outstanding location, it has been on the market and subject of an extensive marketing exercise since December 2019,” the report continues.

“The move away from guests at the hotel wishing to stay on the property for food and drink, together with the fact that the hotel is not a base for any local community clubs, charities or sports teams (darts, football, rugby etc), has led to the existing function room and much of the restaurant space being surplus to requirements.

“The proposal subject of this application therefore seeks an alternative viable use for this space which will diversify the offer and help support the continued operation of the hotel.”

Lyn Morgan Furnishings is described as a family-run business based in Llanover, near Abergavenny, which has over 40 years’ experience handmaking sofas and chairs and reupholstering furniture.

“The proposed workshop and retail use will complement the hotel operation as it will enable the applicants to continue operating the hotel, albeit in an amended format better suited to the needs of guests, while enabling them to operate Lyn Morgan Furnishings from the premises, which will act as a showcase for their high-quality furniture and interiors,” the report adds.

“In addition, the applicants also have experience of providing classes in furniture restoration and upholstery and wish to offer such classes from the property should the application be approved.

“The change of use of the hotel to accommodate a mixed use of hotel and furniture workshop with associated retail space will diversify, and therefore improve the viability of, the hotel business.

“The proposed uses are considered to be complimentary, with Lyn Morgan Furnishings increasing visitors, and potentially guests, to the hotel.”

As part of the planning application, Lyn Morgan Furnishings say the development will bring economic, social, environmental and cultural benefits to Rhayader and the Elan Valley, including using local suppliers.

“The proposal will ensure the continued operation and viability of an existing business while also providing additional local employment opportunities through the diversification of uses at the property,” the application states.

“In addition, the development will provide benefits to the local economy through the use of local suppliers and services to the resultant businesses and their clientele.

“The development will ensure the retention and viability of an existing hotel and provide new local employment opportunities.

“The future of the existing hotel is uncertain without this application. The proposed development is therefore considered to make a positive impact upon the community’s built environment by securing a viable future for the building. In addition, the proposed change of use does not require any physical changes to the exterior of the building and will have no impact upon the area’s character and appearance.

“As the proposal will secure the future of the hotel it will ensure that the role of the hotel in the history, culture and environment of the local community can be appreciated by future generations.”

South Wales Argus | Business