It is looking very likely that the last 18-hole round of golf at Selsdon Park was played some time at the end of 2021.
The new owners of the Selsdon Park Hotel and its accompanying 200 acres of parkland released a statement last week about their ambitious plans for the place.
And there was not a word about any golfing activities at the latest addition to the Birch hotel group.
“Real estate investor Aprirose will reopen Selsdon Park Hotel next year as a joint venture with Birch Hospitality,” the property trade press reported.
“The 17th century, 150-room hotel sites [sic] on 200 acres of parkland, with meeting and conference facilities, dining amenities, a leisure centre, tennis courts, and running trail.”
See that? Nuffink about golf.
Mind you, what had been most recently renamed as the “De Vere Selsdon Estate”, until its closure last December, used to claim to have 200 rooms, too. So the new owners, who have been on site for most of this year with their refurbishment project, must have decided to down-size big-time.
The 17th-century claim seems a bit odd, too, since most sources agree that much of the country house which later became the hotel was built in the 19th Century, with major additions during the 1920s.
The press release from the property investors continued: “The establishment will be relaunched as the second property in Birch’s lifestyle brand.
“Currently the hotel and grounds are undergoing renovation. The project is being led by co-founder Chris King and the Birch team, with Adam Mursal of Pillar Consulting as development manager.”
Aprirose, who have been in business 25 years, are the investment company who put up the cash for Birch’s first hotel, based within a Grade II-listed Georgian mansion in Cheshunt.
The Cedars, built in the 18th Century, had been the home of the Meux brewing family and later a secondary school, before being turned into a 21st Century hotel and members’ resort, where a room for two nights’ stay for two people can cost £540 and a one-course Sunday lunch starts at around £38.
Birch’s new-age hotel also offers sough dough bread-making and pottery classes, plus Friday night DJs and, if you prefer to slum it a little at your luxury hotel, you can even stay in a shepherd’s hut in the grounds.
“We all dream of remote cabin living and with a growing interest in reducing our footprint on the land through renewable energy generation and conscientious consumption, Planted’s beautifully designed solar-powered cabin provides a unique sustainable living experience,” according to the venue’s website.
Birch was named The Sunday Times’ Hotel of the Year in 2020 – the covid year which put paid to so many hotel businesses, including, it seems, De Vere’s interest in Selsdon, and dooming the golf course to closure.
Aprirose’s deal to buy Selsdon Park from De Vere went through in February this year.
The plan appears to be for a south of the river, Birch v2, possibly with those shepherd’s huts lined up where the 18th green once was…
For committed golfers, the loss of the course will be regretted.
Selsdon Park’s hilly, 6,000-yard par 72 course was designed in the 1920s by five-times Open champion JH Taylor. Its position offered players terrific views over the Surrey countryside and northwards to Croydon and London.
With greens well maintained by its small team of green-keepers, the tree-lined fairways provided a stern test of players’ golfing skills, although the fees for a day’s play were relatively modest compared to other private golf clubs.
Rated 4/5 stars by Today’s Golfer magazine readers, Selsdon Park was reckoned to be a “gently undulating golfing paradise”.
Or now, a paradise lost.
According to Manish Gudka, the chief executive at Aprirose, the second Birch will be opening in 2023.
But he didn’t say a word about the golf course.
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