Where our Hotel Journey Began
In 1938 Marston Properties bought a row of coastguard cottages on the sea front in Hythe in Kent. The new building initially designed as a block of flats was turned in to an hotel during the build complete with milk bar (the Marston family were tee total at the time).
It was opened in 1939 a short time before it was commandeered for the army and the whole seafront closed to the public during the war. However The Stade Court re-opened as soon as peace was declared.
The Stade Court marked the first hotel development for Marston Properties Ltd.
Image: Stade Court Hotel during construction in 1938
The Imperial Hythe Kent
In 1947 John W Marston bid for the Imperial Hotel that stood in ruins on Hythe promenade after being a gunning post in the second world war. The golf course was a minefield and it took many years to re-establish the hotel especially as materials were rationed for rebuilding new homes rather than hotels .The Imperial became a residential hotel initially only saying farewell to the last resident in the 1980’s.
The Hotel underwent many refurbishments over the years, a swimming pool built, golf course overhauled and all bedrooms made en suite in the 1960’s. The hotel was managed by Marstons from the London HQ until the mid 1980’s when management moved to Hythe. The property stayed in the family until 2006.
Hogarth Hotel SW5
The Hogarth Hotel London SW5 was built by Marstons on a bomb sight purchased by John W Marston after the war.
Opened in 1971 the purpose built 85 room hotel with underground car park for 20 cars made it a convenient destination for anyone using Olympia or Earl’s Court exhibition halls. The Hotel was sold in 2002.
Hotel Strand Continental
Chris Scragg joined the firm in 1982 with the intention of developing the Hotel business and to build up the hotel brand.
Shortly after he joined Marstons purchased a third share in the Trust that owned the Hotel Strand Continental in 1983 with a view to incorporating it in to the Hotel portfolio once the headlease expired in 2009, if not before.
Bridgewood Manor Hotel Maidstone was built in 1989 to provide a hundred bedroom Hotel with conference facilities and health club.
Appointing a local contractor the public areas of the Hotel were fitted out by the Marston joiners shop with reclaimed ecclesiastical fittings including a pulpit, pews and choir stalls.
Complete with 18 hole golf course, Coulsdon Manor was purchased in 1993. An ailing Hotel the business was turned around and further bedrooms added and public areas refurbished.
There followed a further two purchases in quick succession, Centre Court Hotel Basingstoke, a tennis centre and The Oxford Belfry purchased in 1995 and developed and extended to create a Hotel of 130 bedrooms from the original pub with rooms. Extensive conference facilities and swimming pool were added.
Hotel group Marston Hotels finally separated the management and ownership of the buildings away from the parent development company in 2000 and winning AA best Hotel Group of the year in 2003.
After which began a further programme of investment.
Hellidon Lakes Hotel was purchased and redeveloped to enhance the spa health centre and additional bedrooms. With magnificent views over the Northamptonshire and set in 220 acres its own countryside lake and 18 hole golf course.
The 54 room grade 2 listed Lansdowne Grove Hotel Bath was refurbished and business enhanced.
Stratford Manor a 104 bedroom conference hotel that needed some TLC -the hotel was refurbished along with the pool and spa and Stratford Victoria Hotel purchased at the same time.
Crewe Hall once a striking stately home, a grade 1 building a hotel with conference facilities, spa healthclub.
Tankersley Manor near Sheffield built as a 17th century residence then a pub was developed in to a four star hotel with spa and conference facilities.
Aldwark Manor near between Harrogate and York - a 53 room hotel set in it’s own 18 hole golf course close to the River Ure with views of the vale of York also a conference hotel finally.
Cambridge Belfry was developed in 2004 to provide a large conference venue complete with health spa and swimming pool on the edge of a lake Marston Hotels was sold in 2006 leaving one remaining Hotel building at 143 145 Strand.