Country houses for sale

£9m hotel sold for charity

Doxford Hall Hotel & Spa, Chathill, Alnwick, Northumberland, has been put on the market by the philanthropist, Brian Burnie, for £9 million.

Mr Burnie, a Newcastle-born, self-made millionaire, is selling his luxury spa hotel and estate and will put the proceeds towards the fight against cancer.

The Grade II listed property, built in 1818, opened for business in January 2009 following its extensive renovation by local craftsmen including John Dobson, who designed the Grand Central Station in Newcastle. It has 25 bedrooms, each named after a Northumberland castle, a 60 cover restaurant, spa, pool and function room.  The grounds extend to approximately 8.9 acres and include formal gardens, a yew maze planted in 2000 by more than 1000 local school children.  Within the grounds there are a number of outbuildings including the Lodge and Head Gardener’s House, both of which have three bedrooms, a sitting room, kitchen-dining room and bathroom, and the Coach House which is currently used for storage.

Mr Burnie, who started work aged 15 as a grocery delivery boy and built up a multi-million pound recruitment business, wants to use the money from the sale to establish and fund a Marie Curie/ Macmillan cancer nurse for Northumberland and a set of bespoke vehicles to take cancer patients to and from the surrounding hospitals.

‘Our masterplan was always to fund a cancer nurse for North Northumberland, I have just decided it would be an ideal opportunity to put everything on the market and realise the cash,’ he explains. ‘The biggest thing with most people is money but with me it is not. I want to give it up and do something more for others. I have been at Doxford since 1993 and I am ready now to find somewhere smaller to live, somewhere modern and easy to look after.’

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Doxford Hall hotel
Doxford Hall: £9m


Leigh Parsons from sales agents Knight Frank (0113 297 2430) says: ‘Knight Frank are absolutely delighted to be able to play a role in helping Brian achieve his dream of improving the lot of cancer sufferers in Northumberland. We are anticipating a huge amount of interest in Doxford Hall not only because of the unusual reason for the sale but the fact that it represents a rare opportunity for an investor or operator to purchase a fantastic business in a wonderful location which has been designed and created to the highest standards. Even though it only opened for business earlier this year, it is already comfortably exceeding its business projections and with the Spa just opening it is destined to become one of the top hotels in the region.’

Mr and Mrs Burnie have built up an extraordinary reputation for philanthropy over the last 40 years, giving thousands of pounds to charities for cancer sufferers and inviting hundreds of war veterans to their home for meals and Christmas celebrations.

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