Guinness sells health spa business

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The Independent Online
GUINNESS has sold Champneys, the luxury health spa, to a consortium led by the husband and wife team of Allan and Tanya Wheway, former directors of the business, writes John Shepherd.

The price of the deal, immaterial to Guinness's assets, is not being disclosed. Guinness originally bought Champneys in 1984.

The Wheways ran the business from 1972 to 1989, before leaving to set up a health and leisure consultancy.

Since 1989, they have been involved with design and management contracts, operating health resorts and clubs in Turkey, Portugal, India and Thailand.

All bar five of the 250 staff employed at Champneys, located at Tring in Hertfordshire, are transferring with the business.

The spa hosts a range of sporting and fitness services such as beauty and health consultancies. It is run along the lines of a hotel, rather than a membership-based club.

The price of a room at Champneys starts at pounds 150 per night. That rate includes a heat treatment and massage, all meals and full use of facilities and participation in the activity and exercise programme. Charges can rise to pounds 500 per night for a suite.

In addition to the deal, the Champneys Club at the Hotel Meridien in Piccadilly, London, and the spa at the Guinness- owned Gleneagles hotel in Perthshire will continue to be managed by Champneys.

Colin George, managing director of Guinness Enterprises, said the Champneys disposal reflected the company's policy of concentrating on spirits and brewing operations.

He added: 'Guinness has felt that the future of Champneys could be better served through an association with a group specifically committed to the health and fitness industry.

'Accordingly we have been considering offers for Champneys from a number of companies already in the health and leisure sectors.'

The two remaining businesses within Guinness Enterprises - the Gleneagles hotel itself and Guinness Publishing - are being retained.