The splendid Regency building that houses the George Hotel dates back to c.1840 and was originally five town houses.
Western Daily Press, Wednesday 3rd September 1980: Businessmen buy hotel – Three Gloucestershire businessmen have bought one of Cheltenham’s largest hotels, the George, with 47 bedrooms, from the giant Trust Houses Forte group for some £500,000. If all goes well, thy hope to buy one or two more hotels in Cheltenham in the next two years, said manager Mr Frank Granger, who is one of the consortium. Their first move has been to cut bed and breakfast charges by some £2.
Jeremy and Alison Shaw, along with Mr Shaw’s parents, bought the 38-bedroom Regency Hotel for £1.35 million in September 1999. It was previously owned by hotelier David Wild. The George was the first hotel that Jeremy & Alison bought, both having previous experience at the prestigious Sheraton Tower Hotel in Knightsbridge. London. Between them they had 30 years’ experience in the hospitality sector.
Within a few months they had boosted trade at the George Hotel. It was awarded an AA and RAC three-star grading and was enjoying a healthy increase in its accommodation and conference trade. Jeremy Shaw said: “We believe the George Hotel now serves the best traditional Sunday lunch in the area. We offer an excellent three-course menu plus coffee, all for £11.95. Our home-made puddings are unbeatable.” His enthusiasm was echoed by his wife Alison, who said: “We are already seeing a big increase in the use of our restaurant. This is becoming the natural place for families to celebrate special occasions. We are also delighted that people are now choosing our hotel as a venue to hold smaller wedding receptions.”
In September 2002 their floral display at the George won first prize in the Cheltenham in Bloom large hotel category.
In September 2003 a brasserie was opened downstairs in the hotel dining room. The transformation into Monty’s Brasserie replaced the old-style décor to a more contemporary design fitted out with wood flooring with neutral shades mixed with warm hues, easy sofas and chairs, black and white pictures and soft, modern lighting. A ‘Going Out’ review in the Gloucestershire Echo (27th August 2004) commented that ‘the whole experience is a treat and prices are competitive. A main course and dessert for two, plus a glass of wine each and coffee came to about £50.’
Another review in April 2006 was less enthusiastic, the visit was on a Sunday and the comment was made ‘that there were just a handful of couples there.’ Although the food was well received the reviewer felt underwhelmed by the experience, commenting: “Maybe Monty’s is a victim of its own success and I was expecting too much or maybe the Monty’s experience is best sampled on a busy Friday or Saturday night.” The main course chosen was Aberdeen fillet steak, pont neuf potatoes, wild mushrooms with foie grass butter. The reviewer called it an ‘accomplished dish’ and remarked that pont neuf potatoes were, in fact, chunky chips.
In 2015 Jeremy and Alison Shaw put the 3-star Grade II* listed George Hotel on the market with a guide price of £4 million. It was bought by Cotswold Inns and Hotels in February 2016 and was their ninth acquisition. It was described as an original Georgian property with 30 bedrooms, allowing it to accommodate more than 60 guests, as well as being home to an award-winning brasserie, two private rooms and a cocktail bar. Michael Horton, founder and chairman of Cotswolds Inns & Hotels, said: “The George Hotel is a beautiful property right in the centre of Cheltenham and adding it to our portfolio of hotels enables us to diversify from rural locations and gives us an additional revenue stream which support our plans for future growth.”
Less than two years later in November 2017 the George Hotel was back on the market for £3.6 million. It was being sold through Christie & Co, who indicated that they expected it would create a lot of interest and could be bought by someone who wants the building for something other than hotel use. A spokesman for Christie’s said: “The opportunity provides an array of possibilities to maximise gross profits by re-configuring and creating more bedrooms, continue operating as a full- service hotel or perhaps an alternative use.” It was still on the market in March 2018 with a reduced price of £3.2 million, a reduction of £350,000.
The George Hotel closed in July 2018. The new owner was revealed as Julian Dunkerton, the founder of the international clothing brand Superdry. The acquisition was another licensed property in his ‘Lucky Onion’ portfolio of hotels which included the Wheatsheaf in Northleach, the Wild Duck at Ewen, the Tavern (ex Royal Well Tavern) in Cheltenham, together with his more recent prestigious conversions in Cheltenham at 38 The Park and 131 The Promenade. A spokesman for the Lucky Onion group told the Gloucestershire Echo that the ‘George is going through an exciting refurbishment.’