Marquis-at-AlkhamGSE Group, owner of the Hythe Imperial, has completed the purchase of the five star Marquis at Alkham, between Dover and Folkestone.

The 200-year-old former village inn was converted into a luxury boutique hotel and a fine dining restaurant following a £1.5 million renovation in 2008.

The restaurant holds two AA rosettes and has been listed in the Michelin Guide.

“The acquisition of The Marquis extends our portfolio of local businesses across a range of sectors,” said Darrell Healey, Chairman of Ashford-based GSE Group, which has civil engineering and plant divisions and also owns Ashford International Truckstop.

“We are proud of what we have achieved with our recently completed four-year refurbishment of the Hythe Imperial, and believe the knowledge and expertise of the hotel and restaurant markets we have gained there makes the purchase of an established, high quality and fine dining venue such as The Marquis a natural progression for the business.”

The refurbishment and upgrading of the Hythe Imperial has seen its Coast restaurant gain an AA rosette, while its most recent AA inspection saw an improved rating of 82%, 2 up from last year’s report and close to the top of the band for four star hotels, which goes up to 84%.

The Marquis will sit alongside the Hythe Imperial within GSE Group. Operations at both will be overseen by Executive Director Nick Gauntlett, who said: “This is an exciting purchase for the group. The Marquis has an exceptional reputation and while it has a different character to the Hythe Imperial, we believe the two complement each other perfectly.

“There will be no major changes to The Marquis. It is very much business as usual and we will maintain the very high standards of service and quality its customers have come to expect.”

Tony Marsden, out-going owner of The Marquis, said: “It is time for me to move on to new projects and challenges, but having invested so much time and effort in building the business up, I wanted to make sure I was leaving it in the right hands.

“Having seen the exceptional job GSE Group has made of restoring the Hythe Imperial and the level of service and attention to detail on display at the hotel, I have no doubt that the team will treat The Marquis with the same love and care.”


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