Colletts Mountain Holidays was poised for its best year ever in January 2020.
Tentacles reaching out over Europe in search of new walking itineraries, ski chalets full for another winter season in the Italian Dolomites, the culmination of 20 years’ experience in delivering remarkable and memorable holidays, they suddenly found themselves rapidly going into forced hibernation.
Covid 19 wreaked havoc across their two main areas of expertise – tourism and hospitality - for a full 18 months forcing a major rethink and replanning for their very survival.
On 28 May 2021, Colletts Ltd sold the freehold of Eastfield Lodge to Hilton Properties Ltd, a Bishops Stortford based company, offering a malleable arrangement and future investment. This action was necessary to give Colletts Ltd resources to shore up its core business of European Walking Holidays and the newly introduced UK itineraries.
Whilst this reads like a significant change, in reality, nothing has. As part of the deal, Henry Collett and Penny Knight, previously managing the property on behalf of Colletts formed their own business partnership and signed a lease with Hilton Properties. This ensured a seamless continuity of business, albeit still dealing with the hurdles Covid was laying in front of them.
Hilton Properties have been willing and active investors during 2021. Firstly, they extended the lounge to accommodate the larger numbers frequently in residence and secondly, undertook a complete renovation of the Coach House, incorporating a brand new self-catering flat at ground floor level, new floors, walls and double glazed windows throughout, an eco-friendly heating system, camera and electric charging points. Hiltons are continuing their investment in 2022 with the much needed refurbishment of the Den Apartment to include updating the electrics, TV, Wifi, lighting, a new kitchen and bathroom and the removal of an old unused chimney breast. There are also plans in place to convert the old office/map room in the Lodge into a Snug Bar and to upgrade all the bedrooms.
While Covid might have brought the business to an end, it’s nice to think that Walking Breaks, family gatherings, birthday and anniversary celebrations and all types of reunions that our guests so love and enjoy will continue to make happy memories at Eastfield Lodge. In addition to this, it is positive to note Eastfield Lodge has, in the last 12 months, provided security to Colletts, a good investment to Hilton Properties Ltd and a home and business opportunity for Henry and Penny.