by Paula C. Squires
It’s official. The Riverstone Group LLC of Richmond, a subsidiary of Bill Goodwin’s CCA Industries, has purchased Keswick Hall from Orient-Express Hotels Inc. The deal includes Keswick Club, Keswick Utilities and 39 home sites within the Estates at Keswick Hall, a luxury residential home development near the resort in Albemarle County.
Robert Hardie, a director for Riverstone and chairman of Historic Hotels of Albemarle LLC — the entity that will legally own and run the property — said Tuesday that Riverstone had long admired Keswick, a 48-room, Tuscan style villa that rests on 600 acres just outside of Charlottesville.
“Candidly, we’ve always admired Keswick and thought if the opportunity presented itself that it would be a perfect fit for our portfolio,” Hardie said in an interview with Virginia Business. “Having the Jefferson in Richmond — which isn’t far away — we think there will be unique opportunities for both properties working together. We’ll be able to do cross marketing and provide opportunities for our guests to experience both properties. We’re excited about some of the packages we can offer,” he added.
Besides the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, the Riverstone Group owns and operates three other luxury resorts: Kiawah Island Golf Resort in Kiawah Island, S.C.; The Hermitage Hotel in Nashville, Tenn.; and The Sea Pines Resort in Hilton Head, S.C. Riverstone operates under the umbrella of CCA Industries, a private holding company owned by Bill Goodwin, a well-known Richmond businessman and philanthropist.
Hardie said that Riverstone found out through a contact in the resort industry that Orient-Express Hotels might be interested in selling Keswick. “So we contacted Orient Express. It turned out there was a mutual interest, so we moved forward and came to an agreement.” Hardie would not disclose the purchase price. Orient Express reportedly bought the Keswick properties in 1999 for an estimated $13.5 million. “We’re pleased overall with the transaction, and we think it was a fair deal between two parties,” Hardie said.
According to him, Riverstone has no initial plans for expansion at Keswick. “What we’re going to do is get our arms around the business … We’re excited about this acquisition. Keswick is a wonderful property.”
The resort’s amenities include an Arnold Palmer Signature 18-hole golf course, Fossett’s Restaurant, a wine cellar and on-grounds vineyard, three pools, a fitness and tennis complex and a full-service spa. The resort is currently ranked as the #1 Small Resort in the United States by the readers of Condé Nast Magazine and is a recipient of the AAA Four Diamond award.
Keswick Club is a full-service club with members and guests having full access to the amenities of the resort. The Estates at Keswick is a community of more than 120 homes.
Keswick is located in Virginia hunt country, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, one hour west of Richmond and ninety minutes south of Washington, D.C.
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