Grayshott Spa, an icon of the UK wellness industry, has succumbed to the pandemic, announcing it is to close permanently, 55 years after opening as a health retreat.
Sheila McCann, who heads the Grayshott team, has attributed the failure to the UK's second lockdown, saying "The impact of the global COVID-19 outbreak and a second lockdown further restricting travel means that, unfortunately, the business can no longer be considered viable.
"Our shareholders are reviewing and weighing options going forward, however, steps are being taken to cease trading," said McCann, "The future of trade is currently looking uncertain and despite returning guest loyalty, closure has become inevitable."
Grayshott Spa was acquired
by the Lanserhof Group and London & Regional Properties in 2017 in a 50:50 partnership deal as part of Lanserhof's global expansion plans.
At the time, Lanserhof MD, Dr Christian Harisch, said: "Lanserhof is very happy to have found the ideal partner with London & Regional Properties."
The family-run Lanserhof Group, which owns spas in Austria and Germany has undertaken a programme of refurbishment at Grayshott and focused on the spa’s medical wellness offering, bringing McCann
back into the business from Chiva-Som, where she had been general manager for five years.
She had spent seven years at Grayshott earlier in her career.
Lanserhof also recently opened a medical spa and wellness outpost in London at the Arts Club
and is underway with a new project in Germany in the form of the €100m Lanserhof Sylt
. It's understood that these will not be impacted by the closure of Grayshott.
McCann has indicated that deposits and gift vouchers and certificates will be refunded, although the exact mechanism which will be used to wind up the business is not yet known.
Grayshott Spa is a prime asset in a prestigious location and it's likely the owners will be looking to sell the building, which has 59 guest rooms and 39 treatment rooms.
Spa Business editorial director, Liz Terry, said: "The UK government was wrong to close spas during second lockdown and the decision is having a devastating effect on both the UK spa and wellness industry and UK plc, with the loss of good jobs and hard-won, solid investments.
"Before second lockdown, spas had proven they could operate safely as COVID-secure environments, so people were safer in a spa than almost anywhere else.
"This means there was no scientific basis for the decision to close spas and we understand operators may have a legal case for damages against the UK government for loss of trading.
"It will be interesting to see if any decide to exercise their right to take this action to recover losses."
In a message to guests, McCann said: "We hope all of our guests and followers continue to stay positive and be proactive with their health and wellbeing.
"We're proud of the work we've done and knowledge we've shared on the path towards improving the health and wellbeing of our guests. We thank you sincerely for your trust, confidence and loyal patronage over the decades.
"The Grayshott team were always inspired by the knowledge that we helped so many and that Grayshott became a special place for our loyal guests, so we hope that all our guests are left with fond memories and the knowledge they need maintain good health and wellbeing through life."