A bit of Paris Chic in Teesside - Hilton Smythe

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A bit of Paris Chic in Teesside

Spa Hotel Darlington finds Chic new owner thanks to Hilton Smythe

Michelle Lyndon-Dykes is best known as a prolific lifestyle blogger, with her website Barefaced Chic. Since November 2014, the qualified business consultant and award-nominated blogger, has been sharing quirky fashion, beauty and travel advice with her online audience, aimed primarily at women over 40.

Michelle is no stranger to business, as, on top of her lifestyle blog, she is also the Director of horse saddle company Saddleworld Direct, was a blogger and editor for A Very Curious Wedding, produced wedding favours with her company Sweet Nothings, and was a highly successful business consultant.

After a life-changing event, she and her husband Andrew decided to re-evaluate their work situation, and to invest in a number of businesses across the UK.

Andrew Lyndon-Dykes said: “I was involved in an accident which left me with a broken neck and back. It meant I couldn’t work, and ultimately led to me losing the job I was in at the time. Michelle and I talked, and we realised that I was the happiest I’ve been, which is strange to say when you have such severe injuries. We realised something needed to change.”

Michelle and Andrew decided, as part of their business investments, to look at the hospitality sector. The idea came after talking to someone looking for investment in their restaurant. The couple have tried to use their investment capital to support particularly younger people who are struggling to get support for their business ideas. As well as investing in a restaurant, they decided to look into hotels of their own.

They decided to buy Durham Tees Hotel, situated near Tees Valley Airport. The hotel is well known in the region, as it has a large model Spitfire on the roof, making it memorable and eye-catching.

Michelle Lyndon-Dykes said: “We’ve invested in lots of different industries, but buying a hotel seemed like an obvious choice. Andrew and I have had more than 5,500 hotel stays in our lives, so we know what works and what doesn’t. We have lots of great ideas that we can bring to the hotel.”

Michelle added: “It’s not the prettiest hotel in the world at the moment, but as someone who specialises in fashion and beauty, I’m up to the challenge of giving it a well-deserved make over. By the time I’m finished with it, people are going to think they’re in Paris not Teesside!”

Andrew said: “Planes are something I know a lot about, so I was thrilled to be able to talk to the people who work at the local airfield to find out what sort of facilities they wanted close by, after we’d talked about flying, of course! I realised that Michelle and I were just the people to provide those services, and Durham Tees Hotel was just the place to do it. We had to go for it.”

The Lyndon-Dykes found Durham Tees Hotel on Hilton Smythe’s website, and worked with Liam Miccoli on the Sales Progression Team to arrange the sale.

Andrew said: “We can’t praise Hilton Smythe enough for the work they did on the sale. The sales progression was incredibly smooth, and we were kept informed the whole time. I even called up to speak to Liam’s manager to tell her how good I thought he was. He really went above and beyond for us. We are so happy with how it went.”

Michelle said: “We would certainly buy a business through Hilton Smythe again. They took all the hassle out of buying the hotel, which is so valuable when you have a number of businesses to look after. The experience of working with Liam and the team was overwhelmingly positive.

“As someone who has worked as a business consultant, it’s great to work with a firm which is doing exactly what it promises to get the best result for its customers. I can’t wait to focus on my other passion, lifestyle, to make over this lovely hotel as part of our new business adventure.”

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