Bespoke Hotel Group, the boutique hotel operator, has signed a management contract for six new properties, previously part of the Merchant Inns portfolio, writes Chris Druce. The company, founded in 2000 by Robin Sheppard and Haydn Fentum, has added The Talbot Inn, Surrey; The Carnarvon Arms, Newbury; The Lambert Arms, Oxfordshire; The Horse & Groom Inn, Wiltshire; The Black Boy Inn, Oxon; and The Saracens Head, Essex, to its 24-strong portfolio. Bespoke, which opened the New Ellington in July in Leeds, said it had seen strong interest from individual hotel owners and financial institutions for its management skills in the first six months of the year. Properties managed by Bespoke include the Bermondsey Square Hotel and Ten Manchester Street in London, as well as the Cornwall Hotel & Spa Estate. Robin Sheppard, Bespoke’s managing director, said: “The six properties are perfectly positioned to apply the Bespoke Hotel blend of strong internal systems coupled with our philosophy that every hotel benefits from a little individuality and a little bit of tailoring to bring out its true heart and soul.” Merchant Inns was placed into administration last October, and a recent report by administrators Baker Tilly found only half of the properties were profitable at a site level.