The media are circulating the remains of the fallen empire of tycoon Andrew Davis and his von Essen Hotels. His hotel portfolio fell into liquidation in April 2011, but as further details emerge questions are asked on how many people, including Britain’s biggest Restaurant critic Michael Winner were taken in by the hype.
In an article by Stephen Robinson for The London Evening Standard on 31 May 2011, he writes how the rise of Andrew Davis involved..’his own chutzpah, aggressive public relations, gullible media cheerleaders and stupid bankers’. Brought into the mire is Michael Winner, one of Andrew Davis’s and von Essen’s greatest supporters who used his Sunday Times Winners Dinners Column to regular write rapturous reviews on von Essen hotel restaurants between 2008 and 2011 and even voted them as the best UK Hotel Group in November 2009. The group were also the main sponsor of the Sunday Times Rich List in 2009 and 2010.
At odds with media hype were the rapidly declining fortunes of the von Essen hotels with many unable to afford basic running repairs. Design Restaurants had been informed that one illustrious and former Michelin rated property had allegedly been unable to offer a tasting menu due to lack of crockery sets. Quality suppliers either deserted von Essen or put up with grossly unfair payment terms.
London Evening Standard – 31 May, 2011
The Sunday Times – 27 December, 2009