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The County Hotel Newcastle

Neville Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Tyne & Wear, NE1 5DF Show on Map Add to shortlist
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First look at The County Hotel refurbishment in Newcastle by Gainford Group
06/07/2017

Rapidly-growing Gainford Group has unveiled plans for further expansion including development of a fourth Newcastle city centre hotel as it drives ahead with an £8m investment at its latest acquisition, The County Hotel.

The Chester-le-Street group will soon reveal the results of a far-reaching refurbishment project at The County Hotel, the landmark hotel opposite Central Station it acquired at the end of last year in a £12m deal.

Rapidly-growing Gainford Group has unveiled plans for further expansion including development of a fourth Newcastle city centre hotel as it drives ahead with an £8m investment at its latest acquisition, The County Hotel.

The Chester-le-Street group will soon reveal the results of a far-reaching refurbishment project at The County Hotel, the landmark hotel opposite Central Station it acquired at the end of last year in a £12m deal.


It marks the newest project for the firm, headquartered in Chester-le-Street, which already operates 13 North East care homes and a host of leisure venues including the Vermont Hotel, Vermont Aparthotel and late-night venues Aveika and Bar Livello.

The multimillion-pound project has seen the firm restore the building inside and out, starting with repointing of brick work and roof replacement work at the rear of the hotel.

Inside, the firm is creating The Hudson, a new cocktail bar and all-day eatery to replace the old Rendezvous bar, new high-end suites and three new function suites.

A month after outlining details of their plans for the hotel, the family firm has completed worked on two of the three function suites, and told how it is continuing on its buy-to-build strategy.

Work has been carried out to strip back ceilings and partitions to reveal original features which had been hidden for years, while ceilings and covings have been brought back to their former glory.

The three new suites are The County suite, which has been designed for wedding and other ceremonies, The Mozart suite, created for conferences and parties and The Strauss suite, where work will start soon to create a private dining area for up to 20 people with a private chef.

Meanwhile, the cocktail bar and restaurant The Hudson, which will have a varied menu by executive chef Lee Hardy and feature live music in the evening, is set to open to the public in August.

Behind the scenes the firm said it is also eyeing up acquisition opportunities around the UK, while also working on plans to create three new care homes in the region, set to create scores of jobs. It also plans to start work on iconverting Grainger House on Westgate Road into a 70-bed hotel next year, which it plans to aim at the mid-range market.

A director told how the firm is currently looking out for expansion opportunities, within both its care and leisure divisions.

He said: “We are looking all over the country at the moment and we are looking across the board. Earlier this year we extended our nursery business with a new opening in Birtley, so we are looking at all options.

“Within care, we have got a land bank across the North East in a variety of locations and we are looking to build new care homes to add to our existing portfolio. The land is bought, it’s just a case of getting on and developing.

“At the moment we’re focusing on The County Hotel. We had our first wedding fair recently and have had bookings already – and when we first acquired the hotel we had none.

“The new suites have amazing spaces for weddings and other events, overlooking the central station area.”

Nick Elder, regional director at Santander, said Gainford Group has been a long term customer of Santander in the North East, having been involved since the firm was solely focused on the care industry.

He said: “We initially funded the 2012 purchase of the Vermont Hotel. What’s important to remember in that is that the financial climate at the time was extremely challenging, both in the lesiure sector but equally in the financial sector, but on the base of the success of Gainford’s business and the strength of our relationship we supported them in that acquistion, of a landmark hotel in Newcastle which had fallen on hard times and was in administration.

“In really short order, Gainford Group had put in their own management team, heavily investing in the asset and they did an excellent job. On that base of that we have continued to support the firm in the identification of other leisure assets, right across the UK.

“I came to the hotel before the acquisition and walking in now, I can see the Gainford Group touch.

“We are obviously delighted to continue to support what is a really significant growth business in the North East and a major employer in its continued acquisitions.

“This will be as successful as all of the previous acquisitions and we are keen to support Gainford in doing more of the same.”
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