Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting DST to 80360 or email us
Hotel prepares for grand reopening
10:44am Friday 14th September 2012 in News
BACK ON TOP: Sales manager James Grant, front office manager Tanya Berry, operations manager Rob Bramwell and General manager Dale Needham, get ready for the reopening of the King's hotel by handing out Christmas brochures
CHRISTMAS came early in a North-East hotel as staff celebrated the upcoming relaunch of the venue ravaged by one of the biggest fires in the town’s history.
It took 60 firefighters nearly six hours to control the inferno at The King’s Hotel, Darlington, in August 2008, and since then the landmark building has been operating at a reduced capacity.
That will change on October 4 when it officially reopens as a four star 83-room Mercure hotel following a multimillion pound refurbishment.
General manager Dale Needham dressed as Santa yesterday to hand out the hotel’s Christmas brochure.
The hotel expects to recruit up to 35 extra staff in the coming months.
Hotel sales manager James Grant said: “We have still got about half a dozen staff who were here in 2008 and it is very exciting for them seeing all the changes going on.
“Most of the original staff were let go, but, by the time Christmas comes we will have about 40 staff and due to the nature of the hospitality trade – late nights and shift work – we expect all those jobs to go to local people.”
Receptionist Jeanette Greenhow, one of the original staff members, described the scene at the hotel after the fire.
“The ballroom was like something from Titanic with the mirrors all tilted and things damaged,” she said. “It was a big wrench and it put so many people out of work.
“But there is a brighter future, it is like a brand new building.”
In the next month, the hotel also expects to get a licence to conduct civil partnership ceremonies.