Darlington Holiday Inn North opened its doors on the 28th February this year after an extensive rebranding process.
Previously the site was one of three Aston Hotels, owned by property investors, Dominvs Group, with its sister hotels located in Dumfries and Sheffield.
Premier Hospitality caught up with Dylan Burke, Communications Manager at Dominvs Group, to find out more about the Darlington site. He said:
“We bought the three sites in Sheffield, Dumfries and Darlington in February 2013 and all were branded as Aston Hotels. At the end of 2013 we decided to look at rebranding the hotels as we felt that a stronger more credible brand would attract more business. Basically we believe a branded asset is a stronger asset.
“We have therefore began to rebrand these three hotels and the Darlington site was the first to cross the line. Both the Darlington and Dumfries sites are to be converted to Holiday Inns as is another site we have in Manchester. The Sheffield site which is currently an Aston Hotel will become a Mercure Sheffield Parkway in July of 2014.”
Dylan said that previously in the Aston Hotel Darlington customers were not making use of the restaurant and bar area at the hotel, since converting the site to a Holiday Inn and making the space more appealing those numbers have shot up dramatically, and the team are also seeing a lot of external clientele coming into the site. This is especially encouraged by the decision to install Starbucks, a decision the clientele love and vehemently support.
Refurbishment works began in September 2013 and involved the complete strip out of the common parts of the hotel. Main contractors Fileturn and RSD Interiors worked together to pull up the sites carpets, remove all furniture and break down some walls in order to rebuild the lounge and restaurant area .
The 70 cover restaurant has now been installed with new seating, booths, lighting, eye catching focal wall features and new serving areas. The reception area has been reconfigured and new signage has been erected throughout the hotel. New conference rooms have also been added and the hotels PMS system has been altered.
The 80 bedroomed venue comprises three storeys; the Ground, First and Second Floor. One of the venues main features is the open lobby; on the right hand side of the space there is the reception and on the left hand side the team have completely stripped out and opened up the area.
The lobby now contains an array of couches and seating, striking imagery, TVs, bookcases and business points which make the area very engaging. The hotel is now fresh and lively which is reflected in its colour scheme of browns, greens, yellows and reds.
The team decided to install a Go Cafe which is open 24-7, allowing guests to purchase necessities regardless of the time.
Dominvs have an impressive portfolio and are currently working on a variety of other sites which are either vacant, buildings which they have bought and demolished or are rebuilding. These sites are located across Manchester, Aberdeen and London; however not all of these sites fall under the Holiday Inn brand.
With regards to the Darlington site Dylan added:
“We are ecstatic with the results of converting our Aston Hotel in Darlington to a Holiday Inn Open Lobby. It has been a remarkable change and we have found the perfect match. The feedback has been incredible so far; the clientele love it and also from a performance point of view it is doing phenomenally well.
“We are getting more business and people are not just coming to stay with us but are also eating with us and having a Starbucks. We are also becoming a destination site which is exactly what we wanted the hotel and its offerings to achieve.”