A leisure group has revealed plans to invest a “significant” sum in revamping one of its newly-acquired hotels.
Tavistock Hospitality has recently added the Roker Hotel in Sunderland and Grand Hotel in Hartlepool to its portfolio, which both operate under the Best Western brand along with two restaurants, in South Shields and Birtley taking the total number of venues in its portfolio to ten.
The business now plans to invest heavily in the Roker Hotel, refurbishing it completely to become a high-end boutique venue. As the first step in the revamp of the hotel, a cakery and tea room – Let There Be Crumbs - has been opened for visitors to Sunderland’s sea front.
As revealed in Journal Business, Tavistock Hospitality is also planning to increase its number of ‘brew tap’ venues from three to 12 over the next year.
Mark Hird, managing director of Tavistock Hospitality, is looking at several new potential sites, in addition to the three it currently operates in Coxhoe – which adjoins the brewery – Hebburn and Chester-le-Street.
The hotels and restaurants – which are both Tavistock Italia venues – have been purchased from Durham Estates, a property business owned by Russell Foster, who is also Mark’s father-in-law. The deal was overseen by Newcastle law firm Sintons.
Durham Estates has supported the expansion of Tavistock Hospitality through buying the freeholds of many of its sites for subsequent development, including several that have since been sold.
Mark Hird, who runs the business with wife Nicola, said he plans to take Tavistock Hospitality ‘back to basics’ with its next few moves, with a focus on quality and investing in excellence.
He said: “We have some really big plans for the next few months – I plan to put my own personal stamp on the Roker Hotel, by fully refurbishing it and taking it from what it is at the moment to become a much more high-end boutique hotel.
“I also want to roll out our brew tap venues from three to 12. Since opening 18 months ago, Sonnet 43 has done brilliantly, and it’s something that has really been embraced. Our brew tap venues have been very popular and we want to bring them to more locations across the North East in the very near future.
“When we established Tavistock Hospitality with our first venue, 11 Tavistock Place in Sunderland, we planned that every one of our venues would be of the highest standards. With the recession, we have had to scale back slightly and be more mindful of our pricing and costs, but now we are able to return to the traditional values we started with. These are exciting times for the business.”
Sintons partner Matt Collen and consultant Alan Harkness, together with solicitors Sue Hennessey and Emma Pern, handled all of the legal work on the transaction. Alan Harkness, who has acted for Tavistock Hospitality for a number of years, said: “Tavistock Hospitality has built up a well-deserved reputation as one of the North-East’s leading leisure operators, and these latest acquisitions will strengthen that further.
“The Sonnet 43 brewery has become a success story in its own right, and the expansion of its brew tap venues will help to broaden its reach and reputation across the North East and beyond.”