A HOTEL has risen from the ashes.
Staff and guests fled to safety when fire ripped through the Quality Hotel, in Witney Way, Boldon Business Park, in November 2010.
A total of 35 firefighters from across the area spent three hours tackling the blaze, which started when a towel was left on a sauna heater.
But despite the severity of the blaze, only one person was taken to hospital, suffering from relatively minor injuries.
The hotel has now finally reopened after a £3.5million makeover.
The Echo was this week given an exclusive tour of the new-look hotel.
Hotel director Tina Chawla admitted the rebuilding programme had been a “long process,” but said the end result was a state-of-the-art, 82-bed leisure facility.
She said: “It’s been a very tough two years and it has taken much longer than we expected, and we also had some bad winter weather on top of that, but we’re finally fully open for business, after running a motel service from August of 2011.
“The scheme has included features to bring the building up to the latest fire regulations.
“Our rooms have been refurbished, we have a larger function room, plus a new 15 metre by eight metre pool in our revamped fitness suite.”
Although redundancies were made at the Quality Hotel after the blaze, some staff were transferred to the company’s George Washington Hotel.
Mrs Chawla added: “We have very loyal staff at the Quality Hotel, and many of the current 20-strong workforce were with us when we had the fire.”
Durham-based Meldrum Construction Services have carried out work on the Boldon hotel, which has taken more than a year to complete.
It is hoped the hotel redevelopment could create jobs as the Quality Hotel gets back on its feet.
Newly-appointed hotel general manager Paolo Franchi said staff were looking forward to welcoming old and new guests over the festive period.
The Quality Hotel will stage its first event since reopening when a wedding fair is held this Sunday, between noon and 3.30pm.