Hotel begins rise from the ashes

Mike Chowla, director of Sunderland Hotels Limited, at the Quality Hotel, Boldon, which was destroyed by fire in November 2010.  It is expected to be rebuilt and reopened this year.

Mike Chowla, director of Sunderland Hotels Limited, at the Quality Hotel, Boldon, which was destroyed by fire in November 2010. It is expected to be rebuilt and reopened this year.

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IT’S the sight Quality Hotel owner Mike Chawla has been waiting months to witness.

The Sunderland Hotels Limited director was left devastated when the venue, at Whitney Way, Boldon Colliery, was ravaged by fire.

But now the clear-up has begun.

November’s blaze saw Christmas parties, business conferences and wedding plans of customers left in tatters.

More than 40 firefighters spent three hours tackling the fire, which tore through the single-storey health spa, reception and function room.

About 20 guests as well as staff fled the scene as the fire spread.

However, most of the accommodation block, which houses 82 rooms, remained unscathed.

An investigation by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service found the blaze started in a sauna room.

Now, Mr Chawla says he is optimistic of the future as work gets underway on clearing the wreckage.

He said: “It will take about two or three weeks for them to clear what is left.

“They are taking away the damaged part of the hotel and hopefully they will then begin to start construction work around April.”

Mr Chawla and his associates worked hard in the aftermath to try to get the events booked by customers rearranged to other locations.

But now he says he is confident that the Quality Hotel will be up and running by the time the festive period comes around.

“I hope we will be due for reopening in December,” he added.

“I have been told by my project manager that it will be December 2 and that’s really what we are hoping and aiming for.”

Mr Chawla also added that he would like to re-employ as many of the staff as possible who had to move on in the wake of the incident.

“Some of them are working in other locations and I very much hope that they will come and work with us once again here when we re-open,” he said.