MANAGERS of a five-star hotel have said they are overseeing a “new dawn” as they look to restore its reputation and renew its luxury status.
Seaham Hall’s position as a premier venue diminished in the wake of complaints from customers.
Weddings were cancelled and staff were dismissed without notice after previous owners von Essen went into administration, and it was bought by Seasons Holidays in April last year at a knock-down price.
Now, its new bosses have told how they aim to rebuild the business.
General manager Ross Grieve is working with chef Martin Blunos, a previous holder of two Michelin Stars, on the plans.
They will see £2million-worth of investment this year, with up to £500,000 more to be pumped into it after that.
“This is a new dawn,” said Ross. “This hotel was a broken machine and needed work.
“It was dirty and had a poor reputation and was living on its past glory.
“We both, over the last four months, and at this stage, are putting down solid foundations and are starting building the business back up again, putting it back in the public domain, first in the North East, then the rest of the UK.”
The main bar has been renamed the Byron Bar as part of the refit, and the restaurant, formerly The White Room, is now the Blunos Sea Grill.
Staff numbers will rise from 97 to up to 140 and it is offering new wedding packages, with the Ozone restaurant now under Martin’s guidance and serving Eastern-influenced food.
Martin said: “Twelve years ago, it was the place. Four months ago, it was a toilet when you look back to that 12-year period.
“It couldn’t get any lower. It was in receivership, the staff were falling short, it was being ripped off and the grounds were run down.
“Now it seems we’re on the up and we’re part of that. It’s quite exciting.”
The business has forged links with Sunderland and Newcastle United football clubs and renewed its connection with Visit County Durham.