The owner of the four-star Seaham Hall hotel in County Durham has vowed to bounce back after his multimillion pound spa, due to open this year, went up in flames.
The blaze broke out in the Oriental Spa, which is being built alongside the 19-bedroom hotel, in Seaham, on Thursday last week (25 April). It took more than 20 firefighters two hours to bring it under control.
Tom Maxfield, the hotel's owner, said he still wanted to open the £3.6m development in November as planned. He said: "There is extensive damage to the whole structure and it looks as though the roof will have to be replaced. Obviously it's a shock but it doesn't alter my resolve to make the project a success."
Forensic experts are still examining the scene to try to discover the cause of the fire, which broke out at around 6am.
Maxfield has not ruled out arson. He said: "There was nobody at the site and there was no reason why a spontaneous fire should have started."
Seaham Hall is one of the North-east's most historic buildings and is famous as a retreat of Lord Byron. Maxfield bought the building, a former nursing home, in 1997 and spent more than £20m on it.
Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 2-8 May 2002