A former general manager at Hotel du Vin has acquired the Balmoral hotel in Harrogate with a view to it being the first in a collection of town house hotels.
Nick Lawson (pictured), who ran Hotel du Vin in Harrogate for five years, has purchased the four-star, 23-bedroom Balmoral, with "significant" backing from a private investor, for an undisclosed sum from the HRH Group.
He hopes the Balmoral will be the first in a group of town house hotels under the Bonne Nuit brand. "We are looking at properties, with 25 to 40 bedrooms, in cathedral cities and provincial towns such as York and Chester," he said.
Lawson's immediate priority is to transform all the bedrooms at the Balmoral, replacing their current "dark and gothic" look with a more contemporary, classic town house design. There are also plans to recreate the food and beverage offering at the hotel after its restaurant closed two years ago.
"We intend to open a gastropub as we believe the demand from locals and hotel residents is for something more informal than a destination restaurant," said Lawson, who worked for Malmaison in Birmingham and London before joining Hotel du Vin.
The Balmoral, originally three town houses dating back to 1841, was converted into a hotel in the 1970s by a former chef to the royal family.
"The hotel is a great property with fantastic potential as a destination venue in Harrogate," said Lawson, who is mentored by Robert Cook, former chief executive of Hotel du Vin and Malmaison. "Over the years it has seen significant investment and with some TLC and fresh thinking , it is going to become a very special place to eat, drink, socialise and stay."
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