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Minute on the Clock – Vince Johnson

12 August 2011 by
Minute on the Clock – Vince Johnson

Vince Johnson, general manager of the Majestic hotel in Harrogate, is celebrating the reopening of the four-star, 167-bedroom property, operated by Barceló Hotels & Resorts, following a severe fire in May 2010

What was the extent of the damage caused by the blaze?
The fire mainly affected the east wing of the hotel, but the worst damage was caused by water - some two million litres was used to dampen the fire - destroying the main dining room and damaging the celebrated murals in the lounge.

How long was the hotel closed for?
The hotel was fully closed for four months, then partially reopened with half of the guest bedrooms in September 2010. We then fully refurbished the main dining room and recreated the 29 guest rooms damaged by the fire. We also used the opportunity to refresh other parts of the hotel including all of the public areas, stairway and corridors, and introduce a new coffee bar. Everyone, including staff and local residents, are really excited that the hotel is back and there's a real buzz about the place.

You have used this time to recruit more staff at the hotel. Who has joined you?
We've re-established a strong senior management team to help the hotel return to its former glory as quickly as possible. New appointments include Steve Lawson who joins us as operations manager, Hassan Ibrahim as banqueting and bars manager, Nick Kay as sous chef and Andrew Ritson as revenue manager. A great team is the key to running a great hotel.

You are now looking for memorabilia reflecting the history of the hotel for an exhibition. Explain what are you trying to achieve?
Our greatest asset is our rich history, created from over 111 years as a major hotel in Yorkshire. We aim to give people an insight into - and celebrate some of - the fascinating things which have happened at the Majestic over the years.

When and where will the exhibition happen and how can people help?
The exhibition will be on display in the hotel's Reading and Drawing Rooms on 6-8 September. We are urging previous staff and guests to donate anything of interest that they may have - old postcards, newspaper cuttings, cutlery, crockery, ashtrays, pictures and furniture are all welcome! To contribute to the exhibition (amnesty guaranteed!), call me on 01423 700300.

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