The Beannchor Group, the company which owns the five-star Merchant hotel in Belfast, has bought the 14-bedroom Portaferry hotel in Portaferry.
Situated overlooking Strangford Lough, the hotel is now to undergo a £100,000 refurbishment to revitalise the 18th-century building and help create 10 new jobs. The hotel was at one time owned by John Herlihy, the former president of the Northern Ireland Hotels & Caterers Association
Gary Bell, originally from Bangor, County Down, has been appointed head chef at the hotel. His most recent appointment was as head chef at Thornton's restaurant in Dublin and previously he worked in New York.
"We are surrounded by such wonderful produce in the area," Bell said. "My aim is to create exceptional, fresh dishes with amazing local produce, ideally sourced within 30 miles of the hotel."
Bill Wolsey, the owner of the Beannchor Group, said he was excited about the redevelopment of what is an iconic landmark in the town of Portaferry. "The restaurant has one of the finest food offerings in the area and I am confident it will be quickly established as a firm favourite with food lovers in the Ards Peninsula and further afield."
By Janet Harmer
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