Nick Holmes, MD Rockliffe Hall
Anna Addison

Thousands of pounds invested in top hotel

5*Rockliffe Hall is undergoing hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of refurbishment work as the business continues to thrive.

The Hurworth resort’s Old Hall, which dates back to the 19th Century, will undergo a £200,000 renovation project throughout January which will see capacity at its flagship restaurant, Kenny Atkinson at The Orangery, increase and a number of new jobs created.

The project includes a complete refurbishment of the triple AA Rosette Orangery- with new artwork, décor, furniture and lighting, the creation of a state-of-the-art walk-in wine cellar and a restructure and extension of Kenny Atkinson’s kitchens to increase production capabilities throughout the day.

Following the refurbishment project, The Orangery will extend its opening hours to include lunchtimes due to customer demand with capacity increasing to around 80 covers. Thanks to the investment and refurbishment, it’s hope around 20 jobs could be created in the coming 12 to 18 months adding to the 40-strong team currently employed by Rockliffe Hall’s Old Hall.

More events are also planned including celebrity chef dinners featuring some of the UK’s top TV chefs, wine and champagne evenings to showcase the new walk-in wine cellar and Rockliffe Hall’s extensive wine selection and ‘faces behind the food’ events to give guests the chance to meet the team of chefs, sommeliers and Maître d’s and go behind the scenes to tour the new double-level kitchen.

Rockliffe Hall opened in November 2009 following a £65 million renovation project to transform the run-down building into a 5* leisure resort complete with three restaurants, a world-class golf course and an award-winning spa.

The business has won numerous awards and accolades including three AA Rosettes for the flagship restaurant, The Orangery, and the gold award for VisitEngland’s ‘Large Hotel of the Year’. Managing director, Nick Holmes, said: “As a business, we’ll constantly re-invest in Rockliffe Hall to allow it to grow and remain world-class, unrivalled anywhere in the North of England. This is a substantial investment which is creating new options for our guests, new jobs for people in the region and new opportunities for us as a consistently growing business.

“This whole project is all about bringing Rockliffe Hall’s 19th Century Old Hall to life, all day every day. It’s the hub of the resort and we want all of our visitors to experience it- whether it’s for morning coffee, lunch in The Orangery, afternoon tea, drinks in our cocktail bar or dinner in the evening.”

Director of food at Rockliffe Hall, Kenny Atkinson, said: “The re-launch of the Old Hall is a significant development especially as our kitchens are being extended and re-organised so that we can offer guests more choice at various times of the day. The emphasis will continue to be on authenticity as we become more and more self-sufficient. The greater kitchen space means we can train more chefs in traditional skills- such as butchery for example- and also give guests the chance to meet our team.

“People are so much more interested in the theatre behind food these days and we want to be able to give them the chance to see behind the scenes at special events where we can reveal the faces behind the food and wine. It really is a very exciting time for Rockliffe Hall and to see the business growing even further is great news for the region as a whole.”

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