A landmark Darlington hotel has reopened after an £8 million Mercure hotel refurbishment scheme.
Fire had seriously damaged the iconic King’s Head Hotel in August 2008. The blaze broke out at 12.30am and destroyed the fourth floor of the hotel and the roof, with two people having to be rescued by the fire brigade. At that time, the hotel had only just undergone a refurbishment programme – but the official reopening of the city centre location has bought an exciting renovation.
The Mercure redevelopment programme has increased the number of en-suite bedrooms from 26 to 83, making 50 jobs for the local community, and general manager Dale Needham said they “spared no expense” transforming the venue.
“The hotel is now a stylish and contemporary venue, which we hope will be as popular with Darlington residents as it will be with visitors to the town. We are confident the Mercure Darlington King’s Hotel will provide a wonderful boost to the town.”
“As a renowned hotel in the region, the hotel is a natural fit for the brand,” he said.
The hotel’s history has been recognised within the restoration, too. On the ground floor level, the King’s Head Bar and Lounge – serving light meals and drinks – makes reference to 1611, the year when it is believed a coaching inn was first opened at the site.
The Carriages à la carte restaurant and its adjoining cocktail bar – named in tribute to the town’s railway heritage – offer a fine dining experience. And the venue’s famous ballroom, which can accommodate up to 250 people, has been completely refurbished with two smaller meeting rooms also created during the redevelopment.
“We worked night and day to keep the hotel going after the fire,” said a spokesman for the hotelier, who run 3,500 hotels worldwide.
“The majority of the hotel had to close for almost four years as most of the building was damaged. But, through sheer hard work, determination and substantial investment we have restored this fabulous hotel to its former glory.”