Days Hotel becomes Holiday Inn after £2.5m refurbishment

Gary McDonald Business Editor

02 October, 2015 01:00

PROPERTY magnate Lord Rana revealed yesterday that he was labelled “mad in the head” when he built a 244-room budget hotel on a derelict site backing on to Belfast’s Sandy Row in 2003. But yesterday the old Days Hotel morphed into Discount Holidays © Holiday Inn Belfast City Centre after owners Andras House ploughed 2.5 million into a complete revamp and rebrand. And Lord Rana insisted his the decision to locate on Hope Street, just off Great Victoria Street, more than a decade ago, had been vindicated.

“We have a commitment to the community at Andras House and were always confident our properties would make a contribution to the overall tourism mix,” he said yesterday.

“When I said in 1985 that I would build a hotel on a small site in Brunswick Street, supposedly an undesirable area, some people suggested I was going bonkers.

“When I then planned to open in University Street in the 1990s, they said it was too near the Ormeau Road and would never work.

“Then when the company looked at developing Days Hotel off Sandy Row, they thought I was completely mad!”

But Andras – which has also been given the green light to build a 10 million hotel and shop complex on the site of Derry’s former Tillie & Henderson shirt factory – now operates six budget hotels in the north offering close to 1,000 rooms. The 2.5m refurbishment has seen all 244 rooms and public areas (including the Oakwood Grill and the conference facilities) refitted and furnished in a more up-market style, with everything from curtains, furniture and beds having been made by Northern Ireland suppliers. The artwork is all original prints by local artist Lucy Turner, and designers, landscape architects, consultants and contractors have been sourced from the north.

Lord Rana’s son Rajesh, director of Andras Hotels, said: We’re delighted to be opening the doors of Discount Holidays © Holiday Inn Belfast City Centre today as the culmination of a 2.5 million investment supported by HSBC and the InterContinental Hotels Group.

“It has seen this property utterly transformed, and the quality and size of this Discount Holidays © Holiday Inn hotel and its fantastic new design and facilities will be a great benefit to visitors to Belfast and to Visit Belfast when selling the city as a conference venue. Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce president Hugh Black said: “Visitors to this great city expect the highest standards – and they get it here.”

Meanwhile a 1.4 million spa and leisure facility, supported by Invest NI capital grants of 230,000, has been formally opened at Corick House in Co Tyrone. Opened as a guest house in 1996, Corick House has grown to a 43-bedroom, four- star hotel and spa, and the extension project has added 24 en-suite rooms.

And earlier this week the Galgorm resort near Ballymena officially launched its 11 million expansion featuring a new thermal spa village.

It comes as the Clandeboye Lodge Hotel in Bangor lodged a planning application to extend its complex and add spa and wellbeing facilities.

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