Belfast Telegraph

Boutique hotel closure surrounded in mystery

By Amanda Poole

The north coast’s stylish boutique hotel Me & Mrs Jones has closed — with the loss of 30 jobs — just seven months after it opened.

A sign on the door of the Co Londonderry establishment, based at 1-7 The Diamond in Portstewart, says it has ceased trading.

It’s thought to have shut on New Year’s Day after guests checked out.

Mystery surrounds the closure of the 20-bed hotel and wine bar, which opened in time for last summer’s Irish Open golf tournament at Royal Portrush, following advertisements for chefs, kitchen staff, bar staff, receptionists, waiters, waitresses, housekeepers and night porters.

It’s understood Andrew Bradley (41), managing director of Me & Mrs Jones, had leased the building from controversial local property developer, Norman Menary of NM Developments.

A notice on the two-storey building advises people with queries to contact the legal firm representing the interests of Me & Mrs Jones Ltd.

Last week, when the Coleraine Chronicle newspaper asked for clarification on the running of the business, a representative from McDermott, McGurk and Partners Solicitors said: “The business will continue but at what stage it will reopen again we don't know. That’s not in our client's interests.”

The Chronicle also reported former staff members as saying they were given three weeks’ notice of redundancy and of being advised to re-apply for their jobs when the hotel opens again.

A local businessman also said furnishings were removed from the hotel last week.

With the vision of setting a new standard for the north coast, Me & Mrs Jones sold itself as a unique accommodation experience, a stone’s throw from attractions such as Royal Portrush Golf Club, Portstewart Golf Club, Dunluce Castle, Giants Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede-Rope Bridge, Old Bushmills Distillery, Mussenden Temple and The Strand Beach.

Last summer, Me & Mrs Jones was the base for Irish Open winner Jamie Donaldson.

The Welshman won his maiden European tour title on July 1 at Royal Portrush and his trophy was photographed behind the bar.

The hotel’s Twitter account hasn’t been used since October, its Facebook page appears to have been closed and the landline number advertised on its website was out of service.

On Sunday night, neither Mr Bradley or Mr Menary could be reached for comment.

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