Belfast Telegraph

Relaunch of hotel to create 45 new jobs

A HOTEL in Co Antrim will re-open under a new name with the creation of up to 45 jobs after it closed down early this year.

The closure of the former O'Neill Arms Hotel in Toomebridge left the town with no restaurant, club or bar.

It will relaunch as the White River Hotel on December 9.

As revealed in Business Telegraph earlier this month, new owners Antrim-based window-frame manufacturer Camden Group, bought the hotel for £750,000 at auction. They have invested a further £750,000 in a complete refurbishment programme.

Sean Murray, project consultant for the White River, said he is aiming to open for business in three weeks' time.

"Toomebridge is an historic river Bann crossing point and the hotel has stood on this spot for at least 150 years that we know of," he said. "It was a tragedy for the town and surrounding area's social life when the hotel closed down so we are particularly thrilled to be able to bring it back to life once more.

"There are few quality hotels with restaurant, bar, night club and meeting rooms in the mid-Ulster area and we are confident the market is ready for this offer.

"This is an area of the north with a particularly rich potential for tourism and therefore we need to provide European standard quality. We believe that visitors and the local population will respond well to a quality social hub like the White River."

The White River Hotel will have a bar, a new restaurant under a new chef and a new front entrance, which will "dramatically transform" the operation, said Mr Murray.

The hotel will be officially designated as a three-star and room rates will be between £45 and £55. But Mr Murray said it would be "a quality operation with four-star levels of service".

The hotel had been vacant since January and had been part of the McLarnon Group, which folded last year. Its Adair Arms in Ballymena was bought by the McKeever Group and the Leighinmohr in Ballymena is being run by Beannchor.

The Fort Royal Inn in Glarryford is also on the market.

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