Green light for new luxury hotel at NW200 site
Construction on a four-star hotel complex at the heart of the NW 200 route in Portstewart is expected to begin within weeks after Causeway Coast and Glens Council granted planning approval.
C&V Developments is the company behind the plan to provide 118 rooms, a luxury spa with sea views, a leisure club with a 20m pool, a glass sauna and infinity pool, a steam room and a gym and studio.
The Merrow complex, which will create 100 new jobs after completion in two years' time, will be situated on Ballyreagh Road, adjacent to the start and finish line of the world-renowned International NW200.
It will also house a demonstration restaurant, a bar/bistro restaurant, a signature cocktail bar, a conference space, meeting rooms and will offer nine chalets serviced by the hotel.
The complex will also become the official home of the NW200, with the event offices located within the grounds.
Vivienne Gilholm, from C&V Developments said the project will bring enormous economic benefits to the area.
She said: "A number of experts collaborated on the design to ensure the end result was a destination hotel complex that was sympathetic to its surroundings.
"With the number of tourists to the North Coast on the increase, we wish to provide accommodation and leisure facilities to meet demand. With two world-class golf courses on its doorstep, the Merrow would be an ideal destination for golfing enthusiasts.
"Portstewart has an excellent links course and is frequently described as one of Northern Ireland's hidden gems, while Royal Portrush, which will host the 2019 Open Championship, is only a few miles away."
Mervyn Whyte, race director of the NW200, said that once the hotel complex is completed it will allow the history of the race to be told.
He said: "We wish to create a permanent home for this world famous road race. This is a truly exciting proposition for the NW200.
"The project team plans to develop an administration facility, exhibition space and heritage centre to ensure that all the great stories that have unfolded over the many years of racing can be displayed and shared for many years to come.
"The Merrow Hotel and Spa complex hopes to provide the NW200 with a unique opportunity to create a constant presence at its true home on the North Coast as well as providing much needed leisure and hospitality services in the area."