Two of the North East’s best known hotels are set for multimillion-pound investments to turn them into luxury spa and golfing destinations, the owner has revealed.
Hospitality group Ramside Estates – owners of Ramside Hall Hotel and Golf Club, Hardwick Hall, Bowburn Hall, The Fed and other venues around the region – has ploughed significant sums into its properties in recent years, despite the pressures of Covid, inflation and the ensuing cost-of-living crisis. In the last year Ramside Hall and Spa has been boosted by a number of additional treehouses within its grounds, following an investment of £2.2m, while its sister venue Hardwick Hall has hosted music festivals, conferences and other events.
Now the group has outlined plans for further luxury facilities at Ramside Hall, in addition to its plans to creation a new health club, spa and more bedrooms at Hardwick. Owner John Adamson confirmed plans to create a new golf development at Ramside, including a new driving range, academy, sports bar and bowling alley.
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The news follows the group’s application to create a luxury spa and health club and an additional 35 bedrooms at Hardwick Hall Hotel near Sedgefield, regenerating buildings which have been derelict for more than 60 years. The plans were outlined following publication of the company’s annual accounts for the 2022 financial year, in which the firm’s directors hailed a “healthy financial performance with a significant increase in revenues and profits” compared to the previous year.
During the year revenues rose 54% to £35.9m, while operating profit rose 22% from £3.6m to £4.4m. Staff numbers also rose at the business, from an average of 546 to 630, leading to a significant increase in the wages, pension and social security bill from £9.1m to £12.3m.
The spa at the Ramside Hall Hotel, Durham. A new golfing development is now planned (Image: Newcastle Chronicle) In the accounts, Mr Adamson said there had been a continued focus on investing across the estate, to meet customer needs and ensure the business remained competitive in the market.
As well as spending on five new treehouses at Ramside, the firm spent £300,000 on adding two new bedrooms at The Impeccable Pig, its venue in Sedgefield, as well as £100,000 on IT infrastructure to help meet clients’ technology needs.
Revenue growth was attributed to increased income from the hotel and spa, and increased food and drink income due to a greater footfall following Covid, as well as more events taking place in the year due to the lifting of restrictions. The company also supported large music festivals during the year such as The Kubix Festival, Stone Valley and Loosefest, which added to revenue.
The report details how the company has benefited from increased revenues as the public were eager to visit hotel and leisure facilities again after a long time under restrictions, enabling it to build up a cash balance of over £12m “which it will need in the challenging months ahead”.
Mr Adamson highlights challenges including additional costs resulting from inflationary pressures, including wage and energy cost increases, and higher prices charged by wholesalers and food and drink suppliers. All of these costs will impact upon the margins for the business in the 2023 financial year.
In the report, Mr Adamson adds: “Another substantial portion of the cash balance is earmarked for future development projects which form part of the businesses longer term plans. The directors have identified key areas in which it would like to develop the business such as a major expansion of Hardwick Hall and Ramside Hall hotels. Part of this cash balance will be used to help fund these projects alongside support from the bank.
“The directors plan for continuous growth of the business, with plans to invest further in treehouses and lodges in addition to further developments to make the business more of a resort. These developments will further improve the hotel and leisure offerings ensuring the business remains competitive in the market.”
Following publication of the accounts, Mr Adamson said: “We have had two very good trading years and now we are looking to progress our developments at both Ramside Hall Hotel and Hardwick Hall. This will include a new health club, spa and additional bedrooms at Hardwick and a cutting edge golf development at Ramside which will comprise a new two decker driving range, academy, sports bar and bowling alley. We are forecasting however that 2023-2024 will be much more challenging financially than the previous two years.”
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