Opening a hotel is never an easy business but opening a hotel which has been lying empty for some years is well nigh impossible.
But the management and staff of the Marine Hotel in Ballycastle have proved that it IS possible, having enjoyed a fantastic opening season.
Maximum occupancy during the summer, a fantastically successful wedding fair, Christmas party nights and now a super new chef - all these things have ensured that the Marine Hotel is well and truly back where it belongs.
Co-owner Claire Hunter paid tribute to the general manager Patricia Crawford for her work in achieving such a successful opening season.
“What Patricia and the 60 staff over the Summer season (28 full time in Winter)have achieved has been amazing,” said Claire.
“We went from a standing start to serving hundreds of meals a day.
“The fantastic summer season we had has enabled us to invest both in the hotel and in our fantastic staff, all of whom are local people.
“Our staff have completed Welcome Host training, health and hygiene training and some are now going through NVQ courses paid for by both ourselves and the government.
“We have also invested in equipment such as state-of-the-art new ovens which enable us to serve piping hot, restaurant standard meals to a sitting of as many as 400 guests.”
New chef Kevin Coey, who worked as sous chef in the Hilton in Templepatrick for 14 years and who has worked all over the world with Hilton, has now joined the Marine.
He has put together a new bistro menu with everything from salt and chilli squid and fresh fish dishes, to mouth-watering pulled pork sandwiches, which are served daily in the Marconi’s Bar and Bistro from 12 noon to 9.30pm.
The Marine Hotel is all set for the Christmas party season with limited availability for the party nights on December 14th and 21st.
Free buses to and from these party nights are available for parties of 20 or more from Coleraine and Ballymoney.
The Marine Hotel has also been busy establishing links with different strands of tourism such as golfing holidays, outdoor pursuits, and the Bushmills Distillery. Northern Ireland and the North Coast has become a lot more accessible since it it now dual carriageway all the way from Dublin.
The Marine has also had a stand at the Wedding Journal Fair in Belfast which was a huge success.
Having already staged a top class wedding fair of its own, the Marine Hotel is having another Wedding Fair on January 5th - especially for all those couples who are newly engaged over the Christmas and New Year period.
The opening season has certainly established The Marine Hotel in Ballycastle as the must-visit place on the north coast. Here’s to the new year...