A HISTORIC Darwen hotel is to be revamped by a new owner after the couple who ran the establishment for nearly 20 years decided to retire.
The Astley Bank Hotel, a 19th century manor house in Bolton Road, was owned by Nigel and Helen Ainscow since 1997, but the pair have now left the hospitality trade.
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Whitehall councillor David Foster said that the couple ran the hotel ‘brilliantly’ and was sad to hear of them leaving.
He said: “I visited the hotel on a number of occasions and they made it one of the best in the area.
“I am very sad they have decided to leave and I hope that its high standards can be kept up by the new owner because it has done so well over the years.”
Experienced hotel operator Alan Ezekiel has taken over the business and said he has plans to upgrade and enhance the building, putting emphasis on Darwen’s ‘gem’ location.
He said: “Astley Bank Hotel is one of the finest hotel establishments in Darwen and has excelled in its wedding, conferencing and corporate business facilities.
“The new management under my guidance intends to enhance and upgrade the hotel to even higher standards of excellence.
“Our five chefs will produce cuisine of Cordon Bleu standards and all produce will be locally sourced and home cooked.
“An A La Carte menu will be offering a desert tray embracing cakes, sweet truffles coated in the finest Belgian chocolate.
“One of my initial roles is to ensure that the high standards and practices are maintained and another will be to develop market awareness by putting emphasis on Darwen’s gem location that will bring even more business and wealth to the community.”
The hotel has 37 individually designed bedrooms, including 10 suites, a recently refurbished restaurant and eight conference rooms with state-of-the-art audio and video equipment, set in 2.5 acres of maintained gardens and grounds.
It has been sold by the specialist hotels team at real estate advisors Colliers International, acting on behalf of the Ainscows.
Neil Thomson, associate director at the North West office of Colliers International, said the takeover of the establishment is extremely positive for the regional hotel market.
He said: “The acquisition of Astley Bank Hotel by Mr Ezekiel reflects strengthening momentum in the market for regional hotels, with potential buyers being supported financially by banks keen to fund profitable and established businesses.
“This transaction epitomises an encouraging start to 2016 following an excellent 2015 for the hotels team at Colliers International.”