Hotel Hub: Millbrook House Hotel, Ballynahinch
Since taking over the property five years ago, the Maguire family has embarked on a programme of upgrades at the Millbrook House Hotel, which was one of a small group of hotels recently named among The Top 100 Hospitality Businesses 2018.
“The hotel has gone from strength to strength especially over the past five years, and has made its name as a very popular wedding venue in Co Down,” says Gerty McCaugherty, general manager of the Millbrook House Hotel, and a member of the Maguire family.
“A total refurbishment programme was rolled out four years ago, with all areas of the hotel upgraded. The main function suites were totally refurbished with an additional courtyard area with a waterfall added, and a beautiful new gazebo placed within the Wedding Garden.”
While carrying a three-star rating, Millbrook House delivers a four-star standard, says McCaugherty, with its renovated Gilmore Restaurant recently awarded accreditation by Taste of Ulster for a second consecutive year.
“The upgrade of the quality of food and dishes available is down to the hotel’s new head chef Gerard Sands, the former head chef of Nick’s Warehouse, Belfast,” she says.
Sands was heading off to Italy on March 17 to represent Northern Ireland in the World Pesto Championships and is a well-known figure in the local hospitality sector, serving as a director of the Salon Culinaire at IFEX 2018 and sitting on the NI Chefs Steering Group.
“The bedroom block was the next on the refurbishment list and all 16 bedrooms, which now include one suite, three master bedrooms and 12 executive bedrooms, have been brought up to a very high standard, presented with a modern feel but a Georgian twist,” says McCaugherty.
“The final phase of this programme was completed last year with the most popular room in the house, The Orangerie, opening on August 1 last year. This suite was built for the purpose of welcoming weddings into the hotel but has proven to be a very desired room for birthday parties, private dining and meetings alike.”
The next phases of the ongoing refurbishment, meanwhile, will see an additional bedroom block and spa area added to the property.
HOTEL OPENED: December, 41 years ago
OWNERSHIP & HISTORY: The hotel was originally added to an old Georgian Rectory with many of the features still in place by Jim Scott, a local beef farmer and publican, and his family. Approximately five years later, it was purchased by the Maguire family who still own it, along with their second hotel, the Ivanhoe Hotel in Carryduff, which they purchased two years later. Both hotels are run by the “girls” in the family, with Paula in the Ivanhoe and Gerty in Millbrook.
EMPLOYEES: 30 full-time and 50 part-time staff
ROOM NUMBER: 16
STAR RATING: three-star
STYLE: Modern with a Georgian feel.
MARKET POSITIONING: The hotel is a very sought-after wedding venue, and also a popular place for guests to gather for family and social events. Millbrook House prides itself in offering a hotel to make special memories within.
GUEST PROFILE: Families, travellers and locals.
USPs: Family-run hotel, sitting in six acres of beautifully mature gardens offering local produce with staff who have worked for many years in the hotel, know its guests and go the extra mile to deliver what its visitors deserve and require.
FOOD & BEVERAGE: Taste of Ulster-accredited food and drinks are on offer in the Gilmore casual dining restaurant.
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