The countdown is over and the wraps are off Derry’s latest tourism offering.
The luxury Bishop’s Gate Hotel in Bishop Street officially opens today.
The project’s completion marks a major milestone for the Inner City Buildings Preservation Trust, a specialist arm of the Inner City Trust dedicated to retaining the built heritage of the 17th Walled City.
The overall aim of the Trust is to improve the physical, economic and social fabric of the inner city.
When the historic Northern Counties building was purchased by the Trust in 2012, it had been lying vacant for some time and was in a serious state of disrepair.
It has now been restored to its former splendour, thanks to the Trust who worked in close partnership with the Heritage Lottery Fund, DSD and DoE to secure the necessary funding to save it from dereliction.
The tourism potential of the unique built heritage of the Walled City has long been recognised by the Trust.
The opening of the luxury Bishop’s Gate Hotel is the realisation of the dream first mooted back in the ‘eighties when the Trust had the vision to embark on an ambitious programme of regeneration for the city centre.
Helen Quigley, Chief Executive Officer of the Trust, says she is confident that the successful completion of their latest project will be a catalyst for further social and economic development in the city centre.
“The hotel opening is a significant milestone for the Trust and we will continue to work in partnership with others to plan for the future by investing in our unique built heritage,” she said.
Ciaran O’Neill takes over the hotel operator role at the 31 bedroom establishment, moving from his position as regional vice president of operations for Interstate Hotels, where he was responsible for Scotland and Northern Ireland.
He says the customer experience of the hotel will be a key priority.