A fresh £400,000 investment in a new best-in-class bistro and over 20 extra rooms at Da Vinci’s will create up to 30 jobs and put the hotel back on the map as the best in the city.
That’s according to new manager, Olga Henry, who after her appointment this month is busy preparing for the official launch of Caterina’s, a new 84-seater bistro in the old night club annex that will be the first fruit of the cash injection at Da Vinci’s.
“It will be an open bistro. We want to attract all types of customer, particularly the corporate customer. We have USB points and power points on all our tables so people can come in, have a business meal, sit down, have a coffee.
“That’s the sort of atmosphere we want to create where people are relaxed and can spend a couple of hours. In the evening time, meanwhile, we will be competing with the best restaurants in the city,” explained the new boss.
While the menus are being finetuned prior to the launch on October 14, suffice to say, farm-to-food local produce is central to its philosophy.
For example, the meat’s sourced from Higgins of Castlerock and Doherty’s of Derry, the fish from Donegal, the vegetables from Season Harvest in Claudy, and the eggs from Russell’s of Eglinton. The space itself will be contemporary and comfortable.
“It will be an open kitchen so diners will be able to see the chefs cooking their food. It’s warm, homely, with its own bar. It’s the start of putting Da Vinci’s back on the map,” she said.
Caterina’s hasn’t yet opened but 15 new staff have already been recruited. And that’s only phase one of the new £400k upgrade. The group will soon extend the hotel from a 64 room facility to an 88 room offering, thus boosting Derry’s overall beds capacity.
“We’re looking to get two state-of-the-art bedrooms ready before Christmas and then roll that out in January. It’s imminent,” said Ms. Henry.
The new manager, who makes the short trip over the Glenshane from the braes of Moneymore each morning, has a wealth of experience in the industry, having managed the Everglades, the Ballygally, the Templeton, and at the Swallow and Hilton groups in Scotland. She’s also worked with Sainsbury’s, ran her own catering company, and holds a Master’s degree in HR.
“It’s time to refurbish our offering. The way things are going the hospitality industry needs 30,000 new staff by 2024. That’s a lot of people. There’s a lot of employment opportunity and our aim is to be the best employer in the city with the best paid staff in the city and that’s important.”