Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster has said the £3m expansion at Ballygally Castle Hotel will be “a huge boost to Larne”.
Speaking at the official re-opening of the hotel on Tuesday, the Minister described the refurbishment as “recognition of what a great place the Antrim coast is”.
“Investment in quality accommodation and first class catering facilities in strategic destinations such as this is essential for the growth of our tourism industry. I am confident that the re-developed Ballygally Castle will make a strong contribution to tourism in the years to come.
“The investment is providing an additional 18 coastal and garden view bedrooms, giving a total of 54 rooms, along with substantial improvements to public areas of the hotel and conference / banqueting facilities which are in keeping with this historic hotel’s four-star accreditation,” she said.
Arlene Foster said she believed the forthcoming Giro d’Italia cycle race would bring many more visitors to the area.
“I see the way the G8 summit has made a difference to Enniskillen. People who would not have thought of going to that region are now. It’s not just what happens at the time that matters, it is what comes afterwards,” she said.
Howard Hastings, managing director of Hastings Hotels, said: “Our objective in making what is a substantial investment for Hastings Hotels is to provide the sort of high quality base that visitors wishing to explore this superb region expect.
“Facilities at the hotel have been extended and upgraded to ensure that it remains an ideal springboard to the world class location that is the Antrim coast and the spectacular journey along the Causeway coastal route,”
Mr Hastings described it as an “historic day” for Ballygally Castle, which was bought by the family-owned hotel group in 1966 from carpet tycoon Cyril Lord.
“The expansion is a further indication of the strength of our commitment to this outstandingly beautiful region and indeed to the wider tourist and hospitality industry,” he said.