Tributes paid to Sir William as Hastings Hotel Group reports turnover growth

The £53m Grand Central Hotel opened its doors in Belfast last month

THE group behind Northern Ireland's largest hotel has reported growth in both turnover and profits.

The Hastings Hotel Group, which owns and operates seven venues across the north, including the new £53 million Grand Central Hotel, saw its turnover rise by 7.8 per cent from £36.8 million to just shy of £40 million (£39.6m) in the year ending October 31.

Pre-tax profits increased marginally from £4.9m to £5.2m over the 12 months, while staff numbers now stand at 1,106.

In the strategic report accompanying the accounts, the directors described the financial results as "satisfactory" and pledged to continue to "seek every opportunity to increase profitable turnover".

"The directors believe that the group is well placed to manage its business risks successfully despite the current uncertain economic outlook."

Within the accounts the directors also paid tribute to group founder, Sir William Hastings, who died in December at the age of 89.

One of the north's best-known hoteliers, Sir William was a key figure in Northern Ireland's hospitality and business sectors for six decades.

"Sir William, almost single handedly built up the group from the 1960s to what it is today. The group was his life and he is sorely missed by the directors and staff," they said.

The Hastings Hotel Group opened the 300-room Grand Central Hotel on Bedford Street last month. Located on the site of former office space Windsor house it is the north's largest and most expensively constructed hotel.

The new hotel, pays homage to the esteemed group founder through the luxurious £2,000 a night Sir William suite.

The Grand Central is one on seven hotels in the Hastings Group, which also includes Belfast's Europa, Stormont, and Culloden hotels, as well as Derry's Everglades, Larne's Ballygally Castle and Newcastle's Slieve Donard. The group also owns a 50 per cent stake in Dublin's Merrion Hotel.

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