Galgorm group acquires The Old Inn Crawfordsburn in multi-million pound deal

Charlotte McClean, Andy Johnston and Colin Johnston celebrate the addition of The Old Inn Crawfordsburn to the Galgorm portfolio.
Charlotte McClean, Andy Johnston and Colin Johnston celebrate the addition of The Old Inn Crawfordsburn to the Galgorm portfolio.

THE owners of the Galgorm resort have bought The Old Inn Crawfordsburn in the latest multi-million-pound hotel acquisition by the hospitality group.

It follows a £7 million deal to buy the former Templeton Hotel in Templepatrick in 2018.

The sale value of the popular north Down wedding venue has not been disclosed, but the Galgorm Collection described it as “a multi-million-pound deal”.

The group said all staff are being retained, with plans to invest another £1m in a new boutique spa.

The hotel group said it will open as soon as the Covid-19 restrictions on hospitality are lifted.

The history of The Old Inn is believed to date back to 1614. CS Lewis honeymooned in the venue in 1958, with a host of other historical figures from United Irishmen to aristocracy reported to have stayed under its thatched roof.

It was purchased by well-known hospitality figure Danny Rice in 1982.

Mr Rice (81), who is retiring, was responsible for the development of a series of successful bars and hotels including Robinsons, the Balmoral Hotel, the Fly, the Priory, the Joxer, the Elbow and the Bush Ranger in London's West End.

It understood in the region of £10m was invested in the 33-bed Crawfordsburn venue during Mr Rice’s tenure, adding two wedding venues and the 78-seater Lewis restaurant.

Galgorm Collection’s managing director, Colin Johnston confirmed the group will develop the property to the rear of the 1.5-acre site.

Labelling it one of the region’s most historic and appealing hotels, Mr Johnston described it as a perfect fit for the Galgorm portfolio.

“With an initial strategic investment of £1m, we are planning to build upon the hotel’s award-winning credentials and extend the site to incorporate a boutique spa with infinity pool, hot tub, sauna, steam room, private cabanas and relax space,” said the hospitality boss.

“We’re thrilled to add The Old Inn and its fantastic team to our collection and take this iconic property forward into a new era for tourism and hospitality.

“We are confident we will be in a position to reopen the restaurant and bar mid-to-late May, based on the easing of government restrictions.

“Reservations for future stays can be made from April 19 and we look forward to safely welcoming guests back to enjoy a fantastic stay.”

The Galgorm Collection has already announced its plans to open the former Templeton Hotel in June.

Rebranded as The Rabbit Hotel & Retreat, the 24-bed venue now includes a new £2m outdoor spa and lakeside beach complete with heated sand.