Elephant Rock boutique hotel to open in Portrush following £2.3m investment

The new Elephant Rock hotel, has been developed in Portrush by Portstewart woman Charlotte Dixon.
Gillian Anderson

THE north coast’s newest hotel, Elephant Rock, is due to open in Portrush next month following a £2.3 million investment.

The 18-bedroom, four-star family owned boutique hotel will open on Lansdowne Crescent with a new look 30-seater restaurant.

The refurbished venue also includes a new terrace and cocktail bar.

The Elephant Rock was borne out of the imagination and passion of Portstewart woman Charlotte Dixon’s desire to provide something unique to the tourism industry in the picturesque coastal town.

Her family, the Dixons are no stranger to business, having owned one of Northern Ireland’s best known and loved department stores for four generations.

Charlotte’s father, Ian described the Elephant Rock Hotel as a ‘major investment’ and a ‘vote of confidence’ in Portrush.

He said: “Charlotte spends her time between here and Manchester and it all started when she became aware that the British Legion were selling Bennett House. 

“She had been looking for something closer to home to do as an investment and when she saw it was for sale she decided that was it.”

Despite the difficult times the hospitality industry has faced during the pandemic, Charlotte and her family have maintained total confidence in the project. 

Sea View Room

“We had originally planned for a late summer opening but then the building work took longer and we kept seeing more things we wanted to do so that pushed the timeline back for us,” said Ian.

“We are opening to paying guests on February 12 and hopefully this will be a better time to do so as we appear to have passed the peak of Omicron and everyone is looking forward to brighter times ahead.

“We are a small boutique hotel with 18 bedrooms, 15 double ensuite and three single ensuite so maybe people will fancy a small intimate hotel more now.

“It hasn’t been that easy but we have managed to get the key people in place and we have a very good team.”

A great deal of thought and attention to detail has been put into the decor of Elephant Rock as Ian explained: “Charlotte has a great eye for detail and she wants it to be tip top right down to the smallest details and they are the things people notice.

“We’ve had an interior designer, Adrian Bailey, design everything from the bedrooms to the cocktail bar and dining area. The cocktail bar is all black and gold and it will have a speakeasy vibe to it.

“Then there is a rear terrace bar/kitchen which is very colourful called Vi’s. It will be much more casual there.”

Charlotte’s aim for the Elephant Rock Hotel is to make it much more than just a hotel.

Luxurious Bedroom

“We want to run it as a luxury venue where you can go for your dinner and then move into the cocktail bar or the rear bar,” her dad continued. 

“A lot of people have been telling us that the area has been crying out for somewhere like this for a long time and we want to appeal to locals as well as holiday makers.

“It will be a nice environment and a lovely place to go out for something to eat or for a drink.

“The dining area is small but it is all about quality for us. We have the former Head Chef from the Salthouse and the Sous Chef from 1894 at Portstewart Golf Club so the food will be the best quality.”

With The Open Championship due to return to Royal Portrush in 2025, and some of the north's top tourist attractions on the doorstep, Elephant Rock hopes to become one of the most sought after hotels for golfers and visitors in the months and years to come.

“We are really looking forward to welcoming our first guest on February 12,” added Ian. “We have some great bookings already including a number of multiple bookings. 

“This is a major investment and a vote of confidence in Portrush by Charlotte. There has been an awful lot of thought put into providing much needed luxury accommodation in the area. 

“We want Elephant Rock Hotel to provide a really nice venue where people can come and spend an evening and enjoy a fantastic stay.”

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