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Building The Spa Capital Of Northern Ireland

 Gus McConville Managing Director, Tullyglass Hotel

Originally a country residence, the Tullyglass Hotel sits in its own grounds on the outskirts of Ballymena, and is owned and managed by the McConville family. Regularly at 98% occupancy, the popular hotel also has a purpose built conference and banqueting suite and a famous six course Carvery Restaurant. Managing Director Gus McConville talks through his plans to become a luxury spa resort, creating more than 80 jobs.

“In 2015, we invested £2 million to acquire new land and make exterior developments to the hotel. This followed a previous £5 million investment in 2005 when we created the new conference and banqueting facility. One of our key aims is to help make Ballymena the ‘Spa capital of Northern Ireland’ and our most recent expansion project is aligned to this goal as we create 45 new bedrooms, a tree-top spa with a continental coffee lounge, gym and beauty salon. We aim to provide our guests with an indulgent, unforgettable experience, seeped in luxury.

Despite having one of Northern Ireland’s largest conferencing and banqueting facilities, holding up to 2,500 people, we feel the extension is necessary to support the hotel’s growth potential. We are continuing to see a rise in demand for weddings, conferences and large events that require enhanced guest facilities. As well as this, we plan to create a new entrance to the hotel from the Galgorm Road, creating a greater presence and more direct route to the new plaza and reception.

As well as our weddings and events offering, we have noticed a lot more tourism in the town over the last two years, so we are also keen to tap into the thriving tourism market that exists along the North Coast. Part of this will be promoting the hotel as a stop on the Causeway Coastal Route given the abundance of great tourist destinations there - many rising in popularity due to them featuring in the Game of Thrones series - which has created record visitor numbers in the last year. We have noticed a particular increase in the number of American tourists who enjoy hearing the history of the hotel and often compare the beautiful buildings and idyllic surroundings to the popular TV series, Downton Abbey.

Tullyglass, originally called Rainsford House, was built in 1880 by James McAllister of the McAllister Whiskey brand which was acquired by Guinness in 1942.

Key to our success over the years has been identifying gaps in the market, analysing what is going on in the industry, and what more we can we offer the local community and local businesses. As a result, we run a successful carvery dinner service, offer popular dancing sessions and our entertainment nights are becoming infamous with country music stars such as Derek Ryan and Lisa McHugh. We also collaborate with community groups such as the Ballymena Hospice Support Group who this year held their 27th Annual Christmas Fair at the Tullyglass House Hotel. Our upcoming expansion plans will ensure the hotel’s future for many years to come and we look forward to the sharing our progress with our customers as we unveil the new renovations.”