Forget about the Royal Wedding… there’s another countdown taking place in the UK at the moment: Our very first property in the UK (Newcastle to be exact), is coming closer and closer to making its debut!! If you’ve had the opportunity to stay with us since April 1, you’ve likely read all about it in the most recent edition of the Sandman Star (our official company newsletter, found in each and every one of our hotel rooms). What’s the latest then, on the Sandman Signature Newcastle? Well, the time is drawing near!
The Sandman Hotel Group will be pushing open the doors of its first international property, in Newcastle, UK. The former home of Scottish & Newcastle Brewery offices has undergone major refurbishments from the inside out, creating 175 rooms over 11 floors, complete with a Sharks Club Sports Bar & Grill at street level. As any other hotelier would agree, expanding your hotel chain internationally is, quite simply, epic. To be au courant (for all of you wedding planners out there), the Royal Wedding would be a similar comparison. The planning, development, and now execution of the Sandman Signature Newcastle is perhaps one of the most exciting, adrenaline-pumping milestones to ever happen in our industry. Just as the Royal Watchers are preparing themselves for the rare sights and elegance of the monarchy on parade, guests of our new hotel should anticipate unique features in the boutique-style rooms, complete with large windows, and high ceilings. Part of one of the largest planning applications for Newcastle-upon-Tyne in an entire generation, the Sandman Signature Newcastle will anchor the new Downing Plaza development, considered to be the heart of the city’s regeneration.
It’s no surprise that Sandman Hotel Group chose Newcastle-upon-Tyne for its first international hotel. Despite a global recession that affected virtually every major world market, Newcastle remained relatively unaffected. After having survived the collapse of the shipping and mining industries in the ‘70s and ‘80s, which dragged employment down to almost 50 percent, Geordies are well-versed when it comes to recessions. Once bitten now twice shy, Newcastle has invested over £250 million in new cultural development over the past ten years, including the transformation of the Biscuit Factory, an iconic Victorian landmark (a former biscuit factory-come warehouse) into one of Europe’s largest contemporary art galleries. Not only did this put Newcastle-upon-Tyne on Lonely Planet’s list of top 30 places to see in 2007, these long-term investments have set Newcastle on a path of relative resiliency – something that has attracted the kind of outside investment that has kept the local economy stable. “Looking to Newcastle Gateshead as the first location outside of Canada to launch our brand demonstrates the tremendous confidence we have in the city and its future. Newcastle Gateshead Initiative played an integral role in this decision by providing valuable information and positive support throughout the process,” said Mitch Gaglardi, Director at Northland Properties Corporation.
In an article written in March of 2009, author Alexi Mostrous noted that since 2002, Newcastle experienced a 42 percent increase in hotel room inventory, and saw city break tourism rise from zero to £1.2 billion per year, in just 10 years. With that growth has come a rise in population, and record numbers of enrolment at Newcastle’s two universities, Northumbria and Newcastle. In fact, the Sandman Signature Newcastle Hotel, is located in the same Downing Plaza which is home to the new business school of the University of Newcastle, opening March 2011. By establishing the foundation for a successful, sustainable economy, Newcastle has created the perfect conditions for Sandman Hotel Group to begin expansion into the UK. And across the street from St. James Park – official home of the Newcastle United FC? Location couldn’t be better! (If only Wills and Kate were getting married there…)