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Darlington hotel redeveloped after blaze

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A town centre hotel in Darlington has been redeveloped after being gutted by a fire in 2008 and could provide a welcome boost to tourism in the area, it has been claimed.

The blaze at the King’s Head Hotel - now known as the Mercure Darlington Kings Hotel - saw 60 fire-fighters battle for six hours to quell the flames, making it one of the biggest conflagrations the town had ever seen.

However, reinvestment has ensured the property can once again serve its purpose as a hotel, the Northern Echo reports.

The £8 million revamp included new catering equipment as well as ensuring that the 83-room hotel, owned by the Cain Group, was given the full Mercure makeover to live up to the high standards expected of the brand.

It now has a refurbished ballroom, function rooms, a bar and cafe area, and is awaiting its licence to host civil partnership ceremonies.

Darlington's mayor, councillor Paul Baldwin, officially opened the new site and expressed his pleasure at welcoming such a major development to the town, adding that it could lead to economic growth in the area.

"It is a bit of landmark in the town. It has been here for hundreds of years and they have spent £8m turning it into a fabulous venue," he added.

"It is ten times more difficult when you are trying to look after a listed building and consider businesses nearby, so they have put a lot of effort and time into safeguarding all those things."

Councillor Bill Dixon, leader of Darlington Borough Council, added that the refurbishment work done on the "iconic" building is of the highest quality.

Global hospitality operator Mercure has a network of more than 700 hotels spread across 49 countries, and is part of the Accor group - one of the world's largest leisure and hospitality conglomerates.ADNFCR-16001031-ID-801463937-ADNFCR

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