THE first hotel in Northern Ireland to be granted 5-star status, the Culloden Estate & Spa, is celebrating 20 years this month since it was first awarded the highest rating a hotel can receive.
In addition to this, the Culloden was included by The Times in a recent list of the 20 Coolest Hotels in Ireland.
Formally known as Culloden House, the Culloden Estate & Spa was built in 1867 as an official Palace for the Bishops of Down before being sold during the 1920’s by the Church to the late Sir John Campbell. In April 1959 Culloden House was purchased for £10,000 by farmer Thomas Reid who was before being sold again in 1962 to Ruthledge White of White’s Home Bakery Limited and opened the following year as a hotel with 11 bedrooms.
The hotel was then purchased by Hastings Hotels in June 1967 for £100,000 and has been transformed in to one of the finest and most luxurious hotels in Ireland. Hastings Hotels has continued to invest in the property to ensure it remains the jewel in the local tourism industry and it now boasts 105 deluxe bedrooms – one third of which are suites, 11 luxurious self-catering apartments, a luxurious spa, the Highland Conference Centre which boasts five purpose built meeting rooms and two major function suites, the Stuart Suite and the Cumberland Suite, which is undergoing refurbishment in 2016.
The Culloden is also the first choice for many of the famous faces visiting Northern Ireland and has played host to politicians, pop stars and sporting heros including Michael Douglas, Dolly Parton, Bono, Tony Blair, John Major, David Beckham, Sir Cliff Richard, Kylie Minogue, Shirley McClaine and Lionel Ritchie to name just a few.
Sir William Hastings, Chairman of Hastings Hotels said: “It is fantastic to celebrate 20 years since the Culloden Estate & Spa was the first hotel in Northern Ireland to be granted a 5-star status. When I first purchased the property in 1967, it was a hotel with 11 bedrooms and I am proud to have transformed it into what I believe is one of Ireland’s finest and most distinguished hotels.
“We have not rested on our laurels and have continued to invest in the property every year since we purchased it. In the last 20 years alone, since the Culloden gained its 5-star status, we have invested in excess of £20M to ensure we offer our guests a first class service every time. Not only have we invested in the property itself, but we continue to invest in our staff who ensure all our guests enjoy the 5-star treatment the hotel is well-known for,” Sir William continued.
“We are also big believers in supporting our local food producers and food provenance is of major importance to us. Where possible, we provide our guests with the very best of local produce which is reflected in the menus in our six hotels.
“Not only is the Culloden Estate the hotel of choice for well-known personalities when they are in town, but it has also established itself as a popular filming location thanks to Northern Ireland’s growing screen tourism. Recent productions filmed at the Culloden include The Journey with James Nesbitt, a Christmas Star featuring Kylie Minogue and China’s version of Next Top Model,” Sir William added.
“What’s more, I am thrilled at the news that the Culloden was recently included by The Times, one of the UK’s largest daily newspapers, in a list of the 20 coolest hotels in Ireland as I believe this demonstrates that while guests appreciate the hotel’s palatial surroundings they also value the modern aspects of the Culloden including the modern bedrooms, luxurious spa and the fabulous cocktail list in the Crozier Lounge,” Sir William concluded.