Historic Ilkley hotel marks new era with £2.2million investment

The Craiglands Hotel general manager Matthew Hole and team

Ilkley’s historic hotel the Craiglands is re-opening its doors with a new team, a luxury new spa and a refurbished 700-capacity ballroom following a £2.2million investment.

General manager Matthew Hole joined the hotel from his management role at the DoubleTree by Hilton Harrogate Majestic Hotel and spent two lockdowns concentrating on the hotel’s facilities and leisure team with double digit new appointments in the pipeline.

Matthew, who has more than 25 years in hospitality for chains including Marriott International, Cairn Hotel Group, DoubleTree by Hilton and Best Western, says the new look, the facilities and the team at the Craiglands Hotel & Spa marks a new chapter in its 162-year history.

“Our relaunch coincides with the easing of lockdown restrictions and while the last 12 months has been an exceptionally challenging time for everyone in hospitality, we have used it to really scrutinise our offering, refresh our ballroom, focus on our team and create a leisure and conference hotel which befits our glorious location.

“Ilkley is, like many towns, enjoying a resurgence of visitors but also has an incredibly loyal and proud local community. Not only do we want our hotel to attract visitors from outside of Ilkley to support the local economy, but we are also firmly committed to being a good neighbour in our community and creating a destination which is at the heart of our wonderful town and in the hearts of Ilkley’s residents.”

The Craiglands Hotel was built in 1859 at the peak of the hydrotherapy movement, when waters from the streams were widely considered to have healing properties. The Craiglands was considered one of the largest and beautifully located purpose-built hydropathic establishments in the country, offering its visitors mustard pads, massage, baths and “tonic air” from the moors.

Recapturing its reputation as a spa and wellbeing hotel was one of the drivers behind the recent £2million addition of a Verbeia Spa & Fitness facility which utilises previously unused space underneath the building and signals the arrival of experienced spa and fitness manager Craig Williams, senior spa therapist Bethany Shearer and sales and marketing consultant Gillian Venning.

Craig said “Our Verbeia Spa & Fitness suite investment recaptures our days as a place for wellbeing and today offers five Decleor treatment rooms, a hydro pool, mud chamber, sauna and steam room, as well as a 25-piece gym. We are in one of the most beautiful locations in the UK offering immediate access to the incredible Ilkley Moors and with wellbeing and mindfulness so high on everyone’s agenda, we’re proud continue contributing to Ilkley’s attractions and its near 200-year reputation as a place to visit for health, happiness and rejuvenation.”

In just 12 months at the hotel, Matthew has also overseen the ballroom refurbishment which includes three chandeliers and includes a new carpet, decoration of walls and ceiling, and restoration of the wooden dancefloor.

He added: “As we widen our focus to include both traditional and multicultural weddings, events and conferences and maximise the incredible function facilities we have here, we’ll be appointing a new wedding and events co-ordinator, a Chef de Partie, additional food and beverage team members, reception staff, leisure attendants and spa therapists.

“This summer really does mark the next chapter in almost 200 years of hotel history and it’s a chapter that I cannot wait to write with such an experienced team by my side.”

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