BLACKPOOL’S recently re-branded Village Hotel is bucking the recession and its flagship Italian restaurant Buca di Beppo is breaking all records.
The 200 covers showcase restaurant with its authentic American-Italian feel and decor – and its sharing platters – is proving a popular attraction with an increasing number of locals, as well as being a draw for residents who can choose to eat there or the Victory Pub (formerly Spikes) overlooking the hotel’s golf course, says sales manager Louise Hunter.
“We had up to 600 people though last Saturday, and the percentage breakdown is something like 60 to 40 locals to residents most of the week,” she said. “There are three others like it in the country, and we are out- trading all of them.” Deputy general manager Peter Thompson said the re-branding – a major investment for the DeVere group – had brought a new lease of life to the hotel.
“Everything we have done has had a positive effect,” he said.
“From the new-look leisure centre to the open air pool – the only one of its kind in the area, to the introduction of a Starbucks coffee area and the choice of dining in Buca di Beppo or the Victory Pub seems to have been what people have wanted.”
Local and guest alike preferred the idea of being at a “village with in a Village,” said Louise.
“As a company we keep ahead by being energetic and innovative,” added Peter. “There was a time when the Village branding disappeared a little, but you have to change with the times, and the market now prefers a destination venue where it can spend more time under one roof, and that’s we can offer. We can also change policies quicker than many of our competitors.”
Being off the main hotel run actually worked in the venue’s favour, he said.
“It means we have to make that much more effort if they are making an effort themselves to come here,” he said.
“Quite simply people are staying on site for longer – whether they are locals or hotel guests.”
In the restaurant, monthly swing singer nights had proved popular, and the hotel’s monthly tribute nights now attracted around 300 people,” said Louise.
Shea added: “They were something new, but word of mouth got round and they just bigger and better month on month.”
As for the restaurants they have the advantage of being open every day, said Peter.
“There’s no confusion involved – whatever day people want to dine with us we are there for them,” he said.
“And we have introduced an eat all you want for £12.95 proper four course Sunday lunch, from noon to 6pm where children under five eat free – which is proving very popular.”