Harrogate’s best-known town centre hotel has appointed a new general manager.
Andy Barnsdale, who began his career in hospitality 25-years-ago, has returned to the spa town to take over the helm of The DoubleTree by Hilton Harrogate Majestic Hotel & Spa, a decade after concluding a successful four-year spell as the manager of Nidd Hall Country House Hotel and Leisure Club.
The Majestic was purchased in 2016 by the family-owned Cairn Group, who immediately began a £15m transformation of the hotel, which first opened its doors in 1900. Over the years it has played host to Royalty, heads of state, Hollywood nobility and rock stars.
Following the completion of its latest multi-million-pound restoration, it became Harrogate’s first DoubleTree by Hilton. It was just a week away from officially opening its £2m spa and wellness centre, The Harrogate Spa, before the pandemic forced closure of all spas, leisure centres and gyms.
However, The Majestic itself remained open throughout the crisis for key workers, before reopening to the general public on July 4 with the launch of a new dining concept, Majestic Weekends – with Andy now in charge.
Andy said: “Thanks to the Cairn Group’s significant investment, The Majestic has regained its place as one of the finest hotels in the Harrogate District, and its town centre position makes it a popular for conferences, events and leisure tourists keen to explore the town and the District.
“During my time at Nidd Hall, I learned a lot about the Majestic’s reputation, market share and its style of operation. It was one we always looked up to – and a career goal of mine was to become its general manager, which I have now fulfilled!
“The coronavirus has had a major impact on the hospitality sector, and we are facing a very tough 12 months. However, I believe we are well placed to pull through; we have a fantastic product and the Hilton brand is recognised and respected worldwide. Events and conferences are rebooking, and guests are coming back.
“When I started, 90 per cent of the staff had been furloughed, but I’m delighted to say we are now bringing them back into the workplace, and it’s great to meet them.
“I’m really looking forward to steering the Majestic to its next phase and following in the footsteps of some truly exceptional general managers.”
Vincent Garrington, Operations Director for Cairn Hotel Group in the North, said: “Andy brings with him a wealth of experience not just in hotels, but in the wider leisure and hospitality sector.
“And having worked at venues in Harrogate and Leeds, he knows the local and regional markets well. He is a team player and knows how to get the best from his team, and his commitment to service and standards is second to none.
“The Majestic is one of The Cairn Group’s flagship properties. It has benefitted from significant investment and now sits under Hilton’s DoubleTree brand for quality. With Andy in change, we are confident The DoubleTree by Hilton Harrogate Majestic Hotel & Spa will become a byword for excellence in its products and service.”
Andy’s introduction into the hospitality and leisure industry was with Haven Holidays, at Rockley Park Holiday Park, in Poole Dorset, in 1995, and over the next 11 years worked at six different holiday parks, reaching general manager level before moving to hotels.
During his time at the Nidd Hall – the former seat of Viscount Mountgarret – Nidd Hall achieved its first-ever AA Four Star accreditation and twice won Hotel of the Year. He was also crowned General Manager of the Year for the third time.
Following Nidd Hall, he moved to the 221-bedroom Thoresby Hall Country House Hotel and Spa, in Nottinghamshire, where he helped secure owners, Bourne Leisure, win the AA Small Hotel Group of the Year Award.
Prior to joining the DoubleTree by Hilton Harrogate Majestic Hotel & Spa, Andy was general manager at the Village Hotel, Headingley, Leeds, for four years, where he oversaw a £4.2m refurbishment.