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Machynlleth welcomes first four-star inn with upgraded White Lion Hotel

Alan Murphy, White Lion; Andrew Drummond, Development Bank of Wales

Visitors to Machynlleth will soon be able to enjoy a relaxing break at the town’s first and only four star inn.

All ten bedrooms at the White Lion Hotel have been refurbished and upgraded with new Silent Night beds and ensuite bathrooms of the quality of a four star inn thanks to a loan of £96,000 from the Development Bank of Wales and a grant of £24,000 from Visit Wales. The funding package was used to accelerate the work ready for Easter with the bar and restaurant areas also benefiting from a full redecoration plus new carpets and furniture. Outdoor facilities including bike storage along with the installation of EV charging points, solar panels and secondary glazing will follow at a later date.

As a family-run business, Alan and Michelle Murphy first took on the lease of the White Lion Hotel in 2012. The introduction of the Pubs Code and a new ten-year free-of-tie lease in 2022 means that the couple now have freedom of choice over their own suppliers, giving them the incentive to invest in the future of the business.

With more than 20 staff that are all paid at least the National Living Wage, Alan and Michelle are supported by their two daughters. Emily Murphy is the General Manager and sister Lauren is a Senior Chef.

Alan Murphy said: “With ten bedrooms and a 90-cover restaurant, the White Lion has always been a busy spot in Machynlleth which is popular with locals and tourists alike. During the second lockdown the White Lion varied its license and now opens from 8am for food and drink, with hot food served from 8am until 9pm seven-days a week, 364 days a year.

“The reconfiguration and refurbishment of the bedrooms means that we can now offer our guests a great night sleep with ensuite facilities. We also have two inter-connecting rooms with a shared ensuite bathroom that will be ideal for families. But this is just the start and we have more exciting plans that we’ll now start work on thanks to the funding from the Development Bank and Visit Wales. Together, they’re getting us to where we want to be with a ‘premier’ offering ready for the busiest time of the year.”

Andrew Drummond is an Investment Executive with the Development Bank. He said: “Situated in the centre of the busy market town of Machynlleth, the White Lion Hotel plays an important role in the local economy by providing much needed accommodation for tourists and visitors making the most of this beautiful part of Wales.

“Together with our colleagues at Visit Wales, we have been able to structure a funding package that has enabled the Murphy’s to accelerate the investment necessary to achieve four star standard. It’s a really positive step forward for the tourism sector in this area as there has previously been a shortage of good quality accommodation.

“Importantly, most of the refurbishment and reconfiguration work has been carried out by local contractors, suppliers and builder merchants and the funding will also help to deliver future improvements. This includes  EV charging points, solar panels, additional insulation and secondary glazing along with a secure cycle storage facility. It’s about investing for the long-term benefit of the local community, economy and environment.”

Phil Griffiths, Senior Business Analyst with Welsh Government said: “The project to upgrade to a good quality 4 Star Inn to attract more visitors to this growing tourism destination fits well with Visit Wales strategy and will enhance the profile and benefit the town. “

The loan of £96,000 from the Development Bank of Wales came from the Wales Tourism Investment Fund. Financed entirely by Welsh Government, the £50 million fund offers loans up to £5 million for distinctive, stand out tourism projects that align with the priorities of Welsh Government,. Projects may include high quality, innovative products, all weather attractions, distinctively Welsh visitor focused experiences, innovative cultural or heritage projects, unusual places to stay and flagship attractions.