A PROMINENT Conwy Valley hotel will reopen next week after “substantial investment” and a winter revamp.
The Gwydyr Hotel in Betws-y-Coed has undergone major redevelopment over the Christmas period, including a new bar and cellar, modern kitchen appliances and equipment and an overhaul of the menu.
Owner James Budgen – Director of Woodpecker Films and a former teacher – wanted to give the Holyhead Road venue a complete makeover before launching on January 31.
The hotel will be open “around the clock” and offer breakfasts and local produce; celebrating Wales and supporting firms in the area, the 34 year-old will have mum Sylvia and dad Mark on hand to help make a success of the business.
Originally from Rhyl, James was Head of the Design Technology and IT department at The Queen’s School in Chester before taking a completely different path and acquiring the popular building, with the help of St Asaph-based FFP Financial Solutions.
Years of experience in film and photography at weddings across the region gave him a firm grasp of hospitality and what customers want, and after looking around for a possible location he spotted The Gwydyr Hotel was for sale and decided to follow his dream.
“I only began looking for a hotel or bar last year and always wanted it to be located in the Betws-y-Coed area,” said James, a former pupil at Ysgol Dewi Sant, Rhyl, and Ysgol Glan Clwyd in St Asaph.
“When I spotted the Gwydyr Hotel I came along and immediately fell in love with the place.”
He added: “I am redeveloping the interior, and the outside will be given a tidy up, because we are heading in a different direction.
“We’ve looked at the food and drink offering, the previous menu and the outlay of the bedrooms and apartments.
“Later in the year I’ll be investing heavily on the hotel side, but for now we are improving the bar area, the function room and making the restaurant and breakfast area more attractive.
“Previously, the hotel wasn’t even open to the public until after lunch, so there’s a big opportunity to capitalise on breakfast trade and be more accessible.”
With the support of FFP Solutions, who helped James to secure the property and a commercial mortgage, he plans to make more changes after the summer.
“There has been substantial investment and there will be further redevelopment of the bedrooms, but a lot of work has already gone into the open spaces and bar area,” he said.
“With a new approach and a new look, combined with a fresh menu offering local produce and hearty pub grub – with a selection of artisan wine and gins – I think we will see the Gwydyr Hotel become even more popular with locals and visitors.
“This is a big adventure and there will be challenges ahead but I look forward to putting my own stamp on the place and would like to thank the regular customers and residents for the support we’ve received already – I hope to see you all soon.”
Richard Lloyd-Jones, director of FFP Solutions, congratulated James on the acquisition.
“The Gwydyr Hotel is a fantastic venue in the heart of Betws-y-Coed, so we look forward to seeing the completed development and wish James and his team the best of luck for the future.
“Given the fact that this is James’s first hotel we managed to get him 65% of the purchase price of the trading business and not just the ‘bricks and mortar’ valuation.
“NatWest seeing the potential in James, coupled with FFP’s experience meant we managed to structure a deal at a level that worked for him. I’d like to thank NatWest, notably Anna Owen and Maria Fraughan, for their help in getting this deal done.
“We are proud to have been able to help him follow his dream of buying a hotel in the Conwy Valley and are sure he will enjoy many happy years here.”