Adair Arms Launch
The Official launch of a new era of The Adair Arms Hotel
Illuminating the character of yesterday and capturing the ambience of today, it is an exciting era for the Adair Arms Hotel.
First Minister Peter Robinson with Eugene and Catherine McKeever
Thursday 24th May 2012 saw the official launch of the new look Adair Arms Hotel in the heart of Ballymena. Eugene and Catherine McKeever, owners of the Adair Arms Hotel which is part of the McKeever Hotel Group, invited the Mayor of Ballymena, Councillor Hubert Nicholl, Mrs Diane Poole O.B.E. Chair of the Causeway Coast and Glens and many guests from Ballymena and surrounding areas to a special breakfast to mark the occasion.
L-R Thomas McKillen (President Ballymena Chamber of Commerce), Catherine and Eugene McKeever (Adair Arms Hotel), Diane Poole OBE (Chair Causeway Coast and Glens Tourism Partnership) and Hubert Nicholl (Mayor of Ballymena)
Since 1846, the Adair Arms Hotel has proudly stood in the centre of the popular and busy town of Ballymena. The hotel was originally built by Sir Robert Adair and was designed by Sir Charles Lanyon, who was responsible for many well known buildings in Northern Ireland, such as the prestigious Queen’s University in Belfast, the Crumlin Road Courthouse and Gaol, the Union Theological College in Botanic Avenue and the Palm House in Botanic Gardens, Belfast.
The renovations and refurbishments have taken 18 months at a cost of £2M and have not only secured the jobs of the existing staff, but will create an additional 10 jobs in the next twelve months.
A luxurious bedroom in the new look Adair Arms Hotel
Throughout the process, local designers, planners and builders have been used to help sensitively redevelop the hotel, retaining the original charm of the beautifully gabled façade constructed in basalt and Dungannon sandstone. Many modern conveniences have been added, including a magnificent 200 seater banqueting suite and conference room, newly designed bedrooms, each of which are unique and emphasise the character of the original building. A new entrance, reception, lift, staircase and grill bar have also been added.
The superb new bar
But the characteristics and comfort of a family run hotel still prevail. From the Adair family, the original owners to the McKeever family, the current owners, the attention to detail and personal service can be experienced throughout every aspect of the hotel, from the reception to the relaxing bedrooms. The lobby, bar and grill areas, which incorporate lots of stonework, cosy booths, sumptuous carpeting and beautiful lighting now offers customers an extensive selection from light snacks to main meals all day, every day.
The new grill area ready for business
There is no doubt that the Adair Arms Hotel will continue to play an important role in the proud history of Ballymena for many years to come.
Speaking at the official launch Eugene McKeever said, “We are extremely pleased with the work done to the hotel and proud that it will continue to play an important part in the life of Ballymena. The beautiful façade, that so many people through the years are familiar with, will remain and the renovations mean that the hotel can continue to provide the people of Ballymena and visiting tourists and guests with a warm welcome and a enjoyable, comfortable and memorable visit.”
The Mayor of Ballymena, Councillor Hubert Nicholl commented, “It gives me great pleasure to be with you all this morning in the beautifully renovated Adair Arms Hotel, one of our family run businesses in the town and I would congratulate Eugene and Catherine McKeever on the magnificent job they have done”.
He continued, “Ballymena Borough also has a strong, growing economic base and due to its proximity to air and sea ports offers a prime location for future business investment. The investment in the development of the Adair Arms helps strengthen our local economy, not only through job creation, but by improving the offering to the local community, businesses and visitors to the town.”
Diane Poole O.B.E., Chair of the Causeway Coast and Glens Tourism Partnership added, “It is my pleasure to congratulate Eugene and Catherine and everyone involved in the redevelopment of this beautiful hotel, which now offers an extremely high standard of accommodation in the region. We are committed to the positive development of our tourism offering in the Causeway Coast and Glens and at a time when Northern Ireland is in the spotlight for all the right reasons, with Titanic Belfast, the Causeway Visitors Centre and the Irish Open to name a few, the Adair Arms Hotel will play an important part in our tourism offering”.
The McKeever Group
Purchased in 1993 as a bar and restaurant. Thirty bedrooms were added during refurbishment in 1997. Following further refurbishment at a cost of £3.5m, the hotel re-opened in 2008 with an additional 38 bedrooms, a function suite for 200 people and eight conference rooms.
The Dunsilly Arms public house near Antrim was added to the portfolio in 1999. This was subsequently developed as a 40-bedroom hotel with a bar and restaurant, opening in 2005 under the Comfort Hotels brand. The hotel dropped Comfort Hotels branding in 2009.
The Adair Arms
Purchased in January 2010, this was the group’s first town centre property. Around £500,000 was immediately spent to modernise the building’s plumbing and wiring, refurbish the function room and re-locate the grill bar. A second round of upgrade work – which is also now complete – saw the refurbishment of 16 bedrooms. Phase three involved the creation of a new reception, lobby and entrance; the installation of a lift, new public bar, lounge area and grill room, not to mention the complete renovation of the remaining bedrooms.