Nestled within the historic city walls, in the heart of Derry City’s Cathedral Quarter, Bishop’s Gate Hotel, which recently celebrated its first birthday, is thanking its customers and the wider public for the wave of industry awards and accolades that the business has secured in its first year of trading.
Ciaran O’Neill, operator of Bishop’s Gate and President of the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation discusses some of the achievements: “I think it’s important to recognise the role that our customers and the wider public have had in bestowing these awards and accolades upon our boutique hotel. They span a wide range of business aspects and are a testament to the tremendous efforts of our staff and business associates, who strive to deliver an exceptional hotel experience. It’s clear that our guests are sharing their views with friends, colleagues and indeed other potential visitors.”
Earlier this year TripAdvisor unveiled the UK’s top 25 rated hotels in the annual Travellers’ Choice Awards, and Bishop’s Gate in Derry-Londonderry took second place on this coveted list. The hotel recently featured in The Irish Times – ‘100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland’, and it’s also been voted ‘Hideaway of the Year’ in a Georgina Campbell hospitality guide. Georgina is one of Ireland’s leading food and hospitality writers.
One year on since opening Derry-Londonderry’s first boutique hotel, Ciaran O’Neill explains why local recognition is so important: “The majority of our staff and management team are originally from the city and have worked in the hospitality sector for almost all of their careers, honing and developing their skills.
“Like me, they are very proud of what’s been achieved at Bishop’s Gate Hotel and receiving recognition within the sector is very important. At the Northern Ireland Tourism Awards in May we won ‘Most Promising New Tourism Business’ and the hotel was highly commended in the ‘Hotel of the Year’ category.
“Our talented receptionist Laura Curran won the NI Hotels Federation ‘Hotel Receptionist of the Year 2017’, while her colleague Stephanie McCarron was voted runner up.
“In May, at the North West Business Awards we were named as ‘Guest Accommodation Provider of the Year’ which was also a real honour. It’s been a spectacular year for the local hospitality sector and we were competing against a strong line-up of wonderful properties, so naturally we were thrilled to win.”
The overall design of Bishop’s Gate Hotel has also captured the attention of those who recognise the importance of aesthetics as Ciaran explains: “When you are creating a boutique hotel experience there are so many aspects to consider and the fact that Bishop’s Gate Hotel is a Grade B1 listed building was a very important factor in the whole design process. The building, which is situated in the heart of Derry’s Cathedral Quarter dates back to 1899.
“It was important to sensitively restore the fabric of the building to its Edwardian grandeur. When I received notification that Bishop’s Gate Hotel was shortlisted in the prestigious RIAI Irish Architecture Awards 2017 in the Restoration / Conservation category and in the ‘Public Choice’ Award I was ecstatic. The RIAI Irish Architecture Awards are the premier architectural awards in Ireland and they recognise excellence in design and the contribution made by architecture to society for everyone’s benefit”.
A further endorsement from this sector came when The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) presented the prestigious ‘Tourism and Leisure’ Award to Bishop’s Gate Hotel on Thursday 25 May.
Ciaran reflects on the year and what’s in store for the future: “Bishop’s Gate hotel has welcomed over 15,000 guests since opening its doors last March. We’ve exceeded both occupancy and business targets and we’re going from strength to strength. We strive to ensure every visit is special, whether it is a formal occasion such as a wedding or simply friends enjoying lunch or afternoon tea in The Wig & Gown Champagne Bar & Grill, which is fast becoming a destination restaurant. Delivering the best accommodation, food and service is our priority and we will continue to work tirelessly to provide experiences that exceed expectations.”