Aberdeen’s Northern Hotel has announced a post-pandemic recovery plan as it prepares to reopen for life after Covid-19.
The hotel in Great Northern Road is completing a major refurbishment, while changes to its food and drink offering will see the restaurant leased out to an external operator.
Dating from 1938, the Northern Hotel has been owned and operated by the Finnie family since the early 90s.
Its distinctive architecture, based on an ocean liner, with unique Art Deco styling, made it a city landmark.
Now headed up by Steven Finnie, the son of the original owner Colin Finnie, who passed away in 2019, the Northern Hotel has teamed up with a specialist commercial property firm, Drysdale & Co, committed to helping hospitality businesses recover from the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic.
Under their guidance, a new operator will take on the food and drink enterprise, creating a branded restaurant which it is hoped will attract new trade.
Steven and his team are in the process of completing a pre-pandemic refurbishment plan which sees them carrying out a significant upgrade of 32 of the property’s bedrooms, along with some public areas.
“We’re very excited to reveal our plans,” said Steven. “Contracting out the restaurant will give it a new lease of life, boosting profitability, and enable my team and I to concentrate on our hotel guests and events trade. Drysdale & Co are the experts in this field, and we are delighted to be working with them.”
“Their advice and support have been invaluable at this time.”
Steven said the hotel has played throughout the pandemic, working with Aberdeen City Council to house people affected by the economic downturn and other challenges presented by Covid-19.
“Since April 2020, we’ve been delighted to support the council in looking after those affected by the pandemic, some of whom were homeless, and others who were in council accommodation who have had to be housed here temporarily,”he said.
At last we have dates to look forward to and some planning for business to get back open and loved ones to meet up again. 😊
“This partnership has enabled our business to survive what has been a very difficult year, safeguarding this unique Grade A listed building which could well have been lost to the city.
“We are proud to have taken care of these people. For those who were without housing, they are now warm, fed and comfortable.
“Others have been able to access help more efficiently from the system, whilst living here in a settled and supported way. With continuing support from the authorities, we may actually have helped people turn their lives around. It’s perhaps one positive that has come out of this terrible pandemic.”
Steven continued by saying that the arrangement would be drawing to a close in the summer, and the hotel would be returning to its usual trading, welcoming and looking after paying guests.
“We’re still an independently owned and operated hotel, with a proud history in Aberdeen, and we intend to stay that way for some considerable time to come, having remained open throughout the pandemic,” said Steven.
“We all must look to the future and do what we can to rebuild our economy, and our City.”
Drysdale & Co director Alex McKie said: “Steven and his team at The Northern Hotel are to be commended for showing resilience in very challenging times.
“The food and beverage operation here is on a significant scale, and will attract some very interesting business propositions to breathe even more new life into this fine establishment.”