Wrea Green hotel expands capacity

The Villa, the luxury hotel based at Wrea Green, has opened a permanent function room that will add to the venue's increasingly popular wedding offering.

[caption id="attachment_25819" align="f-align-medium-right f-align-center" width="269"]Dale Lawrenson, Simon Rigby and Michael Darch Dale Lawrenson, Simon Rigby and Michael Darch[/caption]

The Villa had undergone a series of substantial improvements since being taken over by  entrepreneur Simon Rigby in 2010.

At the time, Simon purchased additional farmland around the property with a view to add to the predominantly weekday focus on business customers by creating a weekend wedding and holiday destination. The investment included conversion of staff quarters into luxury suites and a semi-permanent pavilion.

Hosting 104 weddings in 2012 (compared to 37 in 2010), The Villa has quickly become the Fylde Coast’s leading wedding venue.

Group finance director, Michael Darch, said: “As a team we have invested heavily in the re-brand and expansion of The Villa as well as its customer offering, our business performance shows this. As Simon had purchased the surrounding farmland, we had a fantastic opportunity to develop and expand the site to create something truly wonderful for our guests.”

To support the second phase of the site’s development, Simon and Michael worked with Dale Lawrenson, senior relationship manager at NatWest’s Fylde office to access the £2m loan. This enabled the construction of a permanent pavilion, a new function suite and a landscaped wedding garden together with dedicated kitchens, banqueting and staff facilities which have increased the function capacity to 350.

The extra facilities will also see the business open up its function offer to christenings, funerals, fashion shows, conferences and entertainment events. By separating the function facilities from the restaurant, bar and public areas, the development has also increased the hotel’s capacity from 140 on acquisition to over 500 guests. Since taking over the business Simon has more than doubled his full-time team from 9 to 20, with 50 part-time staff. Turnover has risen from £1.4m in its first year to more than £2m today.