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Industry News

Crowne Plaza open for business

The North East’s newest luxury hotel, Crowne Plaza Newcastle – Stephenson Quarter, is open for business, bringing a fantastic leisure, spa and business facility to the heart of Newcastle. The hotel welcomed its first guests at the beginning of September after a successful two-year construction project led by developers, Clouston Group. Situated in a prime location behind Newcastle’s Central Station, the impressive seven-storey building boasts a magnificent 25m glass atrium which provides panoramic views of the city from almost all levels.

The hotel’s unique character pays homage to the historic site on which it stands – Stephenson Quarter was home to the Robert Stephenson and Co. Locomotive Works, the crucible of the railway industry, where the revolutionary Rocket was built in 1829.

Also now welcoming customers is the hotel’s restaurant Hawthorns – a chic brasserie which serves Northern British cuisine made from locally sourced produce – and The GIN Bar which offers customers the opportunity to ‘engineer’ their own Martini; choosing the liquor, the garnish, the vermouth and the way it is mixed and served… there’s over 20,000 combinations.

The hotel aims to offer a sanctuary in the city through its luxury spa, pool and gymnasium, Mineral House. Facilities include a 10-metre feature pool, spa pool, steam room, TechnoGym and three treatment rooms.

And for corporate visitors, the conferencing and events facilities at Crowne Plaza Newcastle are among the best in the business. The 12-sided Stephenson Suite seats and caters for 360 people and a further eight adaptable meeting rooms are available for smaller meetings and events.

Andrew Fox, General Manager, said: “The operational team and I have been working behind the scenes on site for over six months and have witnessed the amazing transformation from a building site to a luxury hotel. We’ve already welcomed our first guests and it’s an absolute pleasure to see people enjoying the facilities.

“It’s an exciting time to be opening our doors as we prepare to host guests for huge sporting events such as the Rugby World Cup 2015 in October. We’re also gearing up for Christmas and are busy taking party bookings and planning our festive menus and entertainment packages.

“We’re off to a fantastic start with a steady stream of customers for both our bedrooms and conference facilities and I’m looking forward to hosting many more over the coming months.”

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Two way tourism boost

Spain’s leading low cost airline Vueling has this week announced its first ever service to Newcastle International Airport from Barcelona for summer 2016. From next March, Vueling will operate two weekly flights on a Tuesday and Friday, which increases to three weekly flights from June with an additional Sunday service. This new service from Vueling, which is part of IAG (owner of British Airways), will provide extra choice and more opportunity for Spanish visitors to fly directly into the region as well as greater choice and connectivity for North East travellers

In the summer, flights depart from Barcelona at 11:10 and from Newcastle at 13:50 and are operated using an Airbus A320 with capacity for 180 passengers.  Fares currently start from as low as £80.32 return including taxes.

Vueling, the largest airline operating from Barcelona El Prat Airport and part of the International Airlines Group (IAG), owner of British Airways, Iberia and now Aer Lingus, covers close to 300 routes across more than 130 cities in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, with a fleet of Airbus aircraft.

Leon McQuaid, Aviation Development Manager at Newcastle International Airport, said: “We are delighted to welcome Vueling Airlines to Newcastle Airport for summer 2016, providing further choice for customers looking to visit Barcelona at affordable fares.

“We look forward to seeing many more passengers travelling to this exciting city and also connecting on to Vueling’s extensive route network to destinations such as Madrid, Seville and Bilbao. As well as anticipating further growth in outbound tourism we also expect this service to deliver a significant increase of inbound traffic to the region.”

Councillor Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council and lead of the LA7 shareholders, said: “On behalf of the Local Authority shareholders, I am delighted to welcome Vueling Airlines to the North East and secure this new service to Barcelona.

“This new service will allow extra choice and more opportunity for Spanish visitors to fly directly into the region, while providing easy and affordable access to the many attractions on offer.”

Sarah Stewart, Chief Executive of the Newcastle Gateshead Initiative, added: “International visitors to the region contribute significantly to the local visitor economy, which currently stands at £1.4bn in NewcastleGateshead alone.

“We have a wide range of attractions here in North East England that we know appeal to global visitors - from the World Heritage Sites such as Durham Castle and Cathedral, to the Northumberland Coast which is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and of course our cultural attractions and icons, like the Angel of The North here in NewcastleGateshead.”

Flights are on sale now through  and also travel agents.

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Rocket ready for takeoff

Stephenson Quarter’s most recent development, The Rocket, is now open and available for occupation. The Rocket is a high-specification office building providing 35,000 sq ft of grade A space standing alongside the Crowne Plaza Newcastle and a stone’s throw from the unique cultural events space, The Boiler Shop. Hosting three floors of 10,100 sq ft – 13,100 sq ft flexible office space with generous south-facing balconies and panoramic views across the Tyne, the Rocket sits on top of a brand-new 360-space, multi-storey car park.

Stephenson Quarter is arguably Newcastle’s most historic site. The site was home to the Robert Stephenson and Co. Locomotive Works, the crucible of the railway industry, where the revolutionary Rocket was built in 1829.

The £200m mixed-use development, with phase one now complete, comprises of The Rocket office building, a seven-storey Crowne Plaza hotel and a multi-storey car park. Phase two will see Stephenson House, 120,000 sq ft of grade A office space added to the 10-acre site.

To find out more about The Rocket and opportunities for occupancy, please contact Catherine Walker or Jennifer Hartley in the Invest Newcastle team.

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