Hastings Hotels purchased the luxurious property in June 1967, and over the course of the last 50 years, under the direction of Sir William Hastings, has transformed the Culloden in size and luxury.
“I purchased The Culloden in 1967 for £100,000, which was an extensive purchase for me back then. The 1960’s were properly named the ‘Swinging 60’s’, having left the legacy of wartime rationing and other restrictions well behind. My company was engaged in reinventing itself from a major licenced trader into the hotel business, an enterprise which required knowledge of a very different type of operation.
“Once a Bishop’s Palace, when I purchased it in 1967 the Culloden was a 13 bedroom boutique hotel with a splendid reputation for luxury and was by far the best in the province. 50 years on, I am proud to say this reputation has stood the test of time and the Culloden Estate & Spa remains Northern Ireland’s foremost five star hotel with 98 bedrooms and suites, an ESPA spa and health-club, a superb ballroom, conference facilities and meeting rooms and the Cultra Inn,” Sir William continued.
“I would like to pay tribute to the wonderful staff who have worked tirelessly over the last 50 years. To my first general manager Hugh Margey, a young hospitality graduate from the University College Dublin and to the current general manager, Eoin O’Sullivan and his wonderful team who I am indebted to for their hard work and dedication. It is by their efforts that ensures the Culloden continues to attract guests from around the world and pick up prestigious accolades most recently being named Luxury Hotel of the Year at this year’s Irish Hotel Awards and highly commended at the first ever Georgina Campbell Breakfast Awards in the Best 5-Star Hotel category,” Sir William said.
“My marriage in 1960 produced four children and I am thrilled to be celebrating the golden years of this splendid hotel with my family, who are all now fully engaged in the management of Hastings Hotels. My four children, Julie, Howard, Allyson and Aileen each have their own responsibilities within the company and work determinedly for the six hotels.
“Over the last 50 years we have continuously invested in the Culloden and are delighted to mark its golden anniversary. The last 50 years have shown good and bad times and so it is a delight for me to enjoy the wonderful celebratory occasion and to stand proud in the knowledge that the Culloden is trading well and trading profitability with a well-grounded reputation that will allow it to be successful in our fast moving industry today and the years ahead.
“I am proud to say that the Culloden Estate & Spa was once built for a Bishop but is now truly fit for a king,” Sir William concluded.
For more on the hotel, read Culloden Estate and Spa, Belfast – hotel review.
With thanks to the Culloden Estate & Spa for the footage.