King’s Arms to reopen next month

One of the refurbished bedrooms at the Kings Arms Hotel on Hide Hill. Picture by Kimberley Powell
One of the refurbished bedrooms at the Kings Arms Hotel on Hide Hill. Picture by Kimberley Powell

One of Berwick’s traditional hotels, which has put up guests and entertained locals for centuries, is set to re-open.

The King’s Arms on Hide Hill will open up its 20 bedrooms later this month.

It had been closed for nearly a year, undergoing a massive internal renovation for much of that time.

In a report to planners in August last year, David Kershan of Alston Murphy Associates, said: “The alterations are required to reverse the decline that the hotel has suffered in recent years and to improve its attractiveness to visitors. They form the first part of a programme of investment designed to secure the future of the hotel.”

Trainee manager Alex Docherty will be taking care of the hotel side of the business.

Originally from Newcastle, Alex said that managing in Berwick would be a very different challenge to her previous role.

“I previously worked in the Surtees Hotel in the city,” she said.

“This is very exciting though. It’s been a rare chance, with the renovation work that’s been going on, to actually say ‘Oh, we need this,’ or ‘We could do with that’ at such an early stage, rather than adapting afterwards.”

Alex, who is still recruiting staff, hopes that the refurbished hotel will attract a mix of both guests and members of the public, with its bars, function rooms and coffee lounge.

It will also cater for evening meals.

The Newcastle chain Sambuca’s are taking up residence in the downstairs restaurant, offering a taste of Italian cuisine.

“That’s going to be great,” said Alex. “We’re not quite finished with the refurbishment, either.

“We’ve got a lovely garden space out the back, so that will hopefully become outside seating for the restaurant.

“And we are going to be doing up the front of the hotel as well, as that has gotten a bit shabby.”

Alex, who envisages a staff of around seven working under her, is also looking forward to being able to offer the hotel as a venue for weddings and other occasions.

“We definitely have the space,” she said, “and with the garden, the function rooms and the lovely wide staircases, it can be absolutely beautiful.”