We visit the historic Black Country hotel as it unveils a massive new makeover

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A renowned Black Country hotel has undergone a spectacular transformation - join us as we take a look around

Himley House – the hotel described as a Black Country “sleeping giant” – has risen brighter and bolder.

Following a major, four month renovation – management are coy about costings, but they run into six figures – the new look Grade II listed building was officially unveiled on Friday (April 19).

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Blazing sunshine heralded the new beginning and the ribbon was cut by Kingswinford Royal British Legion members John Bennett, David Pritchard, George Fox and Dave Cooper. Their starring role was a thank you by Chef and Brewer, pub chain owners of the hotel. The RBL allowed staff to train at its premises while the building was closed.

And those staff numbers have nearly doubled, from 35 to 60, as a result of the refurbishment. The hotel, built in the 1700s to service neighbouring Himley Hall, now boasts 21 bedrooms, a function room, lavish gardens, restaurant, bar with real ales and an extensive menu designed to reflect the seasons.

Historic Black Country hotel undergoes massive makeover unveiled by manager Andrew ColleyHistoric Black Country hotel undergoes massive makeover unveiled by manager Andrew Colley
Historic Black Country hotel undergoes massive makeover unveiled by manager Andrew Colley | Express and Star

A tabled terrace means over 130 diners can be accommodated, with chef Connor co-ordinating the kitchen. Members of the public present at the re-opening welcomed the TLC lavished on Himley House and were of the same opinion: it used to be THE place to visit, but had become tired. It had lost its lofty status. It cried out for renovation.

And that renovation goes far beyond paint and wallpaper. Himley House is back to its 1970s and ‘80s pomp. It has, management agreed, failed to realise its potential as a conference and wedding venue and the changes have made the hotel more inviting for both.

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Inside the new bar area at Himley House with staff members Kaitlyn Stainer and Ash KnightInside the new bar area at Himley House with staff members Kaitlyn Stainer and Ash Knight
Inside the new bar area at Himley House with staff members Kaitlyn Stainer and Ash Knight | Express and Star

It certainly ticks all the boxes. Himley House, close to Stourbridge, is a very short drive from Wolverhampton and the Black Country conurbation, it’s surrounded by rolling South Staffordshire countryside and oozes history: underground tunnels still connect the hotel with Himley Hall.

“People we spoke to wanted the place to be the pride of the area again,” said general manager Andrew Colley. “They saw it as a bit of a sleepy giant. I’m from the area, I know it used to be the place to go. We’re really happy to see it transformed.”

Rachel Flatley, Chef and Brewer marketing manager, said: “We want it to be a hub of the community – a place to come together. Like any old building, it needed TLC, but it had to be sympathetically done.”

Kara Hegarty and Neil Shepherd have more than 31 years of experience at Himley House and will be part of the team, which includes 30 new startersKara Hegarty and Neil Shepherd have more than 31 years of experience at Himley House and will be part of the team, which includes 30 new starters
Kara Hegarty and Neil Shepherd have more than 31 years of experience at Himley House and will be part of the team, which includes 30 new starters | Express and Star

The end product is a family friendly establishment now armed with the facilities needed to thrive in the 2020s. The attraction for businesses and those planning weddings is dazzlingly clear. For those simply wanting a relaxing break, there are a number of nearby nature trails.

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I was mightily impressed – and the menus look particularly impressive. Sunday lunches at Himley House should be special. And those meals can be taken on the lawns – a strong selling point during the sun-drenched months to come. Himley House was asleep.Following a substantial cash injection, it is now fully awake and fitter than ever.

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