The property, located within the grounds of the Vale Resort, was officially opened last week (20 May), with the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates unveiling a commemorative plaque. It had been closed to the public for almost a decade until 2014, when it was opened for events and weddings for the first time.
Work has included a complete upgrade of the castle conference rooms and the construction of a new, purpose-built Courtyard Hall, capable of hosting 320 delegates theatre-style and 200 delegates banquet-style. This is complemented by five smaller meeting rooms in the castle itself, which can host between 10-100 delegates per room theatre-style.
Phase two of the £10 million investment will include adding up to 30 bedrooms and a top-end restaurant with 120 covers, and is expected to be open by late 2016.
The Vale Resort has also invested £1 million in upgrading its 143-bedrooms, including installing new bathrooms together with upgrading soft furnishings, taking the total investment at the resort within the last year to £11 million.
Stephen Leeke, managing director of the Vale Resort, said: "The redevelopment of the castle has been one of the most important investments the Vale Resort has made to further strengthen its facilities. The historic castle adds another string to our bow by providing an alternative option from our current contemporary offering at the Vale Resort. Event organisers can now choose from two very different venues that offer a combined total of 18 conference and meeting suites."
He added that the conference and events market is an important revenue stream for the Vale Resort, currently representing 25% of its business. Since announcing the new refurbishment, the property has had interest from businesses such as British Gas, Princes Gate, the Royal Mint and a number of medical and pharmaceutical companies.
Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates, said: "Hensol Castle gives the Vale Resort something very unique to offer their business clients. It is a high quality development which makes the most of the site’s heritage and culture, giving its clients a top end experience and a piece of the area’s heritage a new lease of life."
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