A North East entrepreneur, author and screenwriter is set to make her hotelier debut as she gears up to open a Grade-II listed coach house in Northumberland as a hotel.
Julie Blackie bought The Otterburn Coach House Hotel in January 2015 and since then has extensively renovated the property into a 14-bed boutique complete with a bar and dining area.
More at home writing scripts for the likes of Hollyoaks and Casualty, Blackie’s new hotel venture marks her first foray into hospitality and she hopes to target the huge wedding market in the area.
She said: “Otterburn has become a really popular place for couples to marry, but there just wasn’t the level of overnight accommodation locally to meet demand from wedding guests.
“The Coach House will fill that gap in the market, and we’re also welcoming in parties and celebrations of our own to cater for local people and those visiting the area from further afield.
The Otterburn Coach House Hotel is set in a deer park and woodland around the former Otterburn Hall Hotel, which closed unexpectedly in 2012. The Coach House went under the hammer in January last year, when it was sold along with the hall and other buildings and will be the first of the developments to open when it launches in August.
As well as a her screenwriting career, Blackie is a former project manager with Newcastle City Council and the new Coach House venture sees her working in partnership with one of her four daughters.
The Coach House conversion will initially create five new jobs, including manager Laura Kennedy, who previously worked as assistant manager at the Newcastle-Gateshead Hilton. David Hadfield has also joined as head chef, previously from The Duck in Corbridge.
The Coach House Hotel will welcome its first guests on August 16.