Published: 06:00, 30 March 2021
| Updated: 16:02, 30 March 2021
A long-awaited £20 million hotel will finally open in Canterbury in May - more than two decades after its predecessor shut its doors.
The 129-bed Hampton by Hilton has been built on the site of the former Slatters Hotel in St Margaret’s Street, which closed in 2000.
In the years that followed, the building became an eyesore but in 2015 planning permission was secured to build a state-of-the-art hotel in its place.
And now the owners have revealed it is almost complete and is planned to welcome its first guests on May 26.
A key attraction for the hotel will be a rooftop restaurant with city-wide views but an operator for the eatery - which can be used by non-guests - has not yet been secured.
Two new retail units on the ground floor are also on the market but Zaw Htut - co-director at Slatters Developments Ltd - says the first plan of action is to get the rooms up and running.
“Everything has been going well - it’s all looking good for May,” he said.
“It’s in the last few months of construction when things really start coming together.
“The majority of the main elements of construction are all done, so it’s now the internal finishes we’re sorting at the moment - like the bedroom carpets, internal joinery and loose furniture, which will be coming in the next few weeks.
“We’ve got a couple of people interested in taking on the restaurant, so we’re advancing negotiations with them.
“We haven’t got anyone actually signed up as yet but we’ve had quite a lot interest - so that’s promising, especially considering the market conditions.
“We’ve also had enquiries about the retail units on the ground floor - no firm offers but the priority is to get the hotel open first.
“Once that’s open and we start getting some footfall, then I’m sure that’ll drive some more interest. Everyone knows the situation the retail market is in at the moment.”
The hotel will have a gym and meeting rooms, while the rooftop restaurant will have a separate entrance allowing tourists and city visitors to dine above the city.
International chain Hampton, which runs about 1,800 branches worldwide, is operating the hotel.
Reservations cannot yet be made but booking systems are set to go live in the next few weeks.
Artefacts found from an eight-month archaeological dig at the site are planned to go on show in the hotel, while a glass floor in the reception area will also showcase the remains of a Roman theatre below.
Senior roles are beginning to be filled and repaving work has begun in St Margaret’s Street as part of a scheme funded by the developers.
The hotel will be known as the Hampton by Hilton Canterbury.