Gillian Anderson (Local Democracy Reporter)
Elephant Rock - a new 4-star family owned hotel bringing style and luxury to the North Coast
Stylish, opulent and luxurious are just a few adjectives to describe the north coast’s newest hotel, Elephant Rock, which will open to guests in Portrush next month following a £2.3m investment.
The 18-bedroom, four-star family owned boutique hotel has been extensively renovated to bring a brand of sleek sophisticated glamour to the Causeway Coast, making it the perfect location for a getaway for both tourists and locals alike.
Situated in Lansdowne Crescent, Portrush looking across to Whiterocks Beach, the Skerries and beyond to the Giant’s Causeway, this luxury hotel has a stylish and modern restaurant and cocktail bar which sits proudly on the first floor with beautiful views over the Atlantic Ocean.
The intimate 30-seater restaurant will offer local produce prepared to the highest quality, with drinks and service to match.
This elegant dining room features plush blue velvet chairs and marble-topped café tables, set amongst white textured walls and in milder weather, guests can also dine on the front terrace, enjoying uninterrupted ocean views.
Certain to be a talking point will be the elegant art deco cocktail lounge. The bar’s bold starburst design pays homage to the roaring 20s, mixing marble, metal and eglomised mirror.
Offering casual dining and drinks is Vi’s at Elephant Rock. This intimate covered terrace features lush, wall-to-wall greenery.
The bright and airy lounge space features vibrant greens and oranges, with a dedicated kitchen area serving home-smoked small plates and rum-based cocktails. Vi’s @ Elephant Rock can also be booked for private functions from May 2022.
Elephant Rock was borne out of the imagination and passion of Portstewart woman Charlotte Dixon’s desire to provide something unique to the booming tourism industry in the picturesque coastal town of Portrush.
Her family, the Dixons are no stranger to business, having owned one of Northern Ireland’s best known and loved department stores for four generations.
Charlotte’s father, Ian described the Elephant Rock Hotel as a ‘major investment’ and a ‘vote of confidence’ in Portrush.
He said: “Charlotte spends her time between here and Manchester and it all started when she became aware that the British Legion were selling Bennett House.
“She had been looking for something closer to home to do as an investment and when she saw it was for sale she decided that was it.”
Despite the difficult times the hospitality industry has faced during the pandemic, Charlotte and her family have maintained total confidence in the project.
“We had originally planned for a late summer opening but then the building work took longer and we kept seeing more things we wanted to do so that pushed the timeline back for us,” said Ian.
“We are opening to paying guests on February 12 and hopefully this will be a better time to do so as we appear to have passed the peak of Omicron and everyone is looking forward to brighter times ahead.
“We are a small boutique hotel with 18 bedrooms, 15 double ensuite and three single ensuite so maybe people will fancy a small intimate hotel more now.
“It hasn’t been that easy but we have managed to get the key people in place and we have a very good team.”
A great deal of thought and attention to detail has been put into the decor of Elephant Rock as Ian explained:
“Charlotte has a great eye for detail and she wants it to be tip top right down to the smallest details and they are the things people notice.
“We’ve had an interior designer, Adrian Bailey, design everything from the bedrooms to the cocktail bar and dining area. The cocktail bar is all black and gold and it will have a speakeasy vibe to it.
“Then there is a rear terrace bar/kitchen which is very colourful called Vi’s. It will be much more casual there.”
Charlotte’s aim for the Elephant Rock Hotel is to make it much more than just a hotel.
“We want to run it as a luxury venue where you can go for your dinner and then move into the cocktail bar or the rear bar,” her dad continued.
“A lot of people have been telling us that the area has been crying out for somewhere like this for a long time and we want to appeal to locals as well as holiday makers.
“It will be a nice environment and a lovely place to go out for something to eat or for a drink.
“The dining area is small but it is all about quality for us. We have our Head Chef - the renowned Eddward McGarvey, so the food will be the best quality.”
With the first guests due to arrive in a fortnight, bookings have already been rolling in for the newest hotel on the scenic north coast. With the Open due to return to Royal Portrush in 2025 and some of Northern Ireland’s top tourist attractions on the doorstep, Elephant Rock hopes to become one of the most sought after hotels for golfers and visitors in the months and years to come.
“We are really looking forward to welcoming our first guest on February 12,” added Ian.
“We have some great bookings already including a number of multiple bookings.
“This is a major investment and a vote of confidence in Portrush by Charlotte. There has been an awful lot of thought put into providing much needed luxury accommodation in the area.
“We want Elephant Rock Hotel to provide a really nice venue where people can come and spend an evening and enjoy a fantastic stay.”
For more information on the hotel please visit: