WORK has started on a £15m expansion of one of the region's most famous hotels. 

Ramside Hall Hotel and Golf Club near Durham City celebrates its golden anniversary this year and recorded another milestone as builders moved on site to start work on a major extension including 47 new guest bedrooms and a 32,500 sq ft luxury spa.

Achitects Padgett White of Hunwick, and Northallerton-based builder Walter Thompson, combined on the project, which is the second phase of redevelopment at Ramside. 

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Two years ago, the hotel started work on a new 18-hole golf course with facilities which owners hoped would rival The Belfry, Celtic Manor or Gleneagles, and secured planning permission to build executive homes overlooking the site.

As the first soil was dug on the latest development, John Adamson, Ramside's group managing director, said: “We’ve had the plans for the hotel extension and a world class spa in the pipeline for six years, so I’m delighted that work has finally started on site.

“We’ve travelled far and wide for to gather our inspiration and visited some of the best spa hotels in the UK and beyond. With the opening of our new 18 hole golf course this summer and the addition of a luxurious spa in 2015, Ramside Hall will be the biggest and leading spa resort hotel in the North of England,” he said. 

The spa will include a 25 metre swimming pool, therapy pools including a rooftop hydro pool, treatment and relaxation rooms, as well as a gym and aerobic studio, hair salon and Asian restaurant.

Christopher Padgett, director of Padgett White said: “We’ve worked with the Ramside Group for more than 15 years and this is the biggest and most impressive development we’ve collaborated on to date.

“The additional 47 bedrooms will be a seamless addition to the existing hotel whilst the luxury spa will add real wow factor and make a major statement about Ramside Hall.”

Building work is expected to be completed in time for a May 2015 opening.

Paul Hammerton, construction and operations director at Walter Thompson said: “We have moved on site to start work and are thrilled to be involved in the construction of such a landmark development.”