A POPULAR County Durham spa hotel has been sold.

North of England Estates (NOEE) has bought the The Morritt Spa Hotel at Greta Bridge near Barnard Castle for an undisclosed sum.

NOEE also owns the Hall Garth Hotel and Country Club, in Darlington.

Barbara Johnson and Peter Phillips took over the former coaching inn in 1994 and have successfully developed it into a four star hotel with a two rosette dining award, modern banqueting facilities, new spa and gardens.

Peter Bean, Hotels Director at Colliers, who advised the vendors on the sale, said: “I have watched the Morritt grow into a first class business with a marvellous combination of modern facilities and timeless charm.

“The icing on the cake for all those running the operation was the recent award of small ‘Hotel of the Year’ at the North East England Tourism Awards in Newcastle, which they share with Seaham Hall.”

Nigel Galvin, Operations Director at North of England Estates added: “We are delighted to have acquired the Morritt and whilst Barbara and Peter step away the wonderful team they have built remains and its business as usual at this classic country hotel.”