Elliot, who joined the County Durham-based golf and spa resort at the end of last year, is overseeing the development of the Spa Garden, a 200 square metre space offering two outdoor hot pools, lounging areas, a traditional glass-fronted sauna cabin and landscaped gardens which will sit adjacent to its existing spa.
Work has just started on the new facility, which is expected to open in the autumn when it will be available to hotel guests and for private hire.
Elliott, the former Jersey Grand general manager, told BigHospitality the Spa Garden would help give the 61-bedroom hotel a ‘USP over anything else north of London’, but was just part of the plan to elevate the hotel further.
“The spa is a huge part of the property here and a major attraction for people coming. It has won so many accolades and it’s a huge part of the future, which is why we have invested so much in it,” he said.
“But Rockliffe is a multi-faceted building, we have an amazing golf course here and so many different F&B outlets that it is not the only thing we will focus on.”
Elliott said the arrival of chef Richard Allen, formerly executive chef at the Michelin-starred Tassili restaurant at the Grand Jersey hotel, as executive head chef of the hotel’s The Orangery restaurant this week marked a new phase in its F&B offering.
“We will see further investment in this area this year,” he said.
“Richard is a Michelin-starred chef and is going to put a serious stamp on the food offering here at the Orangery and the hotel’s different food outlets.”
Elliott said the hotel was also planning to host its first live play and host a number of events, such as a lunch with Calendar Girl Angela Baker.
“These are just a few of the exciting plans we have for the next two or three years,” he said.
“We are very lucky. Of the 250 people working here, many are local to Darlington and I think Steve Gibson and Warwick Brindle have created something unique in the North East. I feel very fortunate to be a part of it.”
Brindle, chairman of Rockliffe Hall added: “The investment marks the start of an exciting growth phase for our resort with big plans for the coming year as we continue to strive to increase both business and leisure tourism in the region.”