A historic South Shields pub landmark is set to become a unique hotel attraction through a £500,000 transformation.
The Marsden Grotto’s new owner plans to invest heavily to convert its barren first floor into 10 high-quality bedrooms.
Terry Maughan, 50, boss of Northumberland Castle and Country Lodgings Ltd, aims to open next summer, creating several jobs.
His venture will see guests wake to stunning views over world-famous Marsden Beach.
He intends to create the bedrooms from scratch in a part of the Grotto which was last used as a restaurant and is currently one large open area.
The ground floor will continue to trade as a seafood restaurant and public bar, as it has since he bought and reopened the venue before Easter.
He said: “I’d been to the Grotto as a kid and had returned a few times as an adult, and always thought there was something missing. On my last visit, I saw the full potential and realised what a great venue it would be for a hotel.
“There’s a great deal of history to the place.
“There are currently no bedrooms, the first floor is a shell and we have a blank canvas to work from.
“We are still working on the plans but it will be a hotel of quality.”
The Gazette revealed in February how the then owners of the Grotto had been ordered to clear up its exterior, which had fallen into disrepair since closure in December.
But Terry, who runs his business with his wife Heather, stepped in to buy and re-open the Grotto, bringing it new trading success.
The couple already own The Sun Hotel at Warkworth and the Manor House Hotel on Holy Island, both Northumberland.
He added: “It had gone to rack and ruin and there had been some issues with windows being smashed, but we see this as a long-term project.
“We estimate investing around half a million pounds to get the rooms developed and opened. I don’t yet know how many jobs will be created but we will need staff including cleaners.”
Plans lodged with South Tyneside Council, which are open to public comment until July 27, request a change of premises use only so that the Grotto can open as a hotel.
A second planning application, detailing necessary interior work, is expected to follow.