The reopening of one of Worthing's favourite hotels has finally been given a date after months of speculation.
Highdown Hotel was bought in October last year by hospitality company Brunning and Price and closed for refurbishments the following month.
The developer confirmed it would be retaining the tea rooms, which were controversially closed last July, in an attempt at 'sensitively marrying up the old and the new'.
With refurbishments now almost complete, the hotel is taking bookings for its 13 bedrooms with a proposed opening date of Tuesday, February 26.
A new manager, Tom Foster, has been installed at the helm after more than six years with the company and the new skipper said he is ready to 'put down some firm roots' in Goring with his wife and two-week-old child. The family will live on-site, above the pub at the hotel.
"It will be great to get to know everyone," he said.
"Already I have interviewed so many local people and I’ve loved hearing stories of old from the Highdown. Nikki, who was the assistant manager with the last owners, is staying with us and it has been great to have her on hand to help me find my feet.
"She will be joined by Josh who currently works in the Fox Revived, a sister pub to the Highdown just up the road in Norwood Hill. He will take up the position of deputy manager, whilst Elodie, who works at the Old Courthouse in Cheltenham, will also move to Highdown to be an assistant manager."
You can see how the renovations are progressing in this picture gallery: Highdown Hotel: Take a peek behind the scenes of the renovations at Worthing's The Highdown
Tom said a new head chef has been recruited, Dean Kean. Dean was trained in the armed forces but has been working for many years as head chef at the Bolney Stage in Haywards Heath.
The next stage is to recruit around 40 local people to work in the bar, kitchen, maintenance roles and as waiting staff.
"I’m thrilled with how the building is looking and excited to see what everyone thinks when they walk through the door," he said.
"I’m keen to get to know local suppliers as we have a wealth on our doorstep and I can’t wait to find out more about the local ales and wines and hope that we can work together in the future to host tasting evenings and sampling occasions.’’
As well as the tea rooms, upstairs will house a private dining room that seats 14 guests, as well as a ladies toilet boasting sea views. The men's toilets lack a similar view, but are housed in one of the building's famous turrets.
Each of the 13 bedrooms is uniquely designed, and can be booked online at www.thehighdown.co.uk
All job vacancies are also displayed on this website and to apply, for any role, applicants can send a CV with a covering letter to firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more about the Highdown takeover here: