AN EXTENSIVE refurb has given an interesting and historic venue in the heart of Romsey a new lease of life.

The new look White Horse Hotel was officially reopened following the refit on May 20.

The honours were performed by the Mayor of Romsey, Councillor Neil Gwynne, who cut a ribbon and pulled the first pint in the newly refurbished bar, accompanied by general manager Nikita Viljoen and the Romsey Town Crier, Terry Harmer.

READ MORE: The White Horse Hotel, Romsey sold after money laundering inquiry

The hotel, which has been Romsey’s best-known inn since medieval times, was acquired by the Coaching Inn Group, which operates 23 hotels and coaching inns across the country, last year.

Hampshire Chronicle: Councillor Neil Gwynne pulling a pint in the newly refurbished bar

The group has been carrying a phased programme of upgrade works, including adding accommodation and a function room.

But up until 2019, the hotel was at the centre of an eight-year investigation into money laundering.

The National Crime Agency had uncovered a network that saw hundreds of millions of pounds transferred through more than 100 bank accounts.

Now, the 600-year-old former coaching inn looks set to leave its murky past behind, with the new owners seeking to integrate the Grade II Listed building back into the heart of the community.

As well as the makeover, a new walk-in coffee shop has been created and the business has been investing in its staff.

Kevin Charity, chief executive officer of the Coaching Inn Group, said: “We’ve become a very people centred business, constantly refining our 'hospitality from the heart' culture.

"We’re focussed at looking at what we can do better and how we as a management team can serve our people."

SEE ALSO: Mystery surrounds the future of The White Horse Hotel & Brasserie

Staff at the White Horse also benefit from the group’s InnSpire programme, which encourages members to rise to the next stage by gaining hospitality industry qualifications.

“We also have our chef's academy, which again encourages all those in the kitchen teams to advance though seeking further qualifications and organises visits to market gardens, farms and our other quality food sources,” said Kevin.

“The group highly values its enthusiastic team members and its additional comprehensive programme of staff benefits was a token of its on-going appreciation.”

The group jumped from 44 to 21 in the Top 100 Best Large Companies to Work for in 2021.

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