Nick Holmes, who is a multi-award winning operator in golf, hotel and leisure sectors, is taking up  the post at the luxury five-star resort being developed in Hurworth, near Darlington in County Durham.

Holmes, who has been in charge of some of the most prestigious venues in the UK, will officially take his place in the hot seat later this year once he has relocated to the North East. The 51 year old, who is originally from the Wirral, said:

“Rockliffe Hall has been the talk-about new destination in the UK leisure industry over recent months. To be considered for this post is an honour for me. This is going to become the new standard-bearer for quality resort experience in the north of England, whether that is for golf, events, bedrooms or the stunning new spa being created.

“All the hard work which has gone into getting Rockliffe Hall to this stage makes my new role an immediate joy as so much has been put in place already. The next 12 months until we open will be crucial in ensuring all the planning and development is translated into the very finest quality across golf, hospitality and leisure.

“I am particularly looking forward to assembling a top class team to help make that happen. I truly believe that here in the North East, we can create one of the premier resort destinations in the UK.”

Holmes was most recently was managing director for Branston Golf and Country Club in the Midlands, a luxurious location which saw Nick and his team scoop a number of industry awards, including the prestigious FLAME fitness award for UK Club of the Year  on two separate occasions.

Before that, he also opened The Bristol Golf Club, A 250-acre upmarket golf facility in South Gloucestershire, and was also instrumental in the opening and development of five-star Cameron House on Loch Lomond in the early 90s. More recently he has been acting as an industry consultant for the likes of Studley Wood Golf Club in Oxford and Silvermere in Surrey.

Holmes, who is married to Liz, a successful Fitness Professional in her own right, and has a daughter, started life in the hotel industry in the 80s when he worked at the world famous Gleneagles in Scotland as Country Club Manager. He took his first  general management position in 1987, at the four-star deluxe resort of Craigendarroch Hotel and Country Club in Royal Deeside, popular with members of the Royal family during their summer stays at Balmoral, before becoming the group’s operations director.

Warwick Brindle, director of developers Rockliffe Hall Ltd says the appointment of Nick is a major coup. “Nick is a man in demand in this industry. Quite simply, he’s the best in the business, so I think we’re as thrilled as he is to have him here at Rockliffe Hall.

“Importantly for us, he has a wonderful understanding of the experiences visitors must enjoy when they visit a five star destination. Expectation is high and, with Nick’s attention to detail, I know he will not leave anybody in any doubt that Rockliffe Hall is a venue of the very highest order.”

Rockliffe Hall Golf is due to open in June 2009, with the opening of the five star standard hotel and luxury spa due to open later on in the year. The exclusive resort is being constructed with the existing 18th Century country house at its core, with sympathetic restoration and extension of the hall to create a 63-bedroom hotel and luxury adjoining spa.

The 7,800 yard 18-hole course will make it one of the longest in Europe. And the accompanying amenities will make it one of the best golf facilities in the UK, with top class practice facilities and a stunning new 18,000 sq ft clubhouse, which will include personal attendants and added members’ benefits.