A PORTLAND hotel and restaurant is being taken over by an adjoining spa.

The Ocean Spa at Southwell Business Park has announced expansion plans to take over the management of The Venue Hotel and the Cliff Panoramic Restaurant, together with the creation of new spa therapy rooms, relaxation lounge and thermal suite.

Jobs will be retained for 22 of the previously employed hotel and restaurant staff and eight spa staff will be transferred across, with more roles thought to be becoming available as the expansion grows.

Those behind the expansion say it represents a 'substantial' commitment and investment in business on the island and will increase the prospects for bringing more visitors to Portland.

Managing partner Verna Herry said the spa will share reception facilities with the hotel and a new sauna, steam room and jacuzzi facilities will also be created.

She said: "Phase one of the expansion programme - the transfer of the Ocean Spa from its present location at Southwell Park into The Venue Hotel - is being completed seamlessly and almost immediately and it will then share the hotel reception facilities."

She said the newly created treatment rooms are all equipped with en-suite bathroom and changing facilities, plus comfortable chairs for private consultations between therapist and customer.

A new relaxation lounge is being created alongside the treatment rooms.

Mrs Herry said: “Phase two of the programme will see the construction and installation of a new thermal suite over the coming months, alongside the new spa treatment rooms, which will hopefully include a brand new sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi features.”

As a result of the expansion, the swimming pool area including the sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi will be closing at the end of this month Feedback will be sought from club members for a new fitness centre for the spa.

The Ocean Spa has also recently announced the launch of The Ocean Spa School of Spa Therapy, the only spa industry private training facility in the South West of England to be based within an actual spa business.

While the programme of work is carried out, the school will start operations, enabling students to gain professional industry qualifications.

The school will offer NVQ and VRQ qualifications to students and will allow new entrants to the spa industry and those seeking to gain additional qualifications to train in a ‘live’ spa environment.