BIG changes are afoot at a hotel near Chester and its new owners plan to embrace its roots all the way.

Holt Lodge Hotel, near the village of Holt, in Wrexham, went on the market in the summer of 2023, after owners of almost three decades, Andrew and Alexandra Smeaton planned to retire.

The 37-bedroom hotel, with dining and conference facilities, is set in eight acres of beautiful Welsh countryside. Business partners Steven Hesketh and Dan Gillon saw the potential, and have wasted no time getting their plans together, including giving the venue a new name.


Business partners Steven Hesketh and Dan Gillon.

Business partners Steven Hesketh and Dan Gillon.


Steven, based in Chester, said: "I've been in hospitality my whole life, it's all I know.

"Wrexham's never not been on my radar, and we can't deny the excitement that has come to the city. It's brilliant for us all.

"There's been huge growth in Wrexham. When I visited earlier on I was bowled over, from the likes of the Fat Boar, stunning St Giles' Church, and the artwork on the walls around the city.

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"You even feel the buzz in the people. I attended a recent meeting of the Wrexham Business Professionals, and left buzzing because of how excited everybody is, it's infectious."

The business duo are not naive to the power of the big names connected to the region through Wrexham AFC, with Steven even saying the "pixie dust" of club owners Ryan Reynold and Rob McElhenney, is good not just for Wrexham but North Wales and the North West.


The beautiful grounds of Holt Lodge, which is set to become Hotel Wrexham.

The beautiful grounds of Holt Lodge, which is set to become Hotel Wrexham.


He added: "The mastery of Ryan's marketing, I've never seen anything like it but it feels genuine. It's so fortunate that they've come to Wrexham. Icons on such a level are few and far between."

Steven is steadfast in his faith in the region. He said: "You can't have London and Cardiff as the only places anyone talks about. Wrexham is perfectly placed to be a capital for North Wales.

"There's a lot to be proud of in Wrexham, and you don't invest unless you believe. The biggest compliment you can give to any place is to invest in it. We've only heard and feel positivity.

"We have never felt so welcome, people have been so open."

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The plans for Holt Lodge are big, and Steven and Dan are ready to make their stamp and "turn it into its former glory".

Steven said: "It's a journey, the work we want to do will be over a few months. Later this summer we hope to showcase our new bedroom standard, then work through our entire stock to bring them all up to the same level.

"We plan a full refurbishment for the function suite, taking it up a notch too. Plus plans for a very exciting food and beverage offering, with a big tip to Welsh produce.

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"And importantly, we will be re-branding as Hotel Wrexham. We know some people will have an opinion on the change but we ask them to come and see, be a part of it. We're really proud to call ourselves Hotel Wrexham."

The bedrooms are set to be Wrexham themed, and they are working with local artists about what can be done and displayed. Longer term plans for the business pair include becoming a much sought-after wedding and celebration venue, and potentially add glamping facilities on site.

Of the "beautiful little team" currently working at Hold Lodge, Steven says they will all be staying on, and will only look to expand, with an expectation of increasing the staff to a team of about 70-80 people in the next 12 months.


Holt Lodge, which is set to become Hotel Wrexham.

Holt Lodge, which is set to become Hotel Wrexham.


He adds: "I think they're excited to be a part of what's next, to be a part of the journey."

Knowing people will naturally be interested and want to know what's happening, Steven and Dan want to be transparent with the community of Wrexham, and have plans for a full open day and family fun day later this summer.

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They also invite anyone with memories of the hotel to share them with the team, from weddings, anniversaries and birthdays or any other occasion or milestone that the venue played a part in. You can email Clara Hughes at with your special moments.

While celebrating the past of Holt Lodge, Steven and Dan are ready to embrace the future as Hotel Wrexham.

Steven said: "It's been an education but we are happy and proud to be a part of this, and we will deliver on what we say we will.

"Our story is still being written."