A major fire at the Hotel Du Vin hotel development in Newcastle last week will delay rather than kill off the multi-million pound project, the group has confirmed.
The blaze at the former Allan House on Newcastle's Quayside will push the 42 bedroom hotel project back from targeted opening next spring to the end of 2008.
A spokesman for the company praised local fire fighters, who had to contend with strong winds, and said without their quick intervention the building would undoubtedly have been a write off.
"The fire is a blow to Robert Cook (chief executive of Malmaison and Hotel du Vin) as he launched his first Malmaison as general manager in Newcastle back in 1997 and has therefore been closely involved in this project," he said.
No one was hurt in the fire and police are not believed to be treating it as suspicious. One theory is that the fire may have been started in avertedly by someone living rough and sheltering in the building, which is under renovation.
The group will open a Hotel du Vin in Dorset's Poole next summer as well as in Edinburgh.
By Chris Druce