Interview: Kyle Mackings

Ahead of the launch of Spanish City we have been speaking with Kyle Mackings, CEO of Kymel Trading, the hospitality group who will be managing the venue after its opening. He brought us up to speed on the group’s plans and what we can expect at the new Spanish City.


Who are Kymel?

We established Kymel in 2013 with the acquisition of Trenchers Restaurant in Whitby, Crab Manor hotel and the Crab & Lobster restaurant in Asenby, North Yorkshire. We pride ourselves on being professional hospitality operators with a focus on providing the highest quality in everything we do. Our Directors have over 75 years of business experience so we’re confident in our ability to manage Spanish City. We feel this redevelopment is the perfect addition to our group. It’s an amazing project to be involved in and we know it’s going to make a massive difference to the local area. That has to be one of the greatest things about it. This is a really positive venture.


Do you have any memories of the original Spanish City?

My father fondly retells the story of his first holiday; a trip to Whitley Bay, including a visit to Spanish City. He talks about the ferry across to North Shields, travelling to Whitley Bay and being in awe of this magnificent building. There’s an emotive connection that has been with him for decades, and he has that in common with lots of other people too. Everyone I speak to has a tale to tell and each one is filled with happy memories. That’s what we’re looking to recreate when we reopen. A whole new generation making new memories and others rekindling old ones too.


What do the redevelopment plans include?

The plans for Spanish City are incredibly exciting. It’s a big project but it’s going to be hugely worthwhile and we feel privileged to be involved. The redevelopment is part of the Council’s Coastal Regeneration Project which will see work going on right along the coastline.

The building will be restored to its former glory and introduce a selection of high-quality food outlets with, we predict, something which appeals to everyone. With that, many of the original features will be refurbished along the way; heritage shop fronts, terrazzo flooring, fixtures and perhaps most excitingly, we will be opening up the dome from floor to ceiling for the first time in over 100 years. We’re very excited to see it in all its glory for the first time. We’d like to think that this project will breathe new life into Whitley Bay and rejuvenate the surrounding area.


When do you foresee the venue opening?

The venue will be opening in early Summer 2018, so particularly after Christmas 2017 the countdown will really begin. There’s already a lot of anticipation which is brilliant, we love hearing from the public about their personal expectations.


Will any special events be taking place?

Yes, absolutely. The restaurants and shops within Spanish City are permanent fixtures but we will be holding events all year round. We are committed to ensuring there will be lots going on and we want the local community to be involved. We’d like the venue to be a constant hub of activity.

We’re planning a range of events for all ages and interests, from Christmas Fairs and local artist showcases to cinema screenings and tea dances. We’d like the public to make suggestions about what they would like to see happening or what they might want to be involved in themselves. As well as public events, there will be a conference space available for hire privately. We have already had booking enquires and we can’t wait to hear the ideas people have for the space. 


Which brands are you particularly excited about having at Spanish City?

We’re excited about welcoming all of the brands. I’d struggle to choose between them because each one offers something special and valuable to the venue. They all bring their own personalities and so offer a wide-ranging appeal. Something every brand has in common with our other venues, the Crab & Lobster and Trenchers in Whitby, is a focus on quality and customer care. We consider that to be essential. We’ll have a family-friendly fish and chip restaurant and takeaway, a waffle and pancake house, a tearoom, a fine dining restaurant, a champagne and oyster bar and incredible sea views!


Who do you hope will visit Spanish City?  

We hope Spanish City will be a great location for everyone to visit. We’re hopeful we’ll appeal to local people from within the region and tourists. Because we’re going to be a versatile site with lots going on we’d like to welcome everyone. From a runner or cyclist stopping by for a quick coffee, to a couple on a romantic date. Family celebrations, corporate events, occasion fine dining, a pre-Christmas meal, you name it.


If someone was considering booking a wedding at Spanish City, what would you say are the standout features?

The building itself is magnificent. The architecture has always been stunning and the teams involved are working hard to make the most of it and enhance the building. Inside, the décor is beautifully understated with just the right amount of glamour that evokes the glorious era of the dome. Outside there are sea views across to St Mary’s Lighthouse on the left and Tynemouth on the right, it’s incredible. We hope to become a destination venue for weddings with stunning food and drink and top-class customer service.


Finally, if you could describe the new Spanish City in three words, what would they be?

Iconic, magnificent, exciting!


Jonathan Minns

J.Minns Design, 20 Heatherburn Court, Newton Aycliffe, , DL5 4UY