Winsome approach to Duchess of Lismore
By SAMANTHA TURNBULL
LISMORE'S duchess, the Winsome Hotel, is being brought back to life by former Sydney business partners Alex Devantier and Dallas Bayly.
The entrepreneurs purchased the 106-year-old hotel after it closed more than a year ago, and will spend the next month restoring it to its former glory.
"We call it the duchess because it reminds us of a beautiful old lady," Alex said.
"I fall in love with it more and more every day."
Alex is a former skin care company owner who has now settled in North Lismore.
He was unwilling to say exactly how much he paid for the pub, but said that every cent was worth it.
"It was less than a million dollars," he said.
"But it has been my dream since I was a kid to own a hotel on the North Coast."
Alex said the venue would be marketed as 'the family hotel of Lismore'.
"It's going to be for everyone," he said.
"We want to give it a new persona with a lounge-bar feel downstairs and quality bed and breakfast-style accommodation upstairs."
Alex also vowed to make drink prices cheaper than any other Lismore hotel in an attempt to attract a diverse clientele.
The pair, from Sydney's stylish suburb of Paddington, said they hoped the new-look Winsome would help in changing the entire image of North Lismore.
"We're actually in talks with the council at the moment about beautifying Bridge Street," Alex said.
"We've been talking about things like bringing in established trees and giving the area a new feel."
Other plans for the hotel include a moonlight cinema, French restaurant, Balinese garden, outdoor dining and wine bar, en suites in guest rooms, downstairs Caesar stone bar, BBQ area, sauna and Internet facilities.
The grand opening of the downstairs bar will be May 14.