Alcohol licence on the table at Harrogate's Turkish Baths

Harrogate's Turkish Baths.
Harrogate's Turkish Baths.

Fancy a full-bodied Merlot with your full body massage?

The prospect could soon be on the table at Harrogate's Turkish Baths, with council to consider a proposal to apply for a licence to sell alcohol.

Beer and red, white and sparkling wines are among the drinks that would initially be served in a plan which is set to be green-lighted by cabinet member for culture, tourism and sport, Coun Stan Lumley.

The licence application will propose that alcohol be sold at the baths between 11am and 11pm, seven days a week, to cover ordinary booking hours as well as any additional private bookings.

A report on the matter states that Harrogate Borough Council's research on a number of spa baths across the country revealed it is rapidly becoming the "norm" to offer alcohol to customers visiting similar facilities.

The report also states that Harrogate baths' staff regularly receive requests from customers for alcoholic beverages during lunch or after their treatments.

The move to provide alcohol forms part of the council's 2017 Turkish Baths Development Strategy, which refers to increasing the food and beverage

offer at the baths in order to increase revenue.

Late last year an income shortfall at the baths - partly due to an inability to fill positions for therapists - was uncovered as one of the keys reasons behind a forecasted council overspend of £373,000 for the quarter.
However, draft budget documents for the upcoming financial year have shown a marked improvement in the performance for the baths since then.

Although the site was closed for longer than expected for refurbishments last year, since reopening there had been a 25 per cent increase in takings, product sales were up by 90 per cent, and treatments were up 30 per cent, according to the report.

The document also states that interviews have recently been held for therapists at the baths, with the council positive they'd soon be operating with a full complement of staff.

Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporting Service