Ballygally Castle Hotel, near Larne, closed in October for six months while major renovations took place at the 17th century castle.Re-opened again in time for Easter, some of the hotel's former bedrooms have been removed and replaced to create 18 new '5 star coastal view' bedrooms including six family rooms.Now with 54 bedrooms, the venue is now one of the largest hotels on the Causeway Coastal route.The brand new Kintyre Ballroom, with views over the Castle gardens and stunning coastlines of Co Antrim and Scotland, replaces the River Room and will cater for a total of 250 people.Invest Northern Ireland offered the hotel's owners, Hastings Hotels, financial assistance of £240k towards the project.Howard Hastings, Managing Director of Hastings Hotel, said: "Our objective in making what is a substantial investment for Hastings Hotels is to provide the sort of high quality base that visitors wishing to explore this superb region of Northern Ireland expect."Facilities at the hotel have been extended and upgraded to ensure that it remains an ideal springboard to the world class location that is the Antrim coast and the spectacular journey along the Causeway coastal route."The expansion is a further indication of the strength of our commitment to this outstandingly beautiful region and indeed to the wider tourist and hospitality industry in Northern Ireland, an industry which is experiencing tremendous growth through the Executive's investment in a series of world class events including the forthcoming Giro d'Italia cycling road race."Tourism Minister Arlene Foster visited the castle on Tuesday to view the expansion.The DUP minister said: "This is a significant expansion in a hotel which is strategically located at the start of the picturesque Antrim Coastal route, an outstanding tourism attraction that includes the Glens of Antrim, the North Coast, the Wild Atlantic Way, Bushmills Distillery, the Giant's Causeway and world class golf courses."Investment in quality accommodation and first class catering facilities in strategic destinations such as this is essential for the growth of our tourism industry. I am confident that the re-developed Ballygally Castle will make a strong contribution to tourism in the years to come."The investment is providing an additional 18 coastal and garden view bedrooms, giving a total of 54 rooms, along with substantial improvements to public areas of the hotel and conference/banqueting facilities which are in keeping with this historic hotel's four-star accreditation."In addition, the strength of the group's commitment to locally sourced food will ensure visitors are able to experience and to enjoy the superb quality and taste of our food and drink during their stay."