‘It’s really good to have it full again’ - Norfolk hotel re-opens after £1m investment

Debbie Wright is the area manager of Verve Hotels. Picture: Marc Betts

Debbie Wright is the area manager of Verve Hotels. Picture: Marc Betts - Credit: Archant

A hotel that has been empty for almost a year has re-opened as a hotel and bar after a £1m investment.

The Hare and Barrel Hotel Watton has had £1 million invested in its restoration. Picture: Marc Betts

The Hare and Barrel Hotel Watton has had £1 million invested in its restoration. Picture: Marc Betts - Credit: Archant

The Hare and Barrel, on Brandon Road, Watton, was a bar, restaurant and hotel before it closed last year.

It re-opened on Friday with a special night of champagne and tours giving residents a first look inside their new bar.

Verve Hotels, which also has hotels in Diss, Bedford, Peterborough and Stilton, have invested £1m in the refurbishment.

Area manager Debbie Wright said: "It was fabulous and really good to have it full again. We estimate that we had about 300 people throughout the evening.

The Hare and Barrel Hotel Watton has had £1 million invested in its restoration. Picture: Marc Betts

The Hare and Barrel Hotel Watton has had £1 million invested in its restoration. Picture: Marc Betts - Credit: Archant


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"We had members from the town council there and they explained how it will help the high street which I was impressed by.

"It's lovely to see that we have made a real difference to Watton."

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Plans had been lodged with Breckland Council to turn it into a private specialist centre for addiction but after it was refused and the second plan withdrawn after public objection, Verve Hotels has invested the large sum to reopen as a hotel.

The guest house has 19 rooms with a mix of luxury, double and single rooms which can host 38 guests. A new bar and kitchen has been fitted which will serve food in the restored restaurant area.

The Hare and Barrel Hotel Watton has had £1 million invested in its restoration. Picture: Marc Betts

The Hare and Barrel Hotel Watton has had £1 million invested in its restoration. Picture: Marc Betts - Credit: Archant

Ms Wright is hoping that the new Watton hotel will bring people into the town.

She said: "We hope that people will come into the town to use the restaurant or stay in the hotel and experience what Watton has on offer."

The hotel company had originally hoped to spend less but as more work was completed on the building the project went £250,000 over budget.

Ms Wright, who is the manager at the Diss hotel, said that the company try to make sure each hotel has something different highlighting the aspects of the town where it is based.

Debbie Wright is the area manager of Verve Hotels. Picture: Marc Betts

Debbie Wright is the area manager of Verve Hotels. Picture: Marc Betts - Credit: Archant

She added: "I think the residents will be very happy with the work we have done."

For more information go to www.vervehotels.co.uk.

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