Seafront hotel soars after £1.6m revamp
A £1.6m revamp has breathed new life into an historic seafront hotel at Great Yarmouth. And the investment at the New Beach Hotel on Marine Parade has already brought a wave of extra bookings.
The Victorian landmark opposite the Britannia Pier was one of the resort’s most lavish places to stay when it was built in the 1880s to welcome the new influx of visitors arriving in the railway boom. It changed its name from The Queen’s to the New Beach in the 1960s but trade was hit in the 80s and 90s by noise from two lively bars and a club under different ownership within the building.
But owners Leisureplex have now acquired the problem space and used it to expand and enhance facilities at the hotel, which is mainly used by the coach holiday operators.
Two phases of work have removed the two ground floor bars and a basement club, added 20 new bedrooms, quiet lounge, extra lift and disabled entrance including mobility scooter “parking”, while relocating the bar, restaurant, kitchen, toilets and entertainment area and refreshing the reception area.
General manager Bernie Korycki took over in May 2014 as the refurbishment work began.
“We have just finished after two and a half years, and every month we are more than 250 guests up on last year. We really feel that the reputation of the hotel, and the town, are on the up.”
The New Beach has risen from 2 to 3 AA stars, is scoring well with public feedback online. It has a 4.5 ranking at TripAdvisor, where it is in the top 10 hotels in the resort, and scores 8.6 out of 10 on booking.com.
The investment has also created extra restaurant, bar and housekeeping jobs, boosting the staff numbers by 12 to 33.
Mr Korycki said Leisureplex bosses were at one stage toying with selling the hotel because it was underperforming. The premier sea view rooms, which otherwise were in one of the best locations in Great Yarmouth, could not previously be used due to noise and disturbance problems from the late night Long Bar, X Bar and Angels lap dancing club.
The latest investment is fantastic news for Great Yarmouth, and complements the seafront improvements outside, and the positive impact they have made.
Mr Korycki has worked in the UK hotel industry for 10 years in locations as varied as Scotland and Newquay, as well as a previous spell in Great Yarmouth managing the Nelson Hotel further along the seafront.
“I had the opportunity to come back to Great Yarmouth and was delighted. I saw the potential at the New Beach and it is a best decision I have ever made,” added Hungarian-born Mr Korycki.
The New Beach now has 95 bedrooms, all en-suite, with 184 beds. Trade is 95pc coach holidaymakers, with 60pc of them from sister company Alfa Travel. It is served from five pick-up points across the country, with the Midlands region being the busiest for the hotel.
Guests, typically 55-plus couples and singles, stay on 4, 6 and 7-night coaching holidays which include day trips across East Anglia to venues such as the Broads, Cromer and Sheringham, Norwich, Lowestoft and Suffolk villages.
The kitchen provides breakfast and evening meals, while evening entertainment features singers, cabaret and bingo. Occupancy is high all year around including a fully-booked Thursford Christmas Spectacular season, and busy turkey and tinsel stays in the weeks beforehand.
Refurbishment work also included new staff rooms and service areas, using an area at the rear of the hotel which used to be an arcade of lock-up cafes and shops.
During the short winter closure after the New Year there will be further refurbishment of six bedrooms, 10 bathrooms and two corridors.
The New Beach improvements have won praise from the Greater Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area Limited, which seeks to boost visitor numbers and spending, along with improving the quality of the visitor experience.
Chairman Gareth Brown said: “It is marvellous to see investment reviving the fortunes of one of Great Yarmouth’s most prominent hotels.
“Over recent years there has been millions of pounds of public money spent improving the seafront, while private companies have also been making significant investment at a range of hotels, holiday parks and attractions.
“It all helps raise the standards and profile of the Great Yarmouth area in line with its reputation as one of the UK’s leading resorts.”