'Not just another hotel' - See inside Norfolk's first beach-front Premier Inn and only Beefeater restaurant
PUBLISHED: 16:41 12 June 2019 | UPDATED: 19:30 12 June 2019
All Premier Inns guarantee a good night's sleep, but not all of them can boast the kind of seaside views you get at its brand new Great Yarmouth hotel.
And even before the first paying guests check into their rooms at Yarmouth's South Denes the peak summer weeks are almost all fully booked.
This week staff were messing up and cleaning rooms, role-playing with imaginary customers, and carrying trays of glasses to invisible diners - and now they say they are "itching" to meet real people and do their jobs.
More than half the 81 rooms are said to have a sea view, and some overlook the Pleasure Beach and its famous coaster too.
Hotel manager Alex Barry said the early signs were good that it would be a huge success with Yarmouth West (at Runham Vauxhall) fully booked from February to October and plenty of its guests already keen to try the new seafront offer.
The five-storey hotel is number 797 for the growing chain which famously guarantees a good night's sleep.
In Yarmouth the template has been altered to make the best of sweeping sea views which take in the port, Nelson's monument, Pleasure Beach and Scroby Sands.
Also, there is more outside seating than usual on a beach-side terrace.
For Pleasure Beach boss Albert Jones it is more than just a hotel.
He said the hotel and restaurant were key first phases for his leisure complex development The Edge which would help attract other operators.
A further enticement was the third river crossing which would bring more people and their purses directly to their doorstep.
Mr Jones revealed that while the casino aspect was "on the back burner" at least two cinema operators were keen to come if the right deal could be struck.
"It's not just another hotel, it is the start of hopefully a major leisure development in Great Yarmouth which is going to bring jobs and tourism all year round.
"We are working hard behind the scenes to secure a cinema operator."
Mr Jones said he was also looking to create an indoor attraction at the south end of the Pleasure Beach with a full-sized bowling hall, climbing wall and zip wire.
The hotel and Beefeater restaurant have created 23 and 34 jobs respectively.
Mr Barry hailed the "chatty and jovial" team which was among the most "sparky" he had ever worked with.
He said: "Everyone in Great Yarmouth is brilliant at hospitality and looking after guests.
"It's like it's in the blood."
Among those finding employment was Amy McDonald, of Crown Road, Great Yarmouth.
The 39-year-old said she had been made redundant from the Royal Bank of Scotland over a year ago and that this was her first job in hospitality.
"It's a dream team," she said. "We are firm friends already."
Liz Lamb from Granville Road, Cobholm, was also finding her way in her new housekeeping role.
The 33-year-old was returning to work after having her two children and said the hours fitted in perfectly with the school run and was year-round rather than seasonal.
And June McNicholas, of Seafield Close, said she was loving the work on reception.
The 48-year-old had worked at the family guest house, The Haydee in Princes Road for 16 years, but the owners had now retired.
The 81-room hotel is the second Premier Inn for Great Yarmouth.
It has a mix of double and family rooms.
At least four rooms are fully accessible for disabled guests with wet rooms or lower baths.
Some rooms are interconnecting.
There is a self-check in facility but someone is on reception 24/7.
The 151-cover Beefeater Restaurant is the only one in Norfolk and likely to be a big draw, its operators say.
The restaurant opens at 6.30am on Monday June 17.