Pier Hotel is beacon of hope
A father and son's burgeoning hotels business represents a reassuring beacon of hope on the coast.In sight of the cranes building Great Yarmouth's outer harbour and just across the River Yare from the millions of pounds of seafront regeneration that has taken place, Rodney Scott and his son Ian are confident they can keep the financial storm clouds away from their latest venture.
A father and son's burgeoning hotels business represents a reassuring beacon of hope on the coast.
In sight of the cranes building Great Yarmouth's outer harbour and just across the River Yare from the millions of pounds of seafront regeneration that has taken place, Rodney Scott and his son Ian are confident they can keep the financial storm clouds away from their latest venture.
Less than 18 months after creating an instant hit with their new Pub on the Prom and Prom Hotel close to Yarmouth seafront, the pair has plunged into a new hotel enterprise in neighbouring Gorleston.
Having bought the landmark Pier Hotel before Christmas for an undisclosed sum, they are looking forward to their first holiday season - and planning to woo a new clientele off the beach to enjoy an expanded and revamped menu of bar meals and increased selection of beers.
Rodney Scott, who formerly owned Gorleston's Cliff Hotel and the Star Hotel in Yarmouth, confessed that the traditional d�cor and chandeliers of the Pier Hotel's main dining room were not really appealing to the younger family market.
He said: “We had originally intended to carry out a makeover in the style of the Pub on the Prom straightaway, but with business picking up encouragingly already, we have now decided to put off that decision until after the summer.
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“But because there is not always enough room in the bar, we are going to increase space for the casual diner by using the main dining room as well.”
He said they would also be opening up the back doors on to the promenade and putting up new signs to encourage people in for bar food.
They are pleased to have secured the services of chef Glen Bowles, who worked with Mr Scott at the Cliff Hotel for eight years, and offer a wide-ranging lunchtime and evening menu from traditional fish and chips to steak and kidney pies.
Hotel manager Ian Scott, who has already increased the number of staff from five to 12, including part-timers, said: “An indication of how the food is taking off is that we are now catering for more than 100 people Sunday lunchtimes. The previous people did not even do Sunday lunches.
“The warmth of the customers is tremendous. Gorleston people love the Pier Hotel and are really pleased a family are running it.”
They have been focusing on increasing the level of comfort in the 16 bedrooms and are refurbishing an extra four rooms to let. Their trade in corporate clients is already picking up.
While Rodney Scott admits the price for the Pier Hotel was a “gift” in the unusual circumstances of the previous owner selling up after only four months, but in 2007 he lavished more than �1m knocking the neighbouring Sandringham and Lincoln hotels into the Prom Hotel and Pub on the Prom.
They reported that business was booming there too. Ian Scott said: “We have had to turn people away from the hotel this winter because we have been so full, and we have invested another �210,000 on refurbishing seven new bedrooms to open in May.”
The pair firmly agree that however difficult the economic climate “quality and good value will always succeed”.