May 21 2013 Latest news:
By BEN WOODS Business writer
Saturday, March 23, 2013
The new boss of an iconic Norwich hotel said he was forging a plan to make it one of the best in region after seeing its direction suffer from a quick succession of owners.
The Chaplin family has a number of businesses in property development, farming and the hospitality industry.
They bought the Maids Head Hotel from the Vineyard Group in December after spending more than 49 years running The Gonville Hotel on Parkers Piece in Cambridge.
The Cambridge business is independent hotel, which operates under the Best Western brand.
David Chaplin has been appointed managing director of the Norwich business, which will trade as an independent hotel under the name of The Maids Head Hotel Ltd.
The family previously made their presence in Norfolk when they purchased a 1,000 acre arable farm from the Raynham Estate.
David Chaplin, managing director of the Maids Head Hotel in Tombland, said he would look to make modest investment in 13th century guesthouse and rebuild relationship with local suppliers to make it the “preeminent hotel in Norwich”.
And he said plans were already under way to refurbish the public toilets, install electronic locks on the guest bedrooms, enhance guest suites and an upgrade the boiler system.
It comes after the Chaplin family, which owns the four-star Gonville Hotel in Cambridge, bought the hotel from the Vineyard Group hotel management company in December.
Mr Chaplin, who showed MP for Norwich South Simon Wright around the hotel yesterday as part of English Tourism Week, declined to reveal how much he would invest in the hotel, but said it would improve its appearance.
He said: “We have been looking for hotels for a long time.
“The Maids Head is more complex and different from our hotel in Cambridge and we found that it is already being run very well.
“We see this as an opportunity to reengage business performance with modest, but well focused, investment to lift the perception of the hotel. There is no reason why it should not become the preeminent hotel in Norwich.
“We found that it had the location and all the ingredients to be the best, but for some reason it hasn’t been seen as that because of the several changes in ownership over the last few years.”
He added: “We look forward to working with Visit Norwich, Norwich HEART and other partners in the Cathedral Quarter to promote Norwich as tourism destination.”
The new owners of the Maids Head, which has 84 bedrooms, retained all 64 staff and the general manager Christine Malcolm when they took over.
The hotel, which claims to be one of the oldest in the county, is famed for its esteemed guests, including Catharine of Aragon.
Norfolk turkey giant Bernard Matthews is in talks to sell a stake in the business.