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First look at newly refurbished rooms in historic Norwich hotel

PUBLISHED: 06:00 23 March 2018 | UPDATED: 12:51 23 March 2018

Opening of the newly refurbished rooms at The Maids Head Hotel, Norwich. Left to right, hotel general manager Christine Malcolm, Lord Mayor of Norwich David Fullman and Sheriff of Norwich David Walker.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Opening of the newly refurbished rooms at The Maids Head Hotel, Norwich. Left to right, hotel general manager Christine Malcolm, Lord Mayor of Norwich David Fullman and Sheriff of Norwich David Walker. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

The oldest part of a historic Norwich hotel has become the newest in an ongoing £2.5m renovation.

Opening of the newly refurbished rooms at The Maids Head Hotel, Norwich. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLYOpening of the newly refurbished rooms at The Maids Head Hotel, Norwich. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Eight bedrooms at the Maids Head Hotel in Tombland were re-opened on Thursday following a refurbishment which included the installation of a high-tech new heating system.

The rooms, in the oldest part of the hotel, have capillary mats fitted in the walls and ceilings which distribute heat around the room. The temperature can be controlled through the in-room iPads.

Installing the mats involved a two-year process to reroute hot water pipes to the rooms, in the listed part of the building.

General manager at the Maids Head Christine Malcolm believes it is the first hotel in East Anglia to adopt the technology, which is now being used in 46 rooms.

Opening of the newly refurbished rooms at The Maids Head Hotel, Norwich. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLYOpening of the newly refurbished rooms at The Maids Head Hotel, Norwich. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

“No one around here has done this kind of thing before so it was a learning curve for the contractors fitting it,” she said.

The hotel is approaching the end of a five-year renovation, which will see the public areas, facilities and all 84 rooms refurbished – at an estimated cost of £15,000 per room.

Ms Malcom said: “The hotel was only managed before and was predominantly owned by the banks so it had not seen a lot of investment.

“With each project we have tried to look at how we can modernise it and make it more energy efficient.”

Opening of the newly refurbished rooms at The Maids Head Hotel, Norwich. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLYOpening of the newly refurbished rooms at The Maids Head Hotel, Norwich. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Next to be renovated is the new wing of the hotel, for which Ms Malcolm says a new modern heating system will be used as the capillary mats are not a viable option.

She added that a new hotel maintenance system will be implemented once the renovation is finished, which will see 10 rooms refurbished every eight years.

The Maids Head is believed to be the oldest hotel in England – with reports of a coaching inn on the site as far back as the 12th century.

The new rooms were officially opened by Peter Rye, great grandson of Walter Rye, who managed the hotel from 1889 to 1895. The event also saw the unveiling of a photograph of Walter Rye in the hotel lobby, taken during his time as city mayor from 1908-9. Mr Rye, 66, who attended with wife Julie, said: “It is a very proud moment for me. It feels like the recognition of Walter Rye is long overdue.”

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