Search

‘Don’t shut us down again’: Hotel owner’s plea to government as he launches £4m expansion plan

PUBLISHED: 14:59 21 September 2020 | UPDATED: 14:59 21 September 2020

Caistor Hall is now under new management and has revamped it's look. Gemma Poole is the new marketing manager and wedding coordinator. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Caistor Hall is now under new management and has revamped it's look. Gemma Poole is the new marketing manager and wedding coordinator. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

The owner of a hotel in Norfolk who is spending a further £4m on it said he needs customers to keep coming.

Caistor Hall is now under new management and has revamped it's look. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNCaistor Hall is now under new management and has revamped it's look. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Sayed Ahmad Agha, a London property developer, has reopened the Caistor Hall Hotel in Caistor St Edmund. The hotel was originally relaunched last year as the Boudicca Hotel, under different management, although owned by Mr Agha. Later a row broke out with the hotel and the organiser of a series of Christmas party events which got cancelled.

In February 2020 the hotel rebranded under its original name, Caistor Hall, and unveiled its new restaurant – but then only weeks later had to close because of coronavirus.

MORE: ‘Jobs will be lost’: Businesses plea to government as Covid measures set to tighten

Caistor Hall has extensive gardens. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNCaistor Hall has extensive gardens. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Mr Agha refused to sell the building, intent on making a go of it, and is now looking at various expansion plans for the hotel including introducing, subject to planning approval, glamping facilities, a permanent marquee enabling conferences of up to 600 people and an extension, building 60-70 more bedrooms, adding to the current 21.

This comes as he’s already spent £1.1m refurbishing the period building, finishing all the bedrooms, many of which now boast four poster beds. He’s also created a new bedrooms suite, the Hayloft.

But Mr Agha knows he’s got a lot to prove to win back customers put off by the previous problems – as well as battle against the biggest threat to business of all, coronavirus.

Caistor Hall is now under new management and has revamped it's look. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNCaistor Hall is now under new management and has revamped it's look. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

This newspaper is urging the government not to impose a blanket lock-down on Norfolk which would threaten the survival of many businesses but particularly those in the tourism and hospitality sector.

Mr Agha, who runs Knightsbridge Development and Investment Ltd and also Agha Developer and investor Ltd, said: “I could have sold Caistor Hall hotel, but I really love Norfolk and Norwich, I love this building and think it has very good potential. I want to make it the biggest conference centre as Norfolk just doesn’t have anything like that, put glamping on the field behind the hotel and do an extension. I want to do more weddings – three a day.

“I admit we made mistakes, especially with the name. Calling it the Boudicca was a big mistake, people know it and love it as Caistor Hall.

“I have completely new management in and we have plenty of space here, we aren’t in the city so it’s very comfortable for people here. Of course we don’t want another lockdown, it would be disastrous, we need people to come, to give us another try.”

The Rose Room at Caistor Hall. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe Rose Room at Caistor Hall. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The Rose Room at Caistor Hall. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe Rose Room at Caistor Hall. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The HayLoft Suite at Caistor Hall.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe HayLoft Suite at Caistor Hall. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Caistor Hall is now under new management and has revamped it's look. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNCaistor Hall is now under new management and has revamped it's look. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

You may also want to watch:

Caistor Hall is now under new management and has revamped it's look. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNCaistor Hall is now under new management and has revamped it's look. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Eastern Daily Press. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Eastern Daily Press