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Historic Norwich hotel saved from closure

PUBLISHED: 08:11 09 July 2019 | UPDATED: 13:20 09 July 2019

Liza Dunnell, General Manager, left with Joey Coles, Bar Tender, right, outside the St Giles House Hotel, Norwich. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Liza Dunnell, General Manager, left with Joey Coles, Bar Tender, right, outside the St Giles House Hotel, Norwich. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

An historic Norwich hotel has been saved after staff members worked 11-hour shifts to keep it open when its previous owners went into liquidation.

Liza Dunnell, General Manager, outside the St Giles House Hotel, Norwich. Picture: Jamie HoneywoodLiza Dunnell, General Manager, outside the St Giles House Hotel, Norwich. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

The newly-named St Giles House, Terrace and Spa is open for business and planning a grand formal relaunch on July 20 after the former company which ran it collapsed with debts of just under £900,000 in April.

Liza Dunnell, who was the reception manager and has now been promoted to general manager, was determined not to give up on the hotel.

"It was a big ordeal, very upsetting and there were literally just a handful of us left and a couple of cleaners for the 24 rooms as we still had bookings," she said.

"It was hard but I just love my job here. I just love this place and working here was my pride and I didn't want to see the hotel fail, it is my life."

Liza Dunnell, General Manager, left with Joey Coles, Bar Tender, right, outside the St Giles House Hotel, Norwich. Picture: Jamie HoneywoodLiza Dunnell, General Manager, left with Joey Coles, Bar Tender, right, outside the St Giles House Hotel, Norwich. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

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The hotel was rescued by the owner of the building, landlord Roland Duce, who took over the running of the hotel under his company Thurgaton Priory Estates Limited.

Liza Dunnell, General Manager, outside the St Giles House Hotel, Norwich. Picture: Jamie HoneywoodLiza Dunnell, General Manager, outside the St Giles House Hotel, Norwich. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

It has since taken back on some of the staff who had left, now employing a total of 17, and will be officially reopened by the Lord Mayor of Norwich, councillor Vaughan Thomas.

The company which formerly ran the hotel, Ensco 1035, had debts of £880,000, including £91,000 owed to staff.

The hotel has now undergone some changes to mark its new beginning. It has added the word terrace to its name and is undergoing some cosmetic improvements, changing the colour scheme in the reception area from burgundy to blue with gold signage. It also wants to encourage more families to stop by, so has added some children's play equipment to its terrace.

It is not currently offering lunches or dinner, but is providing bed, breakfast and afternoon teas.

St Giles House Hotel, Norwich. Picture: Jamie HoneywoodSt Giles House Hotel, Norwich. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

"Our core staff pulled together through the sad and daunting time and worked together as a team to keep things running as best we could," said Ms Dunnell. "It is a pleasure working as the general manager in this glorious contemporary 18th century building, watching it grow into a success. I am very excited for what the future holds."

The official relaunch on Saturday, July 20 will take place from 5pm to 11pm and will include a live DJ, a barbecue on the terrace, a magician, canapés and prosecco. All are welcome.

Joey Coles, Bar Tender, outside the St Giles House Hotel, Norwich. Picture: Jamie HoneywoodJoey Coles, Bar Tender, outside the St Giles House Hotel, Norwich. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

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