Iconic King’s Lynn building given a new lease of life

A historic West Norfolk hotel has been officially re-opened after undergoing a �2.2m revamp.

The Duke's Head Hotel has been an iconic building in King's Lynn since it was built back in the 17th century for wealthy merchants to do business in the town.

The hotel was the celebration venue for Robert Walpole after he became England's first prime minister in the 18th century and also has a windowless Masonic temple.

But the hotel, on the Tuesday Market Place, fell into disrepair and administration and became a 'last resort' for tourists visiting Lynn.

Now two years on since Surya Hotels took on the hotel, West Norfolk mayor Colin Sampson and North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham were both 'delighted' to cut the red ribbon at the official re-opening ceremony on Friday.

The borough mayor said: 'I think they [Surya Hotels] have got it back to being the premier hotel in East Anglia.

'This building is the Tuesday Market Place and the Tuesday Market Place is King's Lynn so to have the Duke's Head restored to greater than its former glory is tremendous for the whole borough.'

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Mr Bellingham has fond memories of the hotel because he had his first picture as prospective candidate for the Conservative party taken by the EDP in the hotel's ballroom in 1981.

After the ribbon cutting, the Conservative MP said: 'This hotel has got a great history and has been the centre of Lynn life for a number of years. There was despair across the whole of the county when it went downhill but now this hotel is back to where it should be.

'This is a very special day for the town because this re-opening symbolises a leap towards a brighter future for the town and hopefully it is now in a better position to attract new investment.'

The work at the hotel has seen the majority of bedrooms revamped to a four star standard with the ballroom three function suits, restaurant and coffee shop also overhauled.

The 20 bedrooms overlooking the Tuesday Market Place are yet to be completely finished and when they are refurbished, the overall cost of the project will rise to around �2.7m.

Gez Chetal, director of operations at Surya Hotels, said: 'Before we bought this place people kept telling me how this hotel used to be 20 years ago and that this hotel has been a landmark in the area for centuries.

'We were really keen to restore it to the prestigious hotel it once was and give it a new lease of life in the 21st century. I think we have done just that and we are proud of what we have achieved.'

Joyce Rasberry has worked at the hotel in various roles since 1966.

She said: 'I think the hotel now looks absolutely wonderful. It was in a shocking state for a number of years before the work started and it's just fantastic to see this hotel now compared to what it used to look like.

'When I first started we had lots of functions in the ballroom with the town's big firms having dinner dances all year round so I hope those days will return to this hotel once more.'