The story of decades of future investment in the east of England’s burgeoning energy industry inspired Stephen and Jenna Randall to invest their future in it and start a family business as a new supplier.

For a sector renowned for its high standards and quality, the Randalls set out to match, if not exceed, its expectations with luxury self-contained serviced suites for energy professionals.

Former construction director Stephen spotted a gap in the market for top of the range long-stay accommodation for employees on secondment in the east coast area for weeks or months at a time.

He left his career of 20 years to invest in developing property with wife, Jenna, creating Randall Accommodation.

From the outset, it was to be a family business involving the couple’s four children, aged between eight and 17, with a vision to buy and renovate coastal buildings into luxury home-from-homes.

Their first project was a £300,000 renovation of the Trotwood Guest House, a characterful former guest house hotel on Great Yarmouth seafront. This was remodelled and developed into The Rampart, a new concept smart hotel that contains nine separate one-bedroom luxury self-contained suites, using local tradespersons.

Eastern Daily Press: The business transformed a former guest house on Great Yarmouth seafront into a smart new hotel called The RampartThe business transformed a former guest house on Great Yarmouth seafront into a smart new hotel called The Rampart (Image: Randall Accommodation)
“It was important to us that we used local sub-contractors and suppliers,” Stephen said. “The children also all had a part in it, by watching it take shape and seeing first hand what’s involved during a renovation. They even watched Jenna and I knocking out an old fireplace, which they found amusing.

“For them to see the before and after was great and gave them a good insight into how we can add value to these beautiful buildings, with careful and considered refurbishment.”

“We love the idea that we have taken an old building, repurposed, renewed and recycled it into a fit-for-purpose luxury product for an exciting industry growing fast in the sea.

“We have retained some of the old, like the stunning ceramic tiles which we uncovered in the hallway when we took up the old carpet, the bay windows throughout as well as the amazing plaster covings in the entrance hallway.

“Equally we have added in new technology such as the smart locks and motion sensors for the air conditioning that ensures that the suites are only cooled or heated when persons are present in the suite.

“The views out of those bay windows are spectacular and are also highly relevant to our target guests that work in the offshore energy market. The turbines of Scroby Sands offshore wind farm, one of the first built in the country, are just opposite The Rampart, and huge vessels sail past all the time.”

The motivation was to create a comfortable, modern and efficient retreat for busy energy professionals who are visiting or working in the area.

Eastern Daily Press: Stephen Randall with his children, left to right, Hollie, Olivia, Sophie, CharlieStephen Randall with his children, left to right, Hollie, Olivia, Sophie, Charlie (Image: Randall Accommodation)
“Traditional hotel rooms are fine for very short stays, but we wanted to deliver something much more homely in terms of feel, facilities and comfort by equipping The Rampart suites with everything guests will need, like high-speed broadband, comfortable spaces to work, cook and relax. As well as practical features such as washing and ironing facilities.’’

Every suite is spacious with a small kitchen, dining space, lounge area and ensuite shower with high-spec design and finishes. The suites also have high-quality features like instant boiling water taps instead of traditional kettles, which is proving to be a big hit with guests.

“People don’t always want to go out to restaurants during long stays, so everything is here for them to cater for themselves. And the full range of restaurants and pubs are within a few minutes’ walk when they want to venture out.”

The Rampart benefits from 24-hour support, CCTV, private car parking, convenience of self-check in and out, via coded smart locks, QR code interactive guidebook and guest feedback form.

Guest reviews so far have been fantastic, with comments highlighting its difference on offer as well as its individuality and quality of the suites, Stephen said.

Eastern Daily Press: Jenna Randall getting to work on the fireplace as part of The Rampart renovationJenna Randall getting to work on the fireplace as part of The Rampart renovation (Image: Randall Accommodation)
After knocking down walls, overseeing the re-design and construction management, the couple have been busy networking and connecting with businesses to find a place on their accommodation lists.

The business has plans for another 11 suites in Great Yarmouth and more in Lowestoft during 2024.

“We have a great product that is unique and fit for purpose for the energy industry and are inviting the industry in to view and stay with us”.

Stephen and Jenna, a former teaching assistant, live with children Sophie (17), Olivia (15), Hollie (12) and Charlie (8) in Rockland all Saints, near Attleborough, Norfolk.

Sophie and Olivia are already involved in the business and, as the business grows, will take on more responsibility and roles.

“People don’t think of people like us in the energy supply chain, but the investment in the industry here is creating opportunities for businesses like ours and service companies while supporting us to create a business that we can work together in and provide a lasting legacy for our children.”