See inside Norfolk’s ‘best kept secret’ hotel after major renovation
PUBLISHED: 12:14 17 February 2020 | UPDATED: 12:14 17 February 2020
A five-bedroom guest house is enjoying a new chapter as a boutique hotel after a quarter of a million pound renovation.
Belle Vue Guest House, on Sluice Road in Denver, near Downham Market, has been transformed into a boutique hotel after the major revamp.
The 18th century Grade II listed building situated in the heart of the village, formerly known as Pine Tree House, is part Georgian and Victorian.
Owner Martyn Wardle and his wife Louise Wardle have transformed the building, blending together modern and traditional to suit the "tastes of everyone".
The couple bought the property in December 2014, having moved to Downham Market from Nottingham in 2005, and with the help of family members and local contractors carried out major renovation to turn it into a premium guest house.
Mrs Wardle, who now works as vice president for international marketing at Subway, grew up in Denver and remembers admiring the building, which is near the War Memorial. She said: "I remember as a kid looking at the building and the pool it had and thinking 'I wish I had a pool'.
"Little did I know I was going to live here one day."
The couple stumbled across the property while on a dog walk through the village and were immediately interested.
Mr Wardle said: "We walked past the building and went to the pub and got talking about it and they mentioned it was on the market. "Before we knew it we thought about taking it on and running our own guest house." The property has a total of five uniquely themed bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms and a breakfast room.
Mr Wardle, who runs the house full time, said: "To turn it into a guest house it needed a considerable amount of renovation. Every square inch of the building has had attention put into it.
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"It's been a genuine labour of love, I'm so proud we've been able to bring back to life something the village loved. "It gives the village a lift and is something people see when they drive in.
"It's got such a lovely feeling, it feels more like a boutique hotel."
Guests from all over the world have stayed at the listed building, including comedian Russell Kane.
Mr Wardle said: "We had Russell Kane visit us last year when he was performing in King's Lynn.
"He had put as a requirement in his booking that he would like a quiet room and I thought 'well they are all quiet rooms so that's not a problem'. "But at the time we were having work done to our roof and when I checked the booking again on the morning of his arrival I thought I know that name and after searching realised who he was.
"I had to get the roofers to clear off before he came in order for it to be quiet. It was quite funny." The guest house has received high praise from its guests, and is currently rated 9.9 out of 10 on Booking.com.
Mr Wardle said: "People are coming to us who have never come to the area before and they go out and explore and use the local facilities.
"People have described the house as a 'gem of a place', 'one of the best B&B's' and 'Norfolk's best kept secret'- it's comments like that which make it worth doing and it's nice to know people take away nice memories of Denver and Downham Market.
"We must be doing something right and we want to let people know we're here as a lot of people don't know about us.
"We have a key interest in the village. It's a thriving community and it's nice to think we're putting something back into it."
The couple are looking to convert a house to the rear of the property into a three bedroom holiday cottage which they are hoping will be open for Easter.
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