Broads’ hotel owner unveils plans to ‘raise the bar’

The Ivy House Hotel which has undergone extensive building work and refurbishment. Manager Keith Par

The Ivy House Hotel which has undergone extensive building work and refurbishment. Manager Keith Parton in the new bar area.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2013

The new owner of one of the Broads' top hotels has unveiled his ambitious plans to create a sought-after venue for weddings and other functions.

Adrian Parton, 50, who bought Ivy House Country Hotel on the bank of Oulton Broad, near Lowestoft, in July, also stated his determination to make it part of the community, opening up the bar and restaurant to the public.

Describing himself as a 'serial entrepreneur', having run a series of hi-tech businesses, Mr Parton said it had been a long-time aim to take over a hotel as a family business.

His cousin Keith Parton, 42, a chef trained under Marco Pierre-White, has become manager and overseen an increase in staffing levels from 20 to 25 in just a few months.

'If you want to provide a quality service you need the right number of people to do it,' said Adrian Parton, who sees another 10 staff being taken on in the next two years as the hotel develops its function and wedding business, becoming a twice-yearly venue for EDP wedding fairs. At the time of buying the 20-bedroom hotel in a deal worth about £2m, he took the opportunity to purchase a further 20 acres of land.

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'It's part of a site of special scientific interest and guests can now enjoy going right down to the edge of the broad,' he said.

A statement of his ambition to 'raise the bar' on the Broads is his recently opened Eve's Bar and Lounge, 'named after my late mother, who would have really enjoyed a place like that'.

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Extending the hotel into its courtyard, he described it as a 'lovely oak-framed structure with glass and a high-vaulted ceiling'.

'It provides lovely views on to the gardens; you can sit in the lounge and see the broad and watch boats coming past,' he added.

Investment since July has already reached £800,000 with every room being refurbished with new bedding, curtains and decor; in some cases bathroom fittings have been replaced.

The next big project will be the installation of a big marquee for their weddings and function business.

'We already have as many weddings booked for the coming year as we had throughout the whole of this year,' he said.

'There was already good summer occupancy and we want to extend that all year round by building on our loyal business and leisure trade. The hotel used to close for two weeks over Christmas; this year we are sold out for the festivities.'

They were also seeking to increase restaurant trade and the standard of cuisine had soared under the watchful eye of his cousin, who had trained alongside Gordon Ramsay, sharing his experience with the head chef.

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