Famous holiday resort to reopen with 50 new restaurant suites
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A holiday resort is emerging from lockdown completely remodelled with 50 new restaurant suites providing “dining bubbles” for its all-inclusive guests.
Potter’s Resort, in Hopton, was among the first to shutdown in the early days of the pandemic, and has been significantly affected.
It now aims to reopen on July 17 offering “new breaks for the new normal” with guests dining in exclusive, private restaurants, and entertainment from the Potters team beamed live into their rooms and around the resort.
To achieve the change and restart bookings owner John Potter has stripped back 50 large hotel rooms to create restaurant suites for between six and 18 people.
He says he has also invested heavily in technology.
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Guests will have exclusive use of the suites during their stay in resort accommodation.
The offer is being billed as “unique” and a saviour for the resort, which was built up over 100 years as a mainly indoor concept designed to meet the challenges of the British weather, not a global pandemic.
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Speaking on a live stream YouTube broadcast Mr Potter said the restaurant suite was a second room for guests they could “call home”.
“I think it is going to turn out to be a saviour,” he said.
“It is not what Potters was last year in terms of numbers, and it is going to be much more exclusive, an even more intimate and exclusive Potters.
“We have a fantastic opportunity to ride this out in a fun way.
“When it kicked off we were in the eye of the storm and I thought ‘is this going to end on my watch’?”
MORE: Seaside communities have ‘nothing to fear’ from returning touristsHowever he added he had been “humbled” by the patience and feedback of guests as the resort looked to reinvent itself in its centenary year.
“I think we have the perfect safe bubble for everybody,” he said. “It is really exciting and I cannot wait to welcome everybody back on the resort. It has taken a lot of investment and a lot of planning.”
The new “perfectly formed” restaurants allow multiple groups of up to 18 people to shelter and socialise as long as separate households are socially distanced.
Although guidelines have allowed him to reopen the large dining area he was wary of “stranger danger” and understood some guests wanted to mingle with their own trusted friends and family in a private, shared space.
There would still be all the “madness and fun” of Potters, for those who wanted it, he said, with entertainment and activities organised both online and in person, including tennis, bingo, archery, quizzes and interactive competitions between suites.
Having invested heavily in technology, it means guests can star in broadcasts from the new Live channel.
The pool, theatre, and gym remain closed under current guidelines, but with things changing all the time he was poised to adapt, he said.
Each suite will be provided with a double fridge full of drinks, food will be served all day with staff summoned at the touch of a button, and a dinner party every night for each group.
Usual capacity for the resort, also known as ‘the home of bowls’, is 800 people.
It employs some 600 staff, 105 in the theatre alone, with around 1,800 local members of the fitness club.
Mr Potter said the new concept would save jobs.
It is hoped live entertainment will soon be allowed on the newly created south terrace which people will be able to view from their private restaurant balconies.
Under the new programme people can book a four-night midweek break (beginning Mondays) or a three-night weekend break (beginning Fridays), from Friday July 17.
Prices start at £349 per adult.
In March Mr Potter announced he was “heartbroken” to be closing Potters as the pandemic took hold.