What are the secrets of this newly refurbished Norwich hotel?
The business owners about to launch the grand Boudicca Hotel, formerly Caistor Hall, at an official party this weekend, have revealed some 'secrets' about the historic venue.
One tale concerns some stunning pendant lights in the English Whisky Company sponsored library which were destined for another even more opulent destination - Buckingham Palace.
The lights, amber coloured glass bulbs, were purchased by new hotel owner Scott Valentine, but he nearly had to give them back.
"He'd bought them and then the company contacted him wanting them back because they had been discontinued and were needed for Buckingham Palace," said sales and events manager Stephanie Emery.
After some negotiation, Scott managed to keep the lights which now make a stunning feature in the former library which has now been given a complete make-over as a luxurious lounge. It stocks the Norfolk-based English Whisky Company brands as well as Havana cigars and has been decorated in dark green and aubergine with checked wallpaper and Ralph Lauren leather sofas. Stephanie, who worked at Caistor Hall before it was sold, said: "The library was in fact my favourite room and I was really worried about seeing it go, but now this is my favourite room."
Another 'secret' is what was uncovered in the hallway - at the top concealed behind a false ceiling was an original lift pulley system which has now been exposed and retained as a feature. And another secret find is what is thought to be an ancient mausoleum hidden beneath gardens. The hotel is built on the site of what once was a Roman centre - hence its name of the Iceni warrior, Boudicca.
The hotel now employs a 23-strong team and is hoping that local businesses will use its services. It has already attracted interest from a yoga and wellbeing centre planning to use a function room as well as another lounge sponsored by Veuve Clicquot champagne. This room has been created from the original reception. The entire hotel has been repainted and now offers a formal private dining room in powder blue but there is also a restaurant, glamorous bar and 17 rooms with a luxurious bridal suite.
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The Boudicca Hotel is open, with an offical launch on Saturday, serving teas, coffees, afternoon teas if booked in advance and bar drinks and snacks with the restaurant opening on June 5.