Norfolk hotel wins 'boutique' award

The Thomas Paine Hotel, in Thetford.

The Thomas Paine Hotel, in Thetford. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

Staff at a Norfolk hotel have been recognised as being among the best in their trade following a "tough" period over the past few years.

The Thomas Paine Hotel, in Thetford, won Boutique Hotel of the Year at the London and Southeast England Prestige Awards 2022, which celebrates small and medium-sized businesses excelling in their markets.

Manager Gez Chetal, who took over the Grade II listed hotel in 2013, said staff have had to adapt and "totally change" the way they operate following the pandemic.

His wife Rosy took up the role of head chef and three full-time employees have been continuing to keep the business going, with other part-time staff brought in to help manage bigger events.

Gez Chetal, owner of The Thomas Paine Hotel, in Thetford.

Gez Chetal owner of The Thomas Paine Hotel and founder of the Thetford Business Awards. - Credit: Archant

Mr Chetal said as a result of their efforts they are now reaping the benefits, with occupancy now at an "all time high".

He said: "Most hospitality should do very well as long as they control their costs well, even though all prices are higher."

He added: "We are very proud to receive this award after what we have had to go through for two years. 

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"The hospitality trade as a whole has had the toughest time with not knowing what to do and how to get through a tough period, hands up to all my colleagues in this industry who have survived and adapted to get through it all. 

Gez Chetal, his wife Rosy and daughter Saanchi, 16, have raised £1,676 for charities.

Gez Chetal pictured with his wife Rosy (far right), who have raised thousands for good causes over the years. - Credit: Gez Chetal

"This awards means a lot to everyone including our regular and worldwide customers supporting us tremendously.

"We bought this hotel with a mission to success and are so happy that we have achieved this."

He expressed a special thanks to Americans from Mildenhall and Lakenheath who have supported them and become "key" to the local economy.

And Mr Chetal hopes the business will continue to go from strength to strength after a £350,000 project to expand the hotel was finally able to begin in February following Covid delays.

He said: "We already have huge interest in our new function, meetings and bedroom facilities being constructed at the moment, and hope to bring an experience locally with the legendary Thomas Paine and Maharaja Duleep Singh [a 19th century Sikh ruler who settled in the area] - who over their times done so much to the whole area without much recognition."