Guesthouse investment in Great Yarmouth reflects growing tourism confidence

Sandie and Tony Stanley who run The Shrewsbury guesthouse in Great Yarmouth.Picture: James Bass

Sandie and Tony Stanley who run The Shrewsbury guesthouse in Great Yarmouth.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2013

Great Yarmouth's tourism officer Alan Carr hailed the level of investment in the resort as one of its top guesthouses prepares for the opening of a large-scale extension.

Husband and wife Tony and Sandie Stanley bought The Shrewsbury Guesthouse in Trafalgar Road nine years ago and ploughed more than £80,000 into a complete revamp of the interior.

Now, after buying the property next door and spending about £40,000 bringing it up to the same high standard they are preparing for the opening of The Shrewsbury Annexe in time for the school summer holidays.

Mr Carr said: 'This investment shows the huge confidence in the resort. We are seeing a new breed of landlady setting out to deliver above the expectations of their customers.

'We have been encouraging it for years and now we are seeing the fruits of our labour.'

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The investment reflects a pattern highlighted in this year's Tourism Business Survey carried out by Larking Gowen Chartered Accountants.

The report found that more than half of businesses are feeling more optimistic about the region's tourism offering and a similar proportion are planning investment in improvements.

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Welcoming the trend, Visit Norfolk brand manager Pete Waters described continual investment as 'crucial'.

'Potential customers are discerning when it comes to quality and value for money and we have to be able to meet their expectations,' he said.

While some older guests still expect 'landlady's rules' to be in force, The Shrewsbury is light years away from the 1970s era of shared toilets and garish-coloured bathroom suites.

Former builder Mr Stanley, 53, carried out a lot of the renovation work on the former guesthouse next door himself.

His wife said: 'We have completed gutted the house – the electrics, plumbing, everything. We have got people laying the flooring this week.

'All our recent guests have been really interested and say they want to come back and have a look when it is completed.'

The annexe will provide three extra suites and a double room as well as a lounge/bar for guests which will also be used as an overflow breakfast room.

Former secretary Mrs Stanley is proud that nothing remains the same in The Shrewsbury from the time of their chaotic takeover nine years ago, when they moved in on a Wednesday in August and rose early the following day to serve breakfast to slightly bewildered guests.

Eight rooms have become six and all guest accommodation is now spacious and tastefully decorated, each room with a tiled en suite bathroom.

Discerning guests can book a four poster suite and there is a family unit that is fully booked through the summer – all the bathroom suites are now gleaming white.

Reflecting the survey's finding of growing optimism, Mrs Stanley said she was confident the good times were on their way back to Yarmouth.

Other guesthouses along Trafalgar Road were also investing and bookings for the summer were already looking positive.

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