Thetford hotel set for 'buoyant' year as we come out of lockdown

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

Gez Chetal, owner of The Thomas Paine Hotel, in Thetford. - Credit: Archant

Weddings and Christmas dos are already being booked at a town’s hotel, which is preparing for a “buoyant” year out of the third national lockdown. 

The owner of the Thomas Paine Hotel, on Whitehart Street, in Thetford said he is “feeling positive” as his business is gearing up to welcome back customers and get events back up and running.  

Since the roadmap out of lockdown was announced by the government on February 22, Gez Chetal said he has already been inundated with wedding inquiries, staycations and even Christmas dos.  

The Thomas Paine Hotel, in Thetford.

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

As couples across Norfolk have been forced to postpone or cancel their big day during the pandemic, six have booked to tie the knot later on this year and another couple who booked for 2023. 

Mr Chetal said: “Since the announcement form Boris Johnson, we have picked up seven weddings. 


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“For staycations, we are getting bookings for the end of June and beginning of July and three Saturdays during December are already fully booked, two are Christmas dos.

"That’s usually unheard of. 

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“The hotel will be more buoyant that it has been in over a year.” 

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

Gez Chetal, owner of The Thomas Paine Hotel, in Thetford. - Credit: Archant

In 2020, the hotel owner said his business was £350,000 down on turnover from the year before as the restaurant and public areas only traded for around nine weeks in total.  

But throughout the pandemic, the Thomas Paine Hotel had been open to key workers and rooms were offered to house Thetford’s vulnerable, who had found themselves without a home – working in partnership with Breckland Council. 

As well as providing a safe place to stay, Mr Chetal also helped four of his homeless tenants get back into work.  

The Thomas Paine Hotel, in Thetford.

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

He added: “This last year has been a massive learning curve. 

“But I’m just happy the way things are going now. Lockdown is working. It is all positive. 

“We have had a year or doing nothing and everyone wants to get back out, catch up with friends and enjoy themselves. All in all, I’m feeling happy and our customers can’t wait to come back.” 

Despite regulations allowing business to serve food and drink outside from April 12, Mr Chetal said they will not be opening the restaurant.  

The business will make a full return from May 17. 

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