A new hotel in Newark town centre officially opens today following 18 months of painstaking renovation and construction work.
The Grade II listed former Robin Hood Hotel in Lombard Street has been transformed into a 66-room Travelodge hotel.
Lindum Group completed the £6.6m project, which involved demolition of the crumbling building while retaining and restoring its original façade and construction of the new hotel along with three new ground floor retail units.
Lindum director Kevin Damarell said: “The Robin Hood Hotel, which was a well-known and prominent building in Newark, spent 20 years standing empty and decaying so Lindum is proud to have been part of the team that’s brought it back into use.
“This has not been a straightforward construction project. We had to work around the fact the site was in a very tight town centre location and was right next to a major road.
“We also had to work within the requirements of the heritage experts, who asked us to preserve and protect some of the original features. This meant using scaffolding to prop up the external wall while we demolished and rebuilt the rest of the structure.
“The project also began prior to the Covid-pandemic, which meant we had to completely reassess working practices and hygiene arrangements part way through in order to facilitate social distancing and staff safety.
“But despite the issues we’ve faced, we are really happy with the finished building and the impact the project has had on the appearance of this part of Newark.
“In all, it’s been a complex, interesting and at times challenging construction project but one that now stands as a prominent reminder of what can be achieved through ambitious yet sensitive town centre regeneration.”
The new hotel’s rooms feature modern en-suite bathrooms, power showers, 32 inch Freeview TV, complementary in-room tea and coffee making facilities and access to Wifi.
Newark-on-Trent Travelodge also features the company’s multimillion pound Covid-19 safety and social distance programme, called TravelodgeProtect+.
The hotel has created 13 new jobs within the local community and will be managed by Julia Frisbee, who joined Travelodge in 2011 as a part time Receptionist at Grantham South Witham.
As soon as Julia joined the company, she found her niche and fell in love working in a hotel. She was eager to learn all aspects of operating a hotel and took on extra shifts and proactively learnt about housekeeping, reception work and back office duties.
In 2015, Julia secured a position on the Aspire, the company’s in-house fast track management development programme. On the programme Julia obtained all the qualifications and skills to become a hotel manager.
She graduated within six months and in 2016 she was promoted to hotel manager at Retford Travelodge. Last year Julia fought tough competition and secured the position of Hotel Manager at Newark on Trent Travelodge as she wanted to oversee the development and management of a new build hotel.
She said: “It’s great to mark coming out of lockdown with Travelodge opening this hotel in Nottinghamshire and becoming the county’s largest branded hotel chain.
“Opening our first hotel in Newark-on-Trent during a pandemic has been challenging but I am extremely proud to have built a fantastic team who have worked around the clock to get the hotel open ahead of lockdown restrictions easing for leisure customers from 17th May 2021.
“Newark-on-Trent is an historic market town steeped in history with a dramatic castle and a big attraction for holidaymakers but there is a desperate need for good quality and low cost accommodation. Our hotel will fill this gap and be a magnet to attract new visitors to the area. We are expecting a busy summer as the Staycation is set to big this year. This is also great news for the local economy as research shows our customers will spend on average double their room rate during their stay with local businesses, which equates to an annual multi-million spend.
“Our new hotel has got off to a good start and we are presently providing accommodation for workers who are currently allowed to travel and stay over. We have a multi-million Covid-19 safety programme called TravelodgeProtect+ in place, which is designed to keep our customers and teams safe and has been very well received by our business customers.
“In addition to getting ready for a busy summer season, I am also looking forward to developing my team and to help them to climb the career ladder at Travelodge. The majority of my team are parents and at Travelodge we are dedicated to supporting working parents, by offering flexible working hours around the school run; so that they can work, climb the career ladder and raise their family.”