Kettering's Royal Hotel to be 'restored to its former glory' as wedding and events venue
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Kettering’s grandest town centre hotel will be restored to its former glory and become once more a destination fit for kings and queens thanks to a seven-figure planned investment.
Entrepreneur Na’ím Paymán, the owner of the Royal Hotel, will bring back to life the historic hostelry as a Paymán Weddings venue.
With the refurbishment of his Cambridgeshire Minstrel Court wedding venue already complete Mr Paymán, 29, is looking forward to transforming the Kettering site, which is Grade II listed and in Market Place.
Working with wife Sara, 25, the couple will offer a complete wedding package and work is under way to refurbish the reception, bar, ballroom, restaurant and all 43 en-suite guest rooms.
Mr Paymán said: “We want to restore the hotel to its former glory. Queen Victoria once visited here and we’re going to make it fit for a king or a queen."
With the hotel last used as asylum seeker accommodation, the couple admit there is a lot of work to be done but they have already spent close to £1m on rooms to be used for weddings.
Work has begun on the hotel’s main rooms including uncovering and repairing stained glass windows, ornate painted lantern roof lights and the Jacobean-style, semi-circle bow windows.
As well as revitalising the eye-catching architecture, the hotel’s chimneys have been swept ready for open fires, rooms re-wired and new toilets installed.
Other plans will see a wooden herring-bone floor laid in the ‘Gala Hall’.
Mr Paymán said: “We will be applying for a wedding licence and will be able to hold weddings, events, conferences, parties and proms.
“Couples can have the ceremony, wedding breakfast, drinks reception and accommodation – all under one roof – and we’ve got a big car park with new security gates.”
The hotel has now reopened to paying guests after the evacuation of the asylum seekers following an incident last month.
Currently welcoming guests is Kettering-born manager Toni Baker, who first worked at the Royal Hotel as an 18-year old in 1976.
When she saw the job as manager advertised she contacted the Paymáns straight away.
She said: “I used to come here for Christmas with my parents as a child. My parents were big friends with the owners. I used to stay here if my parents were away on business.
"I think it was my destiny to come back here. Things have changed. We used to do silver service, having to lift the silver domes off at the same time.”
The hotel has already had several guests and long-term residents with work in the area signing-up to stay. The hotel restaurant is yet to reopen but a cafe offering lunches, snacks and afternoon teas is on the menu.
Mrs Baker said: “It’s only two-star at the moment and can do with a lick of paint here and there but it’s clear Na’ím has a great vision. It’s been neglected for a long time but there’s lots of people who really care and I think the people of Kettering care too.
“We want to bring back some class. People will be able to come in a sit by the fire and enjoy a coffee or have afternoon tea. It’s going to be glorious.”