‘Come on down, this is for everyone’ It’s been closed for three years, but £2.5m investment is proof that landmark Little Wymondley hotel really means business
- Credit: Archant
The doors have been closed for three years, £2.5m has been lavished on a refit, and what was once the faded Blakemore hotel in Little Wymondley is now ready to reveal its smart new look.
There’s a new name – it’s now Needham House in honour of the 16th century architect and surveyor James Needham, who was granted Wymondley Priory by Henry VIII for his services to the crown and whose descendants lived there for generations.
There’s a smart and modern new look, which includes 79 fully refurbished bedrooms, 16 new conference rooms including an 80-seater auditorium and a new spa, sauna and gym as well as an open plan restaurant staffed by an award-winning kitchen crew keen to build a reputation.
And there’s more in store, with plans for a wedding marquee in the pipeline.
General manager Pete Farrow said: “We want to be more than just a hotel or a wedding and conference venue.
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“I want it to be a venue for everyone, it’s not just for a special occasion or meeting.
“This is the place where you will enjoy a gin and tonic on a Tuesday and come back on a Saturday night for dinner – the kind of venue in which you can relax and feel at home while enjoying a quality afternoon tea experience or superb Sunday lunch.”
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Pete has worked at specialist conference venues and five star hotels during a varied career and believes that wealth of experience will help him deliver ‘the best of what I know’ at Needham House.
Key members of his team include head chief Ivor Morgan, operations manager Julia Neuhaus and Lauren Brown who oversees the sales office.
Pete said: “Ivor cooks wonderful food and creates dishes that people want to eat – intelligent but not overly complicated dishes cooked with passion from the freshest of ingredients.
“Julia is in charge of our guest experience and ensures 100 per cent satisfaction for our customers. The most important thing for us all to achieve is that guests feel welcome, valued and leave happy.
“Lauren ensures every detail is taken and every possible request is met, she is superbly organised and has great attention to detail.”
The business facilities have been designed to meet a wide range of needs, making the most of the location just off the A1(M) and within easy reach of Stevenage’s big employers, and other major players in the North Herts economy.
Pete said: “In terms of meeting rooms, we range from a room ideal for one to one interviews right up to a space which can accommodate 200 people for a presentation.
“Our smaller rooms for training, events and conferences are ideal for 15 to 30 delegates.
“These rooms and our 80- seater auditorium are all equipped with state of the art audio visual equipment, easy to use and reliable.
“I want people to remember their visit to Needham House.
“We did a lot of research into what makes a meeting work – we know that good audio equipment, superb food and a great cup of coffee are important and that’s exactly what we offer.
“And our marquee is coming soon – that will be ideal for a party, a Christmas function or a team building event as well as weddings.
“We are an independent venue very far removed from dull conferencing and boring bedrooms that you might encounter elsewhere.
“We offer big width free wi-fi, a real range and choice of event rooms and a secondary lounge to complement our main bar/ lounge and the auditorium.
“Needham House is an individual venue, delivering individual service to individuals.
“Our team can deliver tailored experiences in a wide variety of formats.
“We are in a great location, 20 minutes by train from London Kings Cross with a choice of local stations, good road links and far enough in the countryside so that you feel away from it all.
“People have to come up and see us, from the feedback so far our guests have loved it and we are only just starting.
“The area is crying out for a product of this quality.
“I have sat in, seen and set up a lot of meeting spaces and I have to say Needham House offers meetings as they should be.”