Photo gallery: The Assembly House, Norwich, is to offer luxury accommodation for visitors
- Credit: Archant
One of Norwich's historic venues will soon be offering visitors a luxury place to stay in the heart of the city.
Work has started this week on a £1 million project to transform part of The Assembly House, in Theatre Street, into 11 top class bedrooms, five of which will be suites. The rooms are due to be open for guests by October and the project is being largely funded by The Assembly House Trust and managed by The Assembly House directors Richard Hughes and Iain Wilson. 'I think they will be the best rooms in Norwich and probably the county,' said Mr Hughes, who added the project had been four years in the planning and involved discussions with English Heritage, Norwich City Council and Norwich HEART.
The Assembly House is a Grade I-listed Georgian building, and Mr Hughes said the design of the rooms would be in keeping with the heritage of the building which also houses a restaurant and cafe and hosts arts events and weddings.
'It will be fantastic. It will mean The Assembly House is alive seven days a week, for breakfast, lunch and dinner,' he said. 'They will be the best rooms in the city. I think this is something which Norwich needs. Norwich is only going one way - it's booming at the moment.
'For us it will mean people who have weddings here can stay here, and we are talking with the Theatre Royal about opportunities. It's an exciting project.'
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The rooms will be in St Mary's House - which was previously used as staff accommodation - and The Assembly House's former kitchen area. It will be the first time in decades these areas have been open to the public. Norwich-based Purcell are the architects, the building work will be done by Norwich-based Draper and Nichols, and the interior design by Reepham-based Lambert and Tribe. The £1m venture follows a number of other Assembly House projects overseen by Mr Hughes (who also runs The Lavender House Restaurant in Brundall and The Richard Hughes Cookery School) and Mr Wilson (who also runs Byfords in Holt, The Dial House in Reepham and The Pigs in Edgefield). These include a major refurbishment of the restaurant, installing a new kitchen and new cloakroom facilities. It is part of an on-going plan to restore the venue which is one of the Norwich 12, a collection of outstanding heritage buildings. Further into the future, the plan is to bring the building's crypt back into use, possibly as a wine bar or music venue.
'Once the rooms are in we want to keep pushing on the arts side of things,' Mr Hughes added.
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'My big dream is for The Assembly House to be like Norwich's Somerset House.'
The Assembly House's room prices are expected to start from £140 per night.
• Do you have a Norwich arts story? Email arts correspondent Emma Knights at firstname.lastname@example.org