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Diss Hotel makes 'industrial chic' bar – solely out of donated goods

A Diss hotel put on the brink of closure by lockdown managed to transform its bar area ahead of its reopening – using only materials donated by local residents.

Park Hotel in Denmark Street, which missed out on a six-figure sum in lost revenue after closing in March, has created a new bar area, relying solely on donated labour and goods for no more than the cost of a tin of paint.

Tracey Davies, who has owned the hotel for 13 years, said she was forced to ‘think outside the box’ after suffering dire financial straits as a result of the crisis.

The Park Hotel have created a new 'Industrial chic' bar area, using only donated goods. Pictured are Tracey Davies (owner) and Stacey Tebble (assistant manager).
The Park Hotel have created a new 'Industrial chic' bar area, using only donated goods. Pictured are Tracey Davies (owner) and Stacey Tebble (assistant manager).

“We were literally on the verge of closure,” said the 47-year-old.

“I didn’t have the money to pay for loads of stuff, because we’ve been shut, and when the funds are running low, but you want to give it a new look, it’s a case of thinking outside the box and seeing what you can do.”

Mrs Davies described the new look as industrial chic – an interior design style which makes use of raw materials, such as metal and wood – all of which were sourced from charitable residents and businesses, completely cost-free.

“It’s a chic industrial look – all ironwork and scaffold poles, and very wooden,” said Mrs Davies.

“All the bars in Diss are very traditional, so we wanted to make it a little bit different.

“Because the building is purpose built, you’re never going to get nice traditional log fires here, so we’ve just gone for a completely different look to everything else in town, and hopefully everyone can come out and enjoy it.

“The most it cost me was the paint. I rummaged through my friends’ sheds to see if they had any bases for tables. I’ve been asking ‘can I have that’ and ‘can I have this’.

“A friend of mine, who works at Stansted Airport, got one of the massive cable reels which we used for lighting, and Diss Scaffolding Company gave me some old scaffold boards to make a new bar.

“They even came up with the idea of putting the scaffold poles around the bottom to make a footrest but I said I didn’t have the money, and they said ‘don’t worry, you can have it for free.’

In addition to goods, local residents and traders have offered up their time and services to help the hotel.

“We’ve had workman friends come in and donate their time to do stuff that I can’t do, and I’ve had friends come and help me strip wallpaper and paint.

“Everyone’s been so nice – it makes you feel good because you know people want you to do well and want to help. It looks really good, I’m really pleased with it.”

Despite being shut since lockdown began in March, the four-star hotel in Denmark Street had to still deal with costs of around £40,000 a month on mortgage payments and maintenance, and lost out on more than double that figure each month in lost revenue.

On Tuesday, the main hotel, restaurant, and new bar area opened to customers, with a number of social distancing measures in place and the number of rooms available reduced at any one time to nine.

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