NORTHAM is on the verge of a new era in hospitality with the official opening of Duke’s Inn last Friday.
Formerly the 19th Century Club Hotel and then the Colonial Tavern on the corner of Duke and Morrell Streets, the heritage-listed property has been transformed into a gracious, even luxurious venue.
The project is the brainchild of Frank and Ilona Delanotte who have a history of successful project development.
It has been a labour of love over two long years.
The two-storey building is state heritage listed so every alteration the Delanottes proposed had to be approved by the Heritage Council.
However enough of the work has been completed for an opening last Friday to show what has been achieved so far.
The public areas have a special ambience with fittings and furnishings of the highest quality assembled with great taste.
Accommodation is also attractive.
In the main building the rooms have been tastefully furnished to five-star standard.
Bathroom facilities are communal but no one will complain about the short walk to them because of the way they are fitted out.
Units have been constructed around the inn and these are fully self-contained and are flexible in arrangement.
The Delanottes are still a little bemused about the heritage requirements of these units.
“We originally designed them at considerable expense to fit in with the architecture of the building,” Mr Delanotte said.
“However the Heritage Council told us they were too close to the original style, so we had to build them as contemporary.”
On Friday evening Duke’s Inn was officially opened by the Minister for Regional Development Brendon Grylls.
“This is fitting as Northam has achieved SuperTown status,” he said.
Although Duke’s Inn has now been officially opened, its functioning will take place in stages.
“We will have the accommodation opened first,” Mr Delanotte said.
“Once we have all the final approvals, we can operate the hospitality and dining areas but those contracts take time to set up with brewing companies.
“Finally we will convert the old stables into suites.
“We are enormously grateful to the Shire of Northam which has been so supportive through the whole project.”