“IT’S BEEN A WHIRLWIND FIRST YEAR AT WINSTANLEY HOUSE BUT THERE’S A GREAT BUZZ HERE”..


One year in, Kiran Parmar talks about how his family turned the Historic Braunstone Hall into a luxury new hotel.. Kiran has had a busy 12 months by anyone's standards - but that's not put him off thinking about what to do next. In the past year, the former Leicester Grammar School boy has been ensuring the success of Leicester's newest hotel. His family owns Winstanley House, which opened in the grounds of Braunstone Park last autumn, with 19 bedrooms, two ballrooms and a smart new steak restaurant. Kiran and his property developer mum and dad Sharon and Naresh saw the potential of the once derelict Braunstone Hall where others couldn't.

They had already done the same with the City Rooms in Leicester city centre, fixing the cracks and all the other problems and turning that into one of the city's foremost wedding venues and function rooms. It was the same with Braunstone Hall.. After years of arson attacks, lead thefts and leaks, a deal was struck with the city council for the family to take it on and embark on a £2 million rebuild, bringing it back to its 18th century glory. The gardens were re-landscaped, ballrooms added - designed to host two wedding receptions at once if need be - and the Black Iron steak restaurant was created, offering top quality food cooked in a charcoal-fired oven. The bedrooms include two bridal suites in separate parts of the building, while next to the 40-seat restaurant is a private dining room that will hold 20. Outside there is parking for 110 cars in the five acres of grounds, right in the heart of the 168-acre surroundings of Braunstone Park.

The hotel was renamed Winstanley House in honour of the family which built the grade II-listed hall and the idea was for a venue which would attract a range of customers, from walkers stopping off for a drink, to 450-guest weddings, and business people needing somewhere exclusive to stay or host meetings. The Leicester Mercury has even held a couple of receptions there. Talking in the private dining room over a cup of tea, Kiran, 32, said after a hectic year the team was now getting into the rhythm of things. "We opened Winstanley House last November and it's been a whirlwind year - really, really busy. "But it's taken off and we've managed to attract a lot of clients that might not normally have come to Leicester. There's a big business community in and around the city and this venue can showcase that. "It's been a good mix, and we've attracted a wide variety of people from different cultures, different ages.

"We've had weddings week-in-week-out, which has been on a par with the City Rooms. "The bedrooms are busy too, generally fully booked and ranked highly on Booking.com. "The restaurant has been doing really well as well. It's locally produced meat, cooked on charcoal which nobody else does like us. "Bookings are pretty consistent through the week and the Sunday roasts are getting packed now. "A lot of my time has been spent here but now that things have settled down I can spend a bit more time back at the City Rooms. "We've actually done quite a bit of refurbishment there too to take it to the next level. "We've completely redone the ballroom and redecorated the four bedrooms there and downstairs. "We want to get it to a super-high standard." The long, hot summer, said Kiran, had been great for Winstanley House, even bringing in a high number of walkers and joggers from the park, stopping off for refreshments. There are 100 full and part-time staff at the hotel and Kiran was proud to employ a lot of people from places like Braunstone, Western Park and New Parks. And with Christmas round the corner, they are already gearing up for the rush. Kiran has loved it so far.

"I would say the highlights of the last year have been some of the events and weddings we have had and seeing the venue full on a summer's day," he said. "There's a great buzz out here and you don't feel like you're in a city - it feels like you're in the countryside. "It's great to see life back in a building that was in such a bad state. "On top of that, lots of people have come in who used to be pupils here when it was a school. "I think the hardest thing for me has probably been that it's been so busy from the get-go. "There was a huge amount of work involved in getting the business off the ground and we are constantly improving and setting our standards higher. "I think having Winstanley House here is good for the whole of Leicester because it's helping Leicester become a destination city. "When we started at the City Rooms, very few people came to visit Leicester at the weekends, but now there is new tourism, and businesses are doing well and all the universities are thriving and that's all really good. "There's a lot of outside investment coming in and the last 10 years have seen Leicester change dramatically. There are also a lot of hotels opening and it will be interesting to see how they all do.

"To be honest, 19 bedrooms aren't quite enough here, but it allows us to provide that extra level of service. "We're constantly in a battle with ourselves to be the best at what we do and make sure we improve things when they go wrong. "Some people stay with us for weeks - you'd be surprised at the number of people coming to the city from overseas to work here Monday to Friday. "People like to use us as their home-from-home." Kiran said it had been an amazing three years since they took on the project, but the family were already thinking about their next move. He said: "We want to open more hospitality venues. When you have two places it's a lot easier to open a third. "We don't know where though. If we can find something that matches our ethos, that has a soul, and that we can fall in love with, we'll take it. "If we did something in Leicester it would have to be different, because we don't want to be in competition with ourselves. "So what we do next could be 20, 30, 50 miles away. We just have to find the right place.." - Written By: Leicester Mercury, 2nd November 2018




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The History of Braunstone Park..

The first records of Braunstone are found in the Doomsday Book of 1086..

- WINSTANLEY HOUSE -

Winstanley House is a Grade II listed Wedding Venue and Banqueting Hall..

The History of Braunstone Hall..

Braunstone Hall was built in 1776 for the Winstanley family, lords of the manor..