A new boutique hotel will offer tourists ‘affordable luxury’, in one of Southend’s most historic areas.

Raymond House care home, in Clifton Terrace, will undergo a £2.5million transformation into a luxury 37-bedroom hotel.

Sadiq Chikte, 37, is joining up with brother-in-law, Omar Rahimi, and father-in -law Jawed Rashid, 62, hope to have it up and running by late summer next year.

They say there is a high demand for luxury ‘London style’ boutique hotels in Southend.

Mr Chikte, who specialises in events management and venue consulting, including hotels in the capital, said: “There are a lot of hotels in Southend, but there aren’t enough to keep up with demand, and there is a lack of boutique hotels here.

“Tourists from Europe flying into Southend Airport who will be very, very interested to stay in a luxury hotel.

“We’ll be bringing that London feel of luxury to Southend. Why would tourists go all the way to London when they can stay here?”

The new development will include a refurbishment of both the outside and interior of the 1970s care home, which Mr Rashid has owned since 2013, to create two bed and family rooms.

And on the top floor of the building there will be four rooms, two with views across the estuary, and two facing into the town which will have their own garden area.

Breakfast will also be included, and the owners say it will be ‘affordable luxury’.

Mr Chikte added: “It will be a competitive price. You won’t be paying £300 per night.”

The venture will create around 20 jobs, and the refurbishment will be done by a firm specialising in London hotels.

The trio also hope to appoint a local contractor and start work on it in January in they get planning approval before then.

The care home, which has been open for four decades, will close on November 30, with its residents being dispersed to other ones in the area.

Mr Rashid, who runs Boscombe Lodge, in Boscombe Road Southend, and Fernbrook House, in Fernbrook Avenue, Southchurch, said: “The location is fantastic. It will have estuary views and we’re opposite the Cliff Lift in a historic part of town.

“We have seen a trend, in people not only wanting accommodation, but high quality accommodation. That’s why hotels need to be built."


Swanky guesthouse owner says business is booming

The owner of another upmarket guesthouse in Southend says he has been 90 per cent occupied all year round.

Garry Lowen, who runs the Gleneagles Guesthouse, in Clifftown Parade – just round the corner from the proposed hotel – says even in November, bookings are high at his Grade II listed building.

And he believes there is demand for new hotels in Southend.

Echo: Plans - Garry Lowen

Garry Lowen

In the past year, Premier Inn has opened on the former gasworks site in Eastern Esplanade, and a 12-bedroom hotel above the Last Post Wetherspoon’s pub in Southend was created in January, run by the booze chain.

The Royal Hotel, in the High Street has been mooted as a possible boutique hotel, but instead is being converted into a restaurant, while Mick Norcross’ plans to transform the Grand, in Leigh Broadway, into a hotel remain in flux.

Mr Lowen said: “In the past nine days, I have had only one day where I have had rooms available.

“Throughout the year, we have been running at 90 per cent occupancy whereas the national average is 75 per cent, so there is a demand for new hotels in Southend.

“People want good personal service compared to the big corporate hotels. And the breakfast needs to be good. If the room isn’t great, you’d be surprised with the amount of people content with a stay if the breakfast is good.”


CGI of the proposed Raymond House hotel


Hotel demand is high in Southend

There is demand for higher-end hotels in Southend, according to the council’s head of tourism.

In what could be seen as a move away from the town’s seaside resort traditions, the Clifton Terrace hotel will join the likes of upmarket Gleneagles Guesthouse, in Clifftown Parade, the Roslin, in Thorpe Bay Esplanade, and Suenos guesthouse, in Eastern Esplanade.

And Scott Dolling, who is head of tourism at the council, believes that daytrippers spend on average £40 when they visit Southend, but this rockets to £170 average spend overnight.

He said: “The research we have done indicates that consumers want to have a good experience, and if you provide that people are prepared to pay a bit more than the average short break.

“The independent offer in hotels that will have character is a good thing, because our research shows that people want to have something that is memorable when they go away.”

Southend Council has actively been trying to get developers to invest in town centre hotels.

And Mr Dolling added: “This direction of travel towards visitors coming to stay longer is really good and is consistent with the direction the council wants to head.

“You can’t see all of Southend in a day. You need a bit longer to explore its hidden depths.”