Owners have invested half a million pounds to transform a Victorian Ilfracombe hotel into a 21st century venue

One of the Carlton Hotel's newly refurbished bedrooms, part of a £500,000 investment plan. Picture: Tony GussinOne of the Carlton Hotel's newly refurbished bedrooms, part of a £500,000 investment plan. Picture: Tony Gussin

The owners of The Carlton Hotel in Ilfracombe have four star ambitions after investing half a million pounds in the business.

Partners Eliot Seabourn-Wren and Michael Rebeiro bought the Victorian hotel in Runnacleave Road in August 2015 and are coming up to their second full summer season.

They have big plans and have already spent £300,000 on the hotel's bar and brasserie, gymnasium, library and new event space.

They have transformed and fully refurbished 10 of the hotel's 45 rooms to bring them up to contemporary standards demanded by modern customers - and plan to continue on and refurbish the rest.

Eliot said: "We are currently rated two star but by the time we finish we want to be a four star property and that's a reflection of the new bedroom design and facilities, as well as the fact the hotel has 24-seven food and drink and leisure facilities.

"When we were doing our research we noticed the town council said in its strategic plan it wanted a four star property, so we factored that in."

The hotel is open all year around, employing six full time staff even during the 'off' season.

It is also open to locals, with people welcome to call in for coffee, lunch or dinner and a 20 per cent discount offer on food and drink for anyone living in the EX34 postcode area.

The owners moved to North Devon from East London and Michael said: "I have been managing hotels for the last 35 years. I have been doing it for other people but not for myself, so we decided we should go for it."

The business is keenly involved in community activities and events. When One Ilfracombe launched its Spring into Action scheme for March to encourage people to become fitter and healthier, The Carlton hired a free personal trainer for staff, running a competition to see who could get the best results.

It proved so popular Eliot and Michael have decided to continue the programme.

On Wednesday, April 26 the hotel will be hosting the first ever preview for Ilfracombe's annual Art Trail.

The Art Trail proper is on the weekend of May 6-7 and promotes local and national artists.