Harefield Manor, Romford, out of the starting blocks with preparations for Olympic Chinese media delegation

The Romford hotel hosting the Chinese media team during the Olympics is getting set to welcome its special guests with 19 new rooms and a redesigned outside dining area – plus a dedicated Chinese chef.

Harefield Manor, on Main Road, will house 180 broadcasters from the world’s largest media industry from July 22nd until the end of the Games. Manager Paul Harris confirmed contracts for food and accommodation had been signed.

“We’re employing a Chinese chef,” he said. “We’re going to do a set menu for lunch and dinner with English, Italian and Chinese options.

“I’m trying to make them welcome and do things to make them come back. It’s about longevity and legacy.”

With the media delegates now having block-booked the Albemarle Centre after the Manor suggested it as an operational base, Mr Harris is confident their presence will boost businesses all over Havering.

“It shows it does bring business to the borough. All the hard work has started to pay off,” he said.

“The builders we’re using [for the new block], Ashleigh Construction, are local. They’ve been on site over weekends and during the evening doing brilliant work, and they’ve used local sub-contractors too.

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“And we’ve got two interpreters from Havering coming to help us through the 25 days. We’re keeping it in the community and it makes a lot of difference.”

Mr Harris said Havering Council had been “exceptionally brilliant” in their support of the deal.

“As each of the floors goes up we get an inspection. Whatever we need changing, they are there straight away. They’ve been on time and they haven’t messed about – they couldn’t have been more helpful.

“And the planners’ response has been second to none.”

And he added he was grateful to Lloyd’s Banking Group for their help since he set up the hotel 10 years ago. “They have done so much for us,” he said. “They are absolutely brilliant.”

He said Lloyd’s had helped him by being flexible around repayments - and urged other local businesses to talk to their banks if they were facing difficulties. “If you pick up the phone and negotiate they’ll help you,” he said.

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