BRIDGWATER’S first four-star hotel opened its doors just in time for carnival.

On Friday morning, various dignitaries and representatives from the Mercure Hotel and local authorities headed to the hotel in Eastover for a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Guests even enjoyed a performance of traditional dancing thanks to visitors from Budva in Montenegro, visiting to take part in Bridgwater Carnival.

The new hotel features 119 bedrooms, including a range of standard doubles, kingsize and ‘privilege’ rooms, as a well as a Marco Pierre White Steakhouse and bar which will be open to the public.

The new restaurant can cater for up to 104 people, and there is also a bar and seating area which the public can use too.

The hotel includes a small gym for guests only, and two meeting rooms.

Emma Rathbone, sales manager for the Mercure Bridgwater, said: “It has been a great project to work on.

“It is great to see it open and people being able to use the fantastic facilities we have on offer here.

“Yes, it has taken a little longer than anticipated but hopefully it will bring a boost to business and tourism in Bridgwater.”

Leader of Sedgemoor District Council, Cllr Duncan McGinty, said: “It could be a real catalyst for the regeneration of this part of the town.

“It also helps realise a long term ambition for Sedgemoor District Council to see improved accommodation for the town as Bridgwater continues to grow.”

Leader of Bridgwater Town Council, Cllr Brian Smedley, added: “The new hotel has been part of the town council’s spur toward improving tourism in the town.

“For investors to to put something of this size and quality in Bridgwater shows a great deal of confidence in our town and we need to get behind it and support it.”

The first guests were due to stay in the hotel over carnival weekend, with the hotel opening fully on Monday.

Bridgwater MP Ian Liddell-Grainger was among the guests and said: “It is fantastic for such a prestigious hotel to open in Bridgwater, and very good timing to open the day before carnival.”

The Mercure Hotel is the first of six planned hotels for the Bridgwater area to open its doors.

Deepak Chainrai of DC Hotels Ltd officially cut the ribbon to the hotel, saying thank you to all those who had helped and supported the project since its inception.

The Mercure Hotel also has a large LCD screen on its side displaying artistic images of the local area as well as colourful lighting to make it stand out in the evenings.