THE new 138 bedroom Holiday Inn Express on the edge of Bridgwater and North Petherton has officially opened.

The new hotel opened its doors to public for the first time ahead of the busy Easter Bank Holiday weekend which has kept the 26 new staff on their toes.

The hotel features a large bar and seating area for 85 people serving local produce including Orchard Pig Cider and beverages from Butcombe Breweries, breakfast facilities, a conference room.

Manager Barnaby Kean has moved from working at a Holiday Inn Express in Regents Park, London to take up the role.

"We have had really good comments back so far from our guests," Mr Kean said.

"We expect to be attracting business visitors associated with Hinkley and corporate events in the area from Monday to Thursday.

"Then Fridays to Sundays our main clientele is expected to be tourists - that could be those visiting this area or stopping off on their way to Devon and Cornwall."

The hotel has family rooms, double standard and twin rooms available.

The new Holiday Inn Express used innovative modular construction techniques which reduced the build time to just over a year.

"We had concrete slabs put into place with pre-built bathroom pods which could be lifted into place," Mr Kean said.

Tim Wheeldon, managing director of Zeal Hotels said: "We are thrilled to open this new 138 bedroom Holiday Inn Express Hotel in Bridgwater.

"Demand for accommodation from local businesses, Hinkley Point C & the increased tourist traffic are all factors we took into account.  

"We appointed South West based Midas Construction and are very pleased to report the project was completed on time & on budget.  The new Holiday Inn Express Gen IV specification is already proving popular. Barnaby and his team are looking forward to welcoming more guests over the coming weeks."