STUNNING views and luxurious furnishings will greet visitors to the Worcester city centre Premier Inn after the ribbon was cut at its official opening.

The 120-room hotel at Worcestershire County Cricket Club's New Road ground opened for business on Monday, January 27 and the chain now hopes its launch party can be followed by some sport-inspired success.

Not only does the venue rub shoulders with its cricketing neighbours but it also lies near the University of Worcester Arena and Worcester Racecourse, meaning it could prove a hit with sport fans.

Mayor of Worcester, cllr Pat Agar, performed the ceremonial duties at the hotel and Thyme restaurant today (Friday) and along with the budget hotel chain's staff, she thinks it will bowl over visitors.

Cllr Agar said: "It's a wonderful addition. We have long needed a hotel of quality in the centre of town and this fits the bill. It has two magnificent views with the cricket pitch on one side and the river and cathedral on the other.

"It is right in the heart of our sporting community in Worcester. I think Premier Inn will do tremendously well and I look forward to it thriving. It has certainly be needed for some time and it is nice to see it come into being."

The hotel's operations manager Sarah Hall says although the flooding delayed the launch it did not affect the building due to its design seeing it raised up on stilts and bookings are now looking "very strong" during the week and at weekends.

"It's fantastic to finally officially open the hotel to Worcester. As soon as the cricket season starts it will be mayhem, but good mayhem, and we are really excited for it all to kick in."

Diners and drinkers in the Thyme restaurant can marvel at close-up views of the cricket pitch, with New Road widely regarded as the most picturesque cricket ground in the country.

While the bedrooms also overlook the pitch along with views across to the Malvern Hills and out to Worcester Cathedral, the river Severn and the rooftops of the city centre.

The budget chain says the hotel has created 40 new jobs for Worcester residents and will contribute £8 million to the local economy.

The hotel adjoins a new hospitality building which opened at the cricket club last September.