A new £6 million Melton care home was compared to a luxury hotel by diet and fitness expert Rosemary Conley when she officially opened it on Friday.
The Amwell, on Asfordby Road, has 88 en suite bedrooms and is also equipped with a beauty salon, a cinema and a gymnasium.
Mrs Conley (70), who used to live at Ashby Folville, was clearly taken aback by the quality of the accommodation and services where residents will pay from £895 per week to live.
While touring the four-floor building, she told the Melton Times: “I think it is an outstanding facility - the sort of place you dream of spending your retirement years if you are in a situation where you need to go into some kind of a care home.
“To have an on-site gym, a hair and beauty salon, a bar and even a room where you can invite family to have a private dinner is fantastic.
“It’s like staying in a very nice hotel. This will create a new level of luxury for care homes.”
She added: “I also like the fact there is a different floor for guests with dementia and the lift is big enough for someone who is bed-ridden to come downstairs in their bed and join in with activities and socialise.”
Guests who attended the opening ceremony were entertained by live music and singing, together with dance performances by students from The Grove Primary School and Brooksby Melton College.
Before Mrs Conley cut a ribbon to declare the home open, she told assembled guests: “As I am reaching advancing years I have a particular interest in this place.
“It’s just extraordinary. It’s like a really posh hotel and the great thing is that it’s all-inclusive.
“The quality of the rooms and the custom-made furniture is very impressive.
“I know everybody dreads the thought of going into a care home but I have to tell you people will want to come here early when they have a look around this place. It’s phenomenal.
“I wish the team here enormous success and I think people coming here to live will have an absolute ball.”
The home is for people aged 65 and over who need care, as well as those with dementia and people in need of nursing help. The first resident moved in on Monday.
It is staffed by 21 full and part-time employees at present, although there are plans to take more people on as the number of residents increases.
There are dining rooms on three of the four floors and a private dining room which can be booked out by residents for family occasions.
The beauty salon will offer hairdressing, massage and nail treatments and will be staffed by students from Brooksby Melton College as part of their study qualifications.
A gymnasium is equipped with machines designed to be kinder to the joints and the cinema room has a large screen with comfy seating, with plans in place to run regular themed nights such as 1930s films or rom coms.
A chauffeur-driven Mercedes is also available to take residents into town and a dedicated activities coordinator plans an impressive monthly events programme.
Head chef Sarah Tonks, who worked previously at Broadoak Lodge nursing home in Melton, has three kitchen staff at present.
She said: “We will be serving mainly high quality traditional English food we plan to use local produce as much as possible. There will be a set menu but we don’t have to stick to it.”
Home manager Christopher Batty said staff were keen to foster links with local community groups.
He said: “The Amwell care home is possibly one of the most luxurious care homes there has ever been in Leicestershire.
“We want it to be a community hub for Melton as well.
“We have already linked up with Melton Borough Council and Me and My Learning to try to help people who might not have had the best opportunities in life.
“We’ve hired four or five people who have been out of work for a long time.
“We’ve also teamed up with Sports Alliance and Melton Space to allow them to use our facilities.
“And we have linked up with schools, such as The Grove, and Brooksby Melton College, to provide young people with work experience.”
Go online at www.theamwellcare.com for more information about the home.