Potters Resorts Five Lakes, an all-inclusive holiday resort in Maldon, Essex, won the New Tourism Business of the Year award at the East of England Tourism Awards 2023-2024.

Founded in 1920, Potters Resorts is a family-owned business with an established history in East Anglia.

Having celebrated its centenary in 2020 at its original resort in Hopton-on-Sea, Norfolk, the company acquired Five Lakes Resort in late 2021 and quickly set about transforming the 320-acre site into the UK’s first all-inclusive, adult-only holiday destination.

As well as extensive refurbishments to existing facilities, a brand-new sports park, Garden Bar area and the state-of-the-art Glade Theatre were all created from the ground up, filling an empty space previously used for large events.

“Acquiring Five Lakes and making massive changes to the facilities and infrastructure during a global pandemic certainly had its challenges,” said John Potter, proprietor of Potters Resorts. “But within six months, we’d launched our first all-inclusive breaks in what is now a warm, vibrant, friendly resort.”

Potters Resorts Five Lakes won the New Tourism Business of the Year award at the East of England Tourism AwardsPotters Resorts Five Lakes won the New Tourism Business of the Year award at the East of England Tourism Awards (Image: Potters Resorts)
With over 85,000 guests visited or booked to visit in the near future, John said it was “such a great feeling” to win the New Tourism Business of the Year award.

“It reflects our amazing team’s relentless effort and dedication, both here at Five Lakes and at our HQ at Potters Resorts Hopton-on-Sea, Norfolk. We’re so thankful to them and of course, our wonderful guests who have supported our Five Lakes journey.”

Mike Scott, managing director, added: “The award and the coverage we received were excellent and coincided closely with Five Lakes’ 5-star Visit England inspection, which we were delighted to retain for a second year running.

“More recently, the resort also received Tripadvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Award for 2024, which puts Five Lakes in the top 10% of property listings worldwide, based on genuine and first-hand feedback from guests.

“As a family business that doesn’t have the same marketing budget as many of the household names we’re up against, these accolades speak volumes as they are the valued opinions of others, not just ourselves.”

Potters Resorts Five Lakes offers weekend and midweek breaks for up to 400 like-minded adults, with an all-inclusive programme that covers everything from sports, leisure and activities through to night and daytime entertainment, including West End-style shows, drinks and four meals a day.

Non-residents continue to enjoy access to its spa facility and golf course, which has also benefitted from major investment.

“This wasn’t just a facelift; it signified the birth of a fresh and unique staycation offering in the UK,” said John.

John Potter (centre) and Mike Scott (right) with ambassador judge Mike WilsonJohn Potter (centre) and Mike Scott (right) with ambassador judge Mike Wilson (Image: Matt Potter Photographer and Videographer)
As a business operating in a competitive marketplace, John believes Potters Resorts Five Lakes offers plenty to help it stand out from the crowd.

“We like to do hospitality the right way, first and foremost,” he said. “Our all-inclusive resorts are unique in the UK; nowhere else can you enjoy so much on your short breaks without the extra bills and charges during what should be your time to relax!

“But all that great value means little without a superb team delivering it to the highest standard. Regularly recognised for customer excellence, our team are in the habit of ‘giving’ rather than ‘selling’.

“All things combined, Potters Resorts is a truly special place to visit.”

That’s not to say the business is resting on its laurels. Despite its success at the East of England Tourism Awards, the company also took some valuable feedback from the process.

“Certainly, we don’t shout loud enough about our initiatives to reduce our carbon footprint,” said Mike.

“We recently completed a huge solar panel project, with 3,600 panels installed across both of our resorts. We’ve rolled out LED lighting too – and are currently implementing a new waste and recycling solution – so we’ll now start being a lot more vocal about that!”

Following huge investments in the sports, leisure and entertainment facilities, Potters is now looking to enhance and grow the accommodation options at Five Lakes.

“This will create even more job opportunities for the local area and even more guests enjoying our all-inclusive breaks here in the beautiful Essex countryside,” said John.

For more information, visit pottersresorts.com/five-lakes