Mercure recycles Burford Bridge

    150 150 Daniel Fountain
    • 0

    “Everybody” said Jonathan Sheard, Accor’s VP for Luxury, Upscale and Midscale Hotels “seems to have a personal story about Burford Bridge”. I certainly do. As a schoolboy in the 1960’s, my old school used to stage its cross country run up the hill behind the hotel. A small hill is some people’s terms, Box Hill didn’t seem small to me, nor, I suspect, to the cyclists in the Tour de France races that the hill formed a part of. As a designer I first came across the hotel when it was part of the Forte empire, and more recently my niece had her wedding there in the transplanted Saxon tithe barn that forms part of the attraction for the 150 weddings a year that are held in the hotel.The picturesque location in Dorking, at the foot of Box Hill is attractive but also held the key for this major refurbishment of the public areas, for behind the hotel runs the River Mole, and in the winter of 2013/4 the ferocious storms of Christmas Eve led to guests being ferried out of the hotel by boat as the river decided that it too could celebrate Christmas in the public areas of the hotel. Last man to abandon ship was, of course, the GM Tony Tijhuis.

    Jonathan Sheard and I talked extensively about the design decisions that lay behind the excellent refurbishment of the ground floor by Trevillion. I met practice boss Mike Trevillion and discussed their work on the hotel – having got over the embarrassment of having asked after his dad with whom my old practice used to compete. Oh dear, time passes, “retired and living in Spain” was the jovial response.

    The hotel has a large free car park across the road from the entrance, and a separate entrance for the function suite. The outside is definitely period English and is welcoming with hanging baskets and good lighting at night. Inside the main door the first of Mercure’s new design decisions is apparent. Seen also at our previous look at the Mercure London Bridge, the absence of a reception desk is not problem if there is a member of staff front of house to greet a guest, and a large table acts as a focal point work station, but perhaps a signal bell worked from an entrance door sensor could bring a greeter from back office duties like a rabbit from a hat. Otherwise guests tend to stand, puzzled, not knowing where to go to sign in.

    Daniel Fountain / 15.11.2014

    Editor, Hotel Designs


    • 0