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Bespoke Hotels

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Checking in to Hotel Gotham, Manchester’s decadent playground

768 513 Hamish Kilburn

As Manchester continues to turn heads on the hotel design scene, editor of Hotel Designs Hamish Kilburn checked in to check out Hotel Gotham’s bold and decadent interiors – all sheltered within a former bank…

Ever since its bold entrance onto the unapologetically loud Manchester scene in 2015, Hotel Gotham’s alluring charm has tantalised many senses of those who have passed through its spectacularly framed automatic doors. I, for one, am one of them, and I hold my hands up proudly to say that I have formed a lust for decadence and luxury since checking in.

Expect disruptive interiors that are balanced with effortless style and a narrative threaded throughout the whole building that will take you right back to ’20s glamour.

Manchester’s answer to Gothic-chic is often the heart of the action of the city thanks to the vivacious General Manager, Mario Ovsenjak. It’s this action captured within Hotel Gotham, almost on a need-to-know basis, that helped first raise the bar in hotel design in the North in order to compete not only against its London counterparts, but also against luxury hotels around the world. Because Hotel Gotham is, quite frankly, unlike anywhere else around the globe.

“Think Art Deco meets the Batcave.”

The concept was to create timeless luxury with the ability to take guests away from the city centre below they know and love and into a different universe entirely, all while remaining sensitive in restoring moments that capture the hotel how it used to be. Think Art Deco meets the Batcave.

The entrance, under the watchful focus of the building’s gargoyles, is surprisingly understated given its majestic shell. Designed to emphasise a theatrical greeting from magnificently dressed porters, as if themselves are part of wider performance or an extension of the interior styling, the doors to the hotel are more like a curtain to a stage. Look up and all is not what it first seems. The ceiling is made up of numerous upside-down umbrellas – not for the superstitious I must add – painted in black and gold. These elements are special because they didn’t quite work out according to the original plan. These items were supposed to arrive painted gold underneath and black on top, but it wasn’t until the interior designers erected the first one when they realised that they had been designed to be gold on top and black underneath. Today, the subtle reference to Manchester’s inevitable downpour is cleverly injected and hides the secret well.

Checking in on the sixth floor is an unusual experience to say the least, but an experience I have seen work before, at the W Amsterdam for example. Unlike the raucous, wild and fashion-forward W brand, though, Hotel Gotham’s lobby experience is private and provides and secluded and personal welcome. Just a few steps along and guests are greeted into a large and airy Honey Restaurant, with its own personality. The hotel describes this place as “Whatever Honey conjures up for you”, the 2 AA Rosette awarded restaurant offers guests to dine overlooking Manchester from an unmatched perspective.

Downstairs, the guestrooms and suites shelter the true character of Hotel Gotham. Disruptive interiors balance a seductive, playful misé en scene, yet still feel like a home from home – like a modern designer’s sanctuary… The zig-zagged, soft Newhey carpets and the striking pink accents in the furniture and the inside of the drinks cabinet add flair in all the right corners. Meanwhile, the oversized beds, complete with faux fur throws, make lying-in a privilege.

Challenging the convention of traditional luxury hotels, the most premium category rooms at Hotel Gotham do not boast the most premium views of the city – in fact they boast no view at all. Instead, cleverly I believe, the five Inner Sanctum Suites – each named after an iconic Manchester figure and featuring a huge ‘wonderwall’ screen – are vaulted within the core of the building. Windowless and worlds away from anything happening in the city below, the suites’ sharp cinema screen projections onto panelled wallcoverings offer various atmospheres, not just the one that Manchester wants you to see, including the intriguing narrative of Hotel Gotham characters.

The real showstopper is located on the top floor (floor seven), and is reserved for guests and members only. The history of the building is quite literally written on the walls in the bar. The surfaces are lathered in gold, giving more than just a subtle nod to the bank that the building used to shelter. The bar and lounge area naturally over-spills onto four separate terraces that together capture a jaw-dropping view over the city and beyond.

Bespoke Hotels recently announced that it was to open the 191-key The Brooklyn to Manchester, which will pay ‘homage to the Golden Age of New York City’. This follows Top Hotel Projects revealing a rather large development growth of luxury hotels in Manchester, with 18 first-class and luxury hotel projects listed for the city with 2,907 rooms in the pipeline – eight of which are slated to be unveiled in 2019. The Brooklyn, which will become the younger brother – or sister – of Hotel Gotham, is expected to share the same disobedience, and rightly so, as the hotel group arguably continues to lead the way in the city with endless possibilities that help to broaden the ever-changing landscape of hotel design in the North.

Key suppliers list: 

Carpets – Newhey Carpet
Lighting – RS Robertsons
Curtains –  Robena Contract Furnishings Limited
Furniture (pink seating)  – Style Matters
Desk – PTT design
Bathroom toilet, basin and shower – Marflow

Image credits: ACT Studios

1950s-style boutique hotel slated to open in former Coventry Telegraph offices

800 600 Hamish Kilburn

The new Telegraph Hotel, which will be operated by Bespoke Hotels, will retain much of its original features…

Bespoke Hotels, which manages 9,500 hotel rooms in 21 countries from Australia to America, has reached an agreement with Developers Complex Development Projects (CDP) to operate a 1950s-style boutique hotel at the former Coventry Telegraph offices.

Construction is planned to commence at the end of the year on creating 100 guestrooms, a ground floor restaurant and bar, meeting rooms, penthouse suites and a rooftop bar after planning approval was granted by Coventry City Council on July 16. Final approval from the Council is awaited for long lease extensions necessary to deliver the project.

The original features of the building, which include the panelled Board Room and Lord Iliffe’s apartment, will be retained as unique features of the building’s former life. Around 130 jobs will be created when the hotel opens which is scheduled to be ahead of Coventry being UK City of Culture in 2021.

The project is unique and we needed an operator that embraced our vision for something that will be truly Coventry

“This is an iconic building charged with much recent history of the City of Coventry with a really strong tone of voice from which we hope to deliver a rich narrative with nods to the 1950s heyday of the building and a cool contemporary twist,” said Chairman of Bespoke Hotels, Robin Sheppard, who founded the business with Haydn Fentum. “This will be a destination hotel with tons of character and a cheeky smile.”

A perfect example of this is Hotel Gotham which is a five-star hotel that was named World’s Best New Hotel and Coolest Boutique Hotel following its opening in 2015 because of its attention to detail ranging from its art deco design to providing a luxury chauffeur service.

Image caption: Interiors of Hotel Gotham

“The project is unique and we needed an operator that embraced our vision for something that will be truly Coventry,” said Ian Harrabin, Managing Director of CDP. “We took advice from national hotel experts and Bespoke was our first choice of partner. We have been working with them for the past six months on the detail of the project and are happy that they share our enthusiasm for Coventry and recognise the opportunity of this unique building. We want to create a style of hotel that is not offered anywhere else in the area – a style that is truly bespoke. Their experienced team bring out the heart and soul of hotels with their professionalism, experience, flair and individuality.”

Partnered with CDP’s track record of delivering creative developments that break the conventional mould such as FarGo Village and Electric Wharf, the new Telegraph Hotel is siad to be be unlike any other.

Harrabin continues: “We want to give the city an hotel that Coventry can be proud of and provide a focus for the City of Culture status that has been bestowed for 2021. We have been delighted to have received such strong support from all local stakeholders, not least within the council and are determined to create something special with our chosen award-winning hotel operators.”

The project is supported by West Midlands Combined Authority through the Collective Investment Fund managed by Finance Birmingham. Designers and Architects that will be working on the project are yet to be confirmed.

White Horse Dorking

The White Horse, Dorking prepares to re-launch

850 510 Daniel Fountain

The countdown to the re-launch of The White Horse in Dorking is on, Bespoke Hotels is delighted to reveal. Set to re-open in late 2017, the historic Coaching Inn in the heart of Dorking will reveal its new dining concept, The Dozen, alongside expanded accommodation as part of a £4 million investment by Bespoke Hotels.

A first for Dorking, The Dozen will offer a stylish all-day dining space. Designed by Squid Inc, creators of Manchester’s trendy 5-star Hotel Gotham, the hotel’s new Dozen concept will combine homely touches with contemporary charm, in keeping with the hotel’s long-standing history as one of the UK’s oldest coaching inns. The adaptable space can also be used for private dining, meetings and events.

White Horse Dorking
Following the re-opening of the White Horse, guests will also be able to enjoy a fresh new look across the hotel’s 56 bedrooms and suites, with room types ranging from cosy, spacious and indulgent rooms to decedent one-bedroom suites for maximum pampering, all of which are being beautifully enhanced to breathe new life into this historic hotel, combining style and substance with affordability.

The White Horse is within quick and easy reach of London, as well as being conveniently located for business travellers, with Gatwick Airport nearby. Local attractions include Denbies & Albury Vineyards, Wisley Gardens, Hampton Court Palace and much more.

Bespoke Hotels appointed to manage Manchester’s Townhouse Hotel

800 450 Daniel Fountain

Bespoke Hotels is delighted to announce that it has been appointed to oversee management of Manchester’s Townhouse Hotel. Set beside the city’s renowned Portland Street, the 85-bedroom property, itself a former cotton warehouse with a history dating back to the Industrial Revolution, has been acquired this month by Fragrance Group.

Set to feature within Bespoke Hotels’ portfolio alongside the award-winning Hotel Gotham, itself just a stone’s throw away in Central Manchester, The Townhouse Hotel forms part of a significantly expansion into the UK market by the Singaporean Fragrance Group. Purchased alongside a number of properties across the country, including The Palace Hotel in Torquay and Blackpool’s Imperial Hotel, the Townhouse is seen as a central pillar of their strategy, particularly given Manchester’s robust trading performance in recent years.

Townhouse Manchester
“We are extremely pleased to have reached an agreement to take The Townhouse under our wing”, commented Haydn Fentum, CEO of Bespoke Hotels. “Following on the heels of Hotel Gotham’s notable success, we have long been investigating means to further our commitment to Manchester and increase our presence within the city, with a historic property such as this providing the ideal vehicle through which to do so.”

“Bespoke Hotels have a proven track record across both Manchester and the wider UK market”, added James Koh, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Fragrance Group Ltd. “The city forms a cornerstone of our UK investment strategy, and the Townhouse is a property that we view as having tremendous potential within this. We are excited to be investing in Manchester at a time when it is rapidly establishing itself as one of the foremost destinations in Europe, both commercially and in the eyes of tourists.”

Bonham Hotel

Edinburgh’s Bonham Hotel enters the Bespoke Hotels fold

800 532 Daniel Fountain

Bespoke Hotels is delighted to welcome Edinburgh’s Bonham Hotel to its midst, which joins the rapidly-growing independent hotel group from its enviable position in the city’s stately West End.

A notable addition to Bespoke’s burgeoning Scottish portfolio, The Bonham boasts 49 bedrooms, alongside a stylish bar and restaurant, events space, and a superb location beside the renowned Princes Street in Edinburgh’s New Town district.

Bonham Hotel
Surrounded by bustling cafes and upmarket shopping destinations, The Bonham is also within easy reach of the city’s Old Town and St Giles’ Cathedral, the Royal Mile, as well as the world famous Edinburgh Castle. With its individually-decorated bedrooms and Victorian townhouse façade, the property offers elegance and privacy, alongside a wider range of dining options and superb views of the neighbouring Drumsheugh Gardens.

Bonham Hotel
“We are thrilled to be working alongside the new ownership of the Bonham Hotel”, commented Haydn Fentum, CEO of Bespoke Hotels. “We are fortunate to have come on board at a very exciting time in the property’s development, as we seek to consolidate its well-earned reputation and invite travellers to explore this beautiful city.”

Bonham Hotel
“Scotland has always held a special appeal to me, which began with my interest in the beautiful Art Nouveau works produced by artists including Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Margaret Macdonald,” added US-based businessman and philanthropist Richard H. Driehaus, who has recently acquired the Bonham Hotel. “I am proud to join the Edinburgh community.”

www.bespokehotels.com

www.thebonham.com 

Bespoke Hotels take over Roxburghe Hotel

Roxburghe Hotel acquired by Bespoke Hotels

1000 661 Daniel Fountain

Roxburghe Estates and Bespoke Hotels have announced they have agreed terms for the transfer of ownership of the Roxburghe Hotel and Golf Course near Kelso in the Scottish Borders. Completion of sale is expected to take place at the end of July, 2017.

Bespoke Hotels is the largest independent hotel group in the UK, and the Roxburghe’s 22-bedroom luxury hotel and championship golf course is an attractive fit within a collection that includes the Chester Grosvenor, Storrs Hall in Cumbria, as well as a robust Scottish portfolio, featuring the Carnoustie Golf Hotel, Tulloch Castle, Dingwall, and Stonefield Castle, Tarbert.

The opportunity for expansion of the facilities at the Roxburghe, alongside the development of self-catering lodges, is actively being considered. In 2010, planning consent was granted for 60 holiday lodges, a new clubhouse and conversion of the existing clubhouse to a 10 bedroom dormy house, all of which stood as a key factor in Bespoke’s strong interest and decision to acquire the business. The creation of a luxury destination resort is the principal vision of the new owners, building on the outstanding facilities and reputation which the Roxburghe enjoys.

Roxburghe HotelThe Duke of Roxburghe commented: “I am delighted that we have reached agreement with Bespoke, knowing that they have exciting plans for the future and will invest significantly in the business. We look forward seeing the Roxburghe grow in the years ahead under new ownership and achieving our long-term vision of a high-quality resort destination. We strongly believe the Roxburghe has a secure and successful future under Bespoke Hotels’ management.”

“The business has been a particular interest and focus of mine since it first opened as a country house hotel in 1982, which subsequently expanded with the development of the first championship golf course in 1995. It has given me enormous pride and satisfaction to see it develop successfully over the years, but it became clear that a new investor needed to come aboard for the Roxburghe to move to the next level and become a world class destination. We are therefore extremely pleased to hand over the business to such an experienced and committed operator as Bespoke.”

“I know how much the quality of service is valued by our customers, together with the high standards maintained in the hotel and on the golf course. I am therefore pleased to be able to confirm that all the existing staff will be retained, and I would like to pay particular thanks to the team for ensuring the Roxburghe has achieved such high standards in all areas. Although ICMI will not be continuing as managers, I am confident the professionalism, high standards and attention to detail for which the estate has become known will long be maintained into the future.”

Haydn Fentum, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Bespoke Hotels, added: “We are hugely excited by the potential of The Roxburghe and look forward to taking the business into a new era. We are keen to build on the excellent work done to date by both Roxburghe Estates and ICMI, which has given us an extremely sound platform on which to build.”

“We would like to extend our thanks to the outgoing management team, as well as to both the hotel and golf course staff, with whom we hope to build a fruitful relationship moving forward. We are particularly grateful to the support of the Duke of Roxburghe and Roddy Jackson, chief executive of Roxburghe Estates, alongside whom we are delighted to be working, and whose enthusiasm for the business is an ongoing source of inspiration.”

www.bespokehotels.com

Pontlands Park - Bespoke Hotels

Bespoke Hotels welcomes Pontlands Park to boutique collection

1000 471 Daniel Fountain

Bespoke Hotels is delighted to welcome Chelmsford’s historic Pontlands Park Hotel to its growing network of fine independent hotels. Originally built in 1879, this family-owned property features Victorian era architectural flourishes across its 35 rooms, as well as extensive landscaped grounds and modern events and conferencing facilities.

Pontlands Park - Bespoke Hotels

An ideal venue for weddings and celebrations, with internal and external spaces able to accommodate up to 200 guests, the family-run Pontlands Park is located just 35 minutes from Central London by train, a stone’s throw from Chelmsford and the Essex countryside, and just 15 minutes from the M25. Boasting an expansive restaurant, offering a seasonal menu and relaxed, lounge-style dining, it is equally well suited to candlelit dinners or family days out.

Pontlands Park - Bespoke Hotels

“We are extremely pleased to be working to support Pontlands Park”, said Nick Turner, Managing Director of Bespoke Hotels International. “The property is a real gem in the East of England and has huge potential, both in terms of its rooms, as well as the first-class events and wedding facilities on site. We are excited to be working alongside the Bartella family to maximise this as we look to the future.”

Pontlands Park Hotel
West Hanningfield Road, Great Baddow
Chelmsford, Essex
CM2 8HR | 01245 476 444

bespokehotels.com/pontlandsparkhotel

Bab Hotel, Marrakech

Bespoke Hotels to manage Bab Hotel, Marrakech

1000 537 Daniel Fountain

Bespoke Hotels is delighted to announce that it has reached an agreement to take on the management of The Bab Hotel in Marrakech, Morocco’s bustling and lively ‘Red City’.

Located in the city’s fashionable Gueliz district, The Bab offers a contemporary take on traditional North African hospitality, retaining all the charms that the exotic locale has to offer, while blending modern design and state of the art amenities.

Featuring 45 spacious bedrooms, including 19 suites, The Bab is dressed in black and white and brimming with character. It boasts a modern restaurant, swimming pool and inner courtyard, alongside a traditional spa in the mould of a Turkish bath, as well as conferencing space and an enchanting rooftop venue, ideal for everything from afternoon tea to cocktails beneath the sunset.

“We are thrilled to take on the management and build on the potential of this terrific property”, commented Nick Turner, Managing Director of Bespoke Hotels International. “We look forward to establishing a presence in Marrakech and, in time, expanding our management portfolio across Morocco.”

“This is a historic moment in the fortunes of the hotel”, added owner Abdesselem Ababou. “I am delighted that Bespoke Hotels are bringing their outstanding skills and key personnel to enhance and grow our reputation, both of The Bab and of Marrakech itself as a key international tourism destination.”

The Boathouse, Storrs Hall, WindermereJENNY WOOLGAR PHOTOGRAPHY

Storrs Hall unveils exclusive new ‘Boathouse’ bolthole

1000 566 Daniel Fountain

A boathouse in Windermere has been transformed into one of the Lake District’s most exclusive holiday destinations, set in secluded woodland at Storrs Hall hotel, which recently became part of the Bespoke Hotels collection.

The Grade II* listed building has undergone renovation work costing more than £500,000. Available to book from September 2016, its guests will be able to enjoy the totally private luxury accommodation with stunning views across the lake.

The Boathouse; Storrs Hall; WindermereJENNY WOOLGAR PHOTOGRAPHY

The Boathouse; Storrs Hall; Windermere
JENNY WOOLGAR PHOTOGRAPHY

Guests will access the 200-year-old boathouse via a keypad at the handmade gates. The building’s refurbishment includes bespoke fixtures and fittings, from the unique American black walnut bed, Arte three-dimensional textile wall coverings and a Keuco bathroom, to an iPad-controlled mood-lighting and sound system which controls everything from the window blinds to the Sonos music equipment. This historic building has been reinvented with solid oak woodwork, a huge spa shower which becomes a steam room, and underfloor heating.

Both the bed and the bath face the picture window, making the most of the location. Mark Hindle, the owner of Storrs Hall, said: “We are creating the perfect holiday destination with total privacy for those who want all the service and luxury this lovely hotel has to offer.

The Boathouse; Storrs Hall; WindermereJENNY WOOLGAR PHOTOGRAPHY

The Boathouse; Storrs Hall; Windermere
JENNY WOOLGAR PHOTOGRAPHY

The transformation of the boathouse is part of a massive renovation project at Storrs Hall by the Hindle family. Since 2013, the public areas and nearly all of the 30 bedrooms and suites have been refurbished, with the rest of the rooms due to be completed by early 2017. More renovation work is then planned for the rest of the Storrs Hall estate, including its self-catering lakeside lodges.

The Boathouse; Storrs Hall; WindermereJENNY WOOLGAR PHOTOGRAPHY

The Boathouse; Storrs Hall; Windermere
JENNY WOOLGAR PHOTOGRAPHY

More than £50,000 is being spent on each room and suite in the hotel. They have been individually designed to feature Italian marble, contemporary bathrooms and décor to frame the lake views many of the rooms enjoy.

The Talbot, Ripley, Surrey

Bespoke Hotels’ The Talbot reopens after £1m refurbishment

1024 703 Daniel Fountain

Following substantial refurbishment works and a star-studded launch event, The Talbot has reopened its doors in the heart of Ripley in scenic Surrey, breathing new life into this historic coaching inn, which has played host to everyone from Audrey Hepburn to Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton during its 250-year history.

Having benefited from a £1 million investment, encompassing soft enhancements to the bedrooms and suites, the restaurant and bar areas, as well as the property’s substantial events and wedding facilities, The Talbot sees itself reinvigorated and ready to make its mark in the South East once again.

The addition of the renowned Michelin Starred figure of Martin Blunos to the role of Executive Chef has also helped to transform the Talbot’s culinary offering, with a brand new menu comprising modern flourishes alongside time-honoured British favourites, with an emphasis on versatility and locally sourced produce.

“The Talbot has always been a property brimming with personality”, said Graham Marskell, Managing Director of Bespoke Hotels. “We are delighted to have been able to bring out this unique character through a schedule of extensive refurbishment works, as well as an exciting new menu and dynamic team. We at Bespoke are looking forward to re-establishing the property both on a local and national level.”