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Miniview: Inside WILDES Chester, a northern boutique jewel

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Miniview: Inside WILDES Chester, a northern boutique jewel

Northern design studio Spaceinvader, with architecture by EDGE Architect, has created a rich, layered and luxurious interiors scheme for the new WILDES Chester boutique hotel…

With interiors by hospitality and workplace designers Spaceinvader and architecture by EDGE Architects, WILDES Chester will be housed in a Grade-II listed building in The Rows, Chester’s famous historical centre.

The hotel property, on the corner of Bridge and Watergate Streets, was originally developed in 1892 by architect Thomas M Lockwood and is made up of three townhouses.

Today, it shelters a hotel that aims to become a go-to destination for business and leisure travellers.”Our focus is to delight our guests’ senses through innovative food and service with a real aim to redefine hospitality within the city’, said Paul Wildes, CEO of the hotel group. ‘Original features include huge fireplaces, stone windows and original beams and the hotel will be sensitively refurbished to retain these period features while introducing an interior design that takes influence from key venues in London and around the world.”

Liverpool-based Edge Architects have been commissioned to extend the building to the rear, as well as creating a new roof terrace with plunge pool, with the proposals currently awaiting planning permission. The new layout of the black-and-white-fronted building, where the existing fabric is partly redbrick Victorian and partly Jacobean, will encompass 16 en suite bedrooms, each featuring a unique design. Free-standing furnishings in the bedrooms allow the original building to breathe, whilst quirky elements, from free-standing bathtubs and skylights for guests to enjoy the night sky to the four-seater cinema in one of the rooms, add character.

“The new hotel will become a fantastic luxury destination for visitors to Chester,” SpaceInvader Senior Interior Designer Izzy Eling said, “embodying a rich, sensual and flamboyantly-decorated immersion in the heart of the city, with a design scheme inspired by a number of historical threads, coupled with contemporary services and styling.”

The interiors concept takes its initial influence from the site’s history, having originally been built for the Duke of Westminster as a base for his country pursuits, including horse racing and deerstalking. References to horse racing saddlery, from leather straps to diamond stitching details, are incorporated throughout, whilst the logo for Benedict’s and the feature layered bulkhead over the bar are inspired by the racecourse tracks, making it the perfect place to visit before or after a trip to Chester races. The new identity work on the scheme is by Natural Selection Creative Studio.

A second inspirational source was Chester’s medieval market heritage, with Bridge Street having played host to a market trading in leather, cotton and wine and the site itself said to have been used as a corvisor (leather works), producing leather harnesses, gloves and riding boots.

The third thread of the concept is the architecture’s mostly Victorian origins, which finds form in opulent styling in the interiors scheme, from the use of decorative tiling and floral patterns to deep rich jewel tones and exaggerated details. The Victorian era also saw a rise in trade with the East and the importation of new exotic materials from India and China, including luxurious, hand-painted silk wallpapers, woven rattan furniture and highly-decorated porcelain. This aspect of the era’s eclectic tastes forms the final styling inspiration, in the form of large, patterned rugs and the jewel tones used for the bedroom design palette, whilst silk wallpapers and patterns influenced by India and China line the corridors.

‘Playful, hidden quirks and memorable styling will feature throughout,” Eling added. “This will definitely be an Instagramm-able venue when it completes and opens, with any number of details visitors will notice over multiple visits!”

The lobby

Upon arrival, the lobby’s bespoke new Victorian-style mosaic floor tiles feature the new hotel branding inset at their centre. The concierge area features horse-racing details to the timber reception desk design, including leather straps and branded leather tabs for the room keys. The main stair at the rear has been finished in a bespoke carpet, with dark edging detail and an ornate banister. A seating arrangement, with velvet chairs immediately suggesting the scheme’s opulence, sits directly beneath the stair, whilst a door leading away from reception takes visitors directly into Benedict’s bar and restaurant.

F&B

The 45-person-capacity Benedict’s bar features a rich colour scheme of golds and deep tones, with a design influence taken from horse racing. An opulent gold-coloured bulkhead over the bar, for example, is structured to imitate the form of racetracks, whilst feature tiling wraps around the bar itself, which is edged with gold detailing before it cedes to the main dark timber floor.

The bar has a dark marble front and a lighter marble top with WILDES branding etched into its front face. A bespoke wallpaper, developed with a specialist designer, includes subtle horse-riding illustrations. Furniture is rich and luxurious, upholstered in velvet and leather, with quilted detailing throughout.

Image credit: The WILDES Hotel Group

Two adjacent snug areas are dark and cosy with feature jewel tones of emerald green and ruby pink. The wallpaper here is detailed with wildlife images, including rabbits and deer, with set dressing including faux taxidermy in a nod to the Duke of Westminster’s love of country pursuits. The connecting spaces feature artwork referencing horse-racing and country life, with a quirky, full-sized horse lamp greeting visitors en route to the toilets.

The 30-cover indoor section of Benedict’s restaurant showcases a more feminine, romantic feel, inspired by the Victorian love of floral patterns and motifs and including bright velvet fabrics, patterned wallpaper and petal-shaped lamps. The external terracing has both a 12-person bar area overspill and a 26-cover restaurant seating area, dressed in striking black-and-white-striped wicker furniture, referencing the building’s Jacobean architectural elements, with gold cushion highlights and upholstery.

Private Dining Room

The first floor Benedict’s private dining room is an opulent space, perfect for entertaining, and inspired by traditional Victorian drawing rooms.

Image credit: The WILDES Hotel Group

A bespoke timber table for 16 guests is its central focal point, with design features including striking chandeliers, opulent velvet drapes and a floral ceiling finish.

Restrooms

Taking inspiration from Victorian powder rooms, the ladies’ toilets feature pink Victorian metro tiles and gold swan taps, whilst the men’s are in darker tones, with green tiling and black swan taps. Both are tied together through the use of wallpaper featuring giant fern leaves, referencing a plant that was particularly popular in Victorian times, along with metal-plated cisterns embellished with the Benedict’s logo.

Spa

The Spa area boasts a super-feminine, indulgent scheme. Predominantly pink, its motifs include a feature raised peacock motif against the dove-grey wall panelling and faux cherry blossom dressing, nodding to the Orient and the Victorian taste for Chinoiserie. Plush pink velvet banquette seating sits below pink wall panelling, with neon ‘Blooming Fabulous’ wall signage adding to the space’s indulgent feel.

Guestrooms

Although each room is unique in terms of proportion, layout and views, design treatments broadly follow two paths. The first is fresh, elegant and airy with a British country pursuits influence.  Parquet timber floors and light wall panelling provide a backdrop to green velvet window dressing, large-scale foliage rugs and rattan-style furniture and headboards. Leather detailing, quilted stitching embellishment and gold lighting elements tie the scheme together.

Image credit: The WILDES Hotel Group

The second treatment features a richer and moodier colourway, with dark wall panelling and black rattan headboards. The windows and grand double beds are in ruby velvets, whilst the parquet flooring is layered with a large-scale floral rug.

Both bedroom types have connecting details, such as bespoke bedside tables, which are inspired by horse-racing and particularly The Champion’s Chest, where cups and medals are held, whilst also featuring WILDES branding. Each room type also has a feature coloured sink, marble wall panels and timber panelling as well as freestanding baths engraved with the hotel’s branding.

The upper floor features a number of skylighted ‘Stargazing Rooms’, allowing guests to gaze up into the night sky, whilst one additionally features a mezzanine level, which is accessed by a spiral stair and leads up to a private cinema and bar. This space features green velvet reclining armchairs, gold lighting and burnt orange velvet curtains framing the screen, combining to deliver a cosy-but-luxurious cinematic experience.

Main image credit: The WILDES Hotel Group 

Hotel Indigo to make its debut in Chester

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Hotel Indigo to make its debut in Chester

Hotel group IHG has unveiled a first glimpse of its much-anticipated new boutique hotel, Hotel Indigo Chester, which is slated to open later this year under a franchise agreement with Castlebridge Hospitality… 

Located at the heart of Chester, Hotel Indigo Chester combines the local character and charm with vibrant colours and textures to give the hotel a residential look and feel. Just as no two places are alike, no two Hotel Indigo properties are the same.

Each boutique hotel draws inspiration from the local neighbourhood, culture and popular trends in food, drink and design to create a warm and vibrant atmosphere.

The 75-key new build hotel has been designed by architects Franklin Ellis taking inspiration from three key elements of the city; the material layers of its architecture, the iconic 1897 Eastgate Clock and the world-famous Chester Racecourse. Guests can expect an eclectic combination of fabrics, wood panelling and references to historic people and dress from the city’s past.

The design of the 96-cover restaurant will nod to the chef’s, award winning 2015 MasterChef champion Simon Wood, signature style to create a relaxed natural environment in which to enjoy his unintimidating fine dining making it the perfect new outlet for locals to dine in.  At the heart of the restaurant will be the chef’s table and theatre kitchen providing the perfect vista for guests to watch Simon and his team as they work. The restaurant will also feature a private dining room that will accommodate up to ten people for a meeting or dinner. Guests will be able to enjoy Simon’s tasting menus as part of any event or occasion.

“At Hotel Indigo we believe in providing more than just a good night’s sleep, we want to create an experience as unique as the neighbourhood in which we are found,” said Bethan Johnston, General Manager, Hotel Indigo Chester. “It’s really important to us that we reflect the community around us and offer a personalised stay that is tailored both to the city and the guest.

“It’s a high end boutique experience but without ever being stuffy, we will offer top quality service that, like Simon’s food, is unintimidating, relaxed and welcoming. We believe we will offer something different to any other hotel in Chester.”

“We have added unique elements to the interiors that are relevant to the area, including artwork of local landmarks and items that are made locally.” – Ben Dudley, Franklin Ellis Architects

Partner at Franklin Ellis Architects, Ben Dudley, commented: “It’s been a real joy to be involved in this hotel and signature restaurant project. Like all Hotel Indigo properties, this one is inspired by the city it’s located in and seeks to reflect the surrounding architecture and character. We have added unique elements to the interiors that are relevant to the area, including artwork of local landmarks and items that are made locally.

“On a personal note, it’s fascinating to work with Chef Simon Wood and see how his attention to every detail ensures his guests have a wonderful dining experience. I’m certain this project will be a fabulous new venue for Chester and a delightful place to stay.”

Main image credit: Hotel Indigo

Interior of the restuarant

Indoor-outdoor restaurant experience to open in luxury hotel in Chester, England

800 534 Hamish Kilburn

Palm Court Restaurant, Bar & Piano Lounge will open in to Chester’s Grosvenor Pulford Hotel & Spa this month…

A dining experience with a difference will be unveiled in Chester’s Grosvenor Pulford Hotel & Spa this month with the opening of Palm Court Restaurant, Bar & Piano Lounge.

Nelson Hotels have opened the multi-purpose dining venue with the aim to meet all needs of hotel guests, local residents, and visitors to the area. “We identified the need for a restaurant which would be suitable for all occasions and all guests,” said Harold Nelson, Chairman of Nelson Hotels. “Our vision was to create more than just a restaurant and so Palm Court will cater throughout the day and appeal to all dining requirements from casual to special occasion.”

The £1.5 million dining venue has been designed by award-winning interior design consultancy Lister Carter. With an impressive glass ceiling, the space has taken inspiration from a Victorian Palm House, bursting with the greenery of the Kentia Palm tree. The intimate restaurant and bar blends exposed industrial style metalwork and brickwork with luxurious crystal chandeliers, antique mirrors and bronze fretwork. The exposed steel, aged glass and bronze artwork lends itself to a warm but stripped back feel. A mix of marble and wood tables, comfortable leather and velvet chairs and plush sofas offers the customer a sumptuous experience whether it be morning coffee or evening cocktails.

One of the main focal points of Palm Court is a black Yamaha baby grand piano set amidst bubbling fountains and lush palm trees. As well as being the highest quality acoustic piano, it is a famed entertainment piano which boasts thousands of self-playing songs, so even without the pianist it will be music for the ears.

Dining experience

Palm Court is also home to an exclusive wine cave with floor to ceiling wine racks showcasing Laurent Perrier Champagnes and housing almost 100 different varieties of old and new world wines and Champagnes along with specially selected, fine cellar wines. Mirrored walls and a crystal seed chandelier give a luxurious, chic feel. With a poser table seating up to six people, the wine cave will be used for wine tastings and exclusive private dining.