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Overcoming Grade II listed challenges to create £1.8m boutique hotel

Hamish Kilburn

A suite overlooking cathedral gardens, original fireplaces and character windows are just some of the features included in a new £1.8m boutique hotel in a historic location in Leicester…

Two derelict office buildings in Leicester – adjacent to the site of the car park where King Richard III’s remains were discovered in 2015 – have been converted into the 28-key boutique hotel, St Martins Lodge, which has just opened.

Building Services Design (BSD) provided mechanical and electrical engineering services for the Grade II listed Georgian buildings, with many of the original features being retained –including the hallway, with its chandelier and staircase.

“We’re delighted to be involved in a project that has created modern, elegant accommodation while at the same time, honouring the heritage of the important site and its surroundings,” said Joel Sawyer, director at BSD, the lead designer on the project.

“We provided a design that is a mix of traditional and modern installation.” – Joel Sawyer

As 40 per cent of the hotel – located directly opposite Leicester Cathedral – is of listed status, all original internal cornices, ceilings and floors are having to be retained, meaning BSD had to design the building services around the structure of the existing building.

Sawyer added: “We provided a design that is a mix of traditional and modern installation, meaning some of the building services run through the floors and into the ceiling. To meet listed status building regulations, air conditioning equipment has also been moved to the roof where it is out of sight.

“In order to make the spatial challenges work, we held regular on-site visits in order to overcome and catch any potential problems before they happened.”

The plantroom has been designed to fit within the existing basement, which has height restrictions due to a vaulted ceiling.

To ensure the heating system would fit within the confinements of the basement, it has been designed as a modular system for better efficiency and ease of installation.

The domestic water and hot water systems have also been centralised in the basement and we have made provisions within the design to allow for a possible connection to the Leicester District Energy Scheme, which supplies low-cost, low-carbon energy to major buildings across the city. “The future advantages of this will mean energy efficiency and lower running costs,” explains Sawyer.

Nick Quinn, director of St Martins House, said: “With our neighbouring conference and events centre, St Martins House, located only a few steps away, we are now able to offer a 24-hour conference rate – including overnight accommodation with breakfast – alongside our function run hire and catering facilities.

“This is frequently requested by conference and wedding hosts so St Martins Lodge is now meeting a known demand and adding to the room capacity available for business and for tourism in the city.”

The new luxury accommodation offers modern guestrooms with unrestricted views of Leicester Cathedral and its beautiful Gardens. The hotel opens in an unmatched location, becoming an ideal base for all who come to Leicester to enjoy the Richard lll experience and its historical past. 


Multi-million pound refurbishment begins at Ramada Leicester Stage

1024 683 Katy Phillips

The hotel will offer 80 of the latest design Holiday Inn bedrooms.

The London Town Group is undertaking a multi-million pound refurbishment of The Ramada Leicester Stage to rebrand the hotel as the Holiday Inn Leicester Wigston.

The remodelling and refurbishment plan is already under way, with a substantial amount of the work to be carried out in time for a reopening in late summer 2018.

The hotel will offer 80 of the latest design Holiday Inn bedrooms, the new open lobby Holiday Inn concept, Starbucks Coffee, meeting rooms, Stage Suites function rooms and a Bella Italia restaurant.

Events & Business

The Stage Suites will be able to accommodate from 50 to 350 guests reception style or 250 guests for a wedding breakfast. There is free on-site parking for coaches and up to 150 cars.

The the hotel will be positioned for a variety of business related activities, including meetings, gala dinners, team away days or team building days. The Holiday Inn Leicester Wigston is also fully licensed for civil ceremonies.

David Greenwood, who has been the General Manager at Ramada Leicester Stage for the past 10 years, said: “We can’t wait to give our beautiful hotel the restoration it deserves, and give Leicester a hotel and function space it can be proud of.”

Other hotels based in the region are the Sheffield Metropolitan and Mercure Nottingham City Centre, both of which have also undergone major refurbishment in recent times.