A recent recruit to the expanding Hillbrooke Hotel Group The Bull and Swan has reopened its doors after many months of careful restoration. The listed building originating from a medieval stone-built open hall house once used as a travellers’ inn is owned by the Burghley House Preservation Trust and situated in the St. Martin’s area of historic Stamford.Interior designer Christine Boswell was given an unusual brief when the Hillbrooke Hotel Group asked her to design the extensive refurbishment of historic coaching inn The Bull and Swan at Stamford.
Norfolk based Christine had to convert the seven bedrooms, large restaurant and three bar spaces into quirky, individual and eccentric rooms based on the gentleman’s drinking club called ‘The Honorable Order of Little Bedlam’ which allegedly frequented the original Bull and Swan in the 17th century.
The gentleman’s club was based at Burghley House and was founded by The 5th Earl of Exeter in 1684 and had an eclectic bunch of 27 members, each with their own animal identity. Hillbrooke chose to name the bedrooms after seven of these members and the designs for Ram, Greyhound, Lamb, Wild Horse, Badger, Stag and Lyon take inspiration from their namesakes.
Christine has designed each room synonymous with their names and in ‘Stag’ guests can enjoy a Scottish ambience with tartan wallpaper and a resin stag’s head; in ‘Lyon’ a four-poster bed with a lion’s head carved on the bedhead has a more colonial theme. Framed portraits of some of the drinking club members adorn the large restaurant giving guests a hint of the historic origins of the hotel.
Most of the furniture was made in Rajasthan, a theme that follows through all of the Hillbrooke Hotel Group, and many pieces were made to Christine’s designs from references sourced at Burghley House. Aside from their ‘quirky’ touches the rooms are decorated in a restrained style with ticking curtains or blinds, muted colours, close fitted carpets and loose rugs. All have ensuite bathrooms, many with claw foot baths and separate showers.
Christine said: “‘The Honorable Order of Little Bedlam’ was a superb basis to work from when creating the interior design for The Bull and Swan and a tour of Burghley House with owner Miranda Rock and the curator Jon Culverhouse was a valuable source for design references. We have married the history of the building with the group’s ‘quirky, luxury’ ethos to achieve an appealing environment with the emphasis placed on comfort and a sense of fun.”