Nottingham University’s Orchard Hotel

    150 150 Daniel Fountain
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    Externally the building looks good, another fine addition to the University Campus. The hotel name comes from the orchard that was originally on the site, and which has been replanted elsewhere, apparently. Whilst the building is striking externally despite being surrounded by car parking and a huge flight of access steps, the interior, despite the best efforts of the interior designers, seems to lack atmosphere. Through both interior and exterior the detailing of the build is executed poorly, letting down the quality.
    It can be embarrassing acting as a sounding board for other peoples frustration with design. Standing to one side in the lobby of the Orchard Hotel, part of the new Nottingham University campus, I was buttonholed by not one but two executives from De Vere Venues, the operator, voicing their frustration with the finishes of the building, and the operational problems caused by the layout.

    Often with new hotels there is a barren feel to the space as both guest and operator come to terms with how to make most effective use of the spaces. Here the spaces appear compromised by the architecture and the requirement for the building to be accessible from both sides to allow free flow across the campus. Canny students are already using the free wifi and the comfortable lounge to settle down with their laptops to research and write. This must be expected in any campus based hotel but the ‘bums on seats’ this creates are not exactly going to be revenue earners for the operator. Fortunately the main De Vere venue conference area is just across the road from the hotel and most high level university campuses (campae?) generate high demand for quality rooms for visiting staff, high level post graduates from industry etc. so this is likely to be a profitable hotel for the group once out of the teething phase.

    Daniel Fountain / 18.09.2013

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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