In 2018, Spratley & Partners completed the transformation of Heckfield Place Hotel after a six-year project, unveiling what was to become one of the most talked about hotel launches of the past decade.
Planning permission for the development was granted in 2009 by Hart District Council and plans for the multi-million pound hotel were first announced in 2011, with the opening first slated for the following year.
Despite a number of setbacks and staff changes – it was originally due to launch in 2012 but owner billionaire Gerald Chan wasn’t happy with the outcome – the luxury country house hotel in Hampshire finally opened its doors last year with a host of show stopping additions and facilities to ensure the business lives up to expectations.
The hotel is owned by the Morningside Group, headed up by Chan and family and comprises 46 bedrooms, spread across the main house, the ‘corridors’ and a cottage in the grounds, as well as two restaurants, a private cinema and a spa.
A Moon bar, Marle restaurant and Hearth open-fire restaurant, plus 13 bedrooms are all situated within the main house, alongside the 67-seater cinema and wine cellar.
The Little Bothy spa boasts five treatment rooms, steam and relaxation rooms and three studios.
The historic 18th century manor house was being used a training centre and wedding venue when the Chan family acquired the building and appointed Spratley & Partners as the lead architectural firm for the epic project.
Here Sarah Tassell, director at Spratley & Partners helps solve some recurring challenges for boutique hoteliers.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face when working on a new hotel project?
The limitations of working within an existing building and understanding specific needs of the end user and incorporating into the brief.
What is your advice to hoteliers when it comes to approaching a refurbishment or new build project?
Try to be clear and consistent with the brief throughout the project to enable the design team to work to their full potential and provide the best results for the project.
Assemble a complete design team at the outset, to include architect, engineers, interior designer, lighting designer and landscape designer, to enable the scheme to be fully coordinated from start to completion and reduce risk of complications throughout.
A lot of smaller boutique hotels don’t have thousands of acres; what are some top tips to making the most of a small space?
Utilise all existing spaces within the building, creating rooms in the roof and adding new windows for daylight. Construct a basement for additional area, house plant rooms, storage and back of house spaces inclusive. Allow the floor areas above ground to be maximised for guest use. Keep guest rooms compact with built-in joinery and maintain high quality finishes to avoid the room feeling compromised due to smaller in size. Lighting and landscaping are also key to a project to provide a sense of completion to the design, rather than appearing an afterthought. Overall, injecting clever design into the scheme to achieve the most out of smaller spaces.