Transforming an under-performing hotel restaurant into a flexible multi-revenue stream catering space, is an innovative project which created the new Kensington Quarter Cafe within the four star Hotel Indigo in Earl’s Court, Kensington.
The project was carried out for hospitality brand the Quarter Group, which joined forces with IHG to launch the new venue.
Lead designers for the scheme wereDexter Moren Associates; main contractors were County Contractors, who were highly praised for their work on the project.
“Good contractors are hard to come by, but County Contractors did an excellent job. They really got on board and got behind the design – they were a real pleasure to work with,” said Shaun East of Dexter Moren Associates.
The new cafe is located within the hotel’s former restaurant area, which has now been extensively remodelled.
“The only diners in the restaurant were hotel guests and it was not attracting enough business, so we were asked to see if we could come up with a design to pull in local footfall, making the restaurant an all-day local landmark destination, in line with Hotel Indigo’s ‘neighbourhood story’ ethos,” said Shaun East.
“We are now seeing within the hotel industry, a shift to what has become known as a ‘local hotel’ – one that has a more contextual approach where guests feel as though they are part of the local scene.
“We therefore shifted the focus from being a standard hotel restaurant which was not engaging anyone from outside, to creating a local delicatessen, cafe, shop and bar with a much more inviting interior.
“The main focus now when you first walk in, is on the new delicatessen counter and central bar feature where people can sit, eat, drink or pick up a coffee and delicatessen items,” he added.
The new design also incorporates a shop where customers can buy items from the patisserie. In this area, the designers have used a combination of low and high seating, with informal ‘poser bars’ where people can stop for a quick snack and drink, as well as leather banquette seating for those dining at a more leisurely pace.
Further into the space is a ‘snug’ area which can be cordoned off with beautiful fluted glass screens and used for events such as meetings, parties or other functions and can be booked separately.
The designers have chosen a palette of rich greens, white and timbers, which works well with the new lighting scheme which includes feature wall lights and industrial style pendants that can be adjusted to give different levels of illumination, during the day and evening.
“The project has been a success and IHG are very happy with it. For them and ourselves it was a new venture and was really exciting to be a part of,” said Shaun East.
The Kensington Quarter concept will follow in the successful footsteps of the four other eateries in Doron and Valeria Zilkha’s Quarter Group collection, all of which combine stylish yet relaxed surroundings with a passion for fine food and wine.
For the delicatessen Valeria Zilkha has spent months sourcing a fine array of locally sourced artisan produce, whilst the cafe will offer a range of imaginative, locally inspired dishes. In keeping with the Quarter Group’s ethos, all will be prepared from organic, seasonal and locally crafted ingredients, with meat and poultry sourced from independent suppliers who only engage in ethical methods.
A further element of the scheme, unconnected with the new cafe but carried out during the same contract, was the upgrading of the hotel’s reception area. Based on the same ‘neighbourhood story’ ethos, the design is themed around the hotel’s close proximity to theatres, using theatre-style curtains and lighting.
The project was completed in October.
Woodcraft Joinery Ltd
Woodcraft Joinery Ltd specialises in high quality joinery and bespoke manufacture works. In addition the company provides interior refurbishment and shop fitting services for bars and banks.
Woodcraft Joinery Ltd has been in operation for 25 years and within this time has worked on many prestigious projects for clients including Harrods, Harvey Nicholls, National Grid, Centrica, N Power, House of Fraser and HSBC, amongst others. Working on the Kensington Quarter, Jaime Westwood of Woodcraft Joinery Ltd was appointed as the project manager, overseeing every element of the project, from the tender stage, design development and manufacture, right through to the on-site installation.
Jaime Westwood, said:
“This was a prestigious project and the whole team involved in the project is exactly the type of professionals we want to be associated with. Intercontinental Hotel Group are well established and a market leader in the leisure industry, their portfolio of 4700 hotels in almost 100 different countries speaks for itself.
“We have been working in collaboration with County Contractors for almost two years on different projects and have become accustomed to their professionalism. Whilst it was our first project with Dexter Moren Associates, it’s always a pleasure working with designers who have such a clear vision from the outset.”
“We pride ourselves in achieving excellence in all the key areas of our business, however bringing together a diverse range of materials is where our expertise really comes to the fore. Specialist metalwork, glass, natural stone, leather and high quality veneers were all used on this particular project and bringing all these finishes together in harmony is what separates us from our competition.”