A Grade II listed Georgian mansion has reopened this spring as a luxury country retreat after a large scale overhaul led by renowned chef Michael Caines, in collaboration with Meraki Design.
Overlooking the Exe Estuary in Devon, Lympstone Manor features 21 individually designed bedrooms inspired by the surrounding area and wildlife as well as a fine dining restaurant.
In a somewhat tired state, the Georgian mansion was previously primarily used as a wedding venue but had not been refurbished for a long time. After inviting design ideas from a number of agencies, London-based Meraki Design was selected to lead the revamp.
Co-founders Maria Constantinou and Eris Koutsoudakis spoke to Premier Hospitality about the project. Maria began by explaining the process by which they were selected:
“We went through an interview process and pitched originally without knowing who the client was. The original brief stated that it was a boutique hotel in a former manor house, somewhere in Devon. We sent some ideas about what we would do to the building and as a result were invited to an interview with Michael Caines.
“To be honest we were just happy to have gotten that far. When we met Michael we did think we really clicked and had a good chemistry. The process might not have been a normal one but at the same time it was enjoyable – it was almost like winning a competition!”
“Michael was looking for more of a classic modern approach. He wanted something different to the current manor house landscape. The idea was to create something that was contemporary but fitted in with the classic building. The brief was very much in line with how we approach most of our projects. We always pay tribute to the architecture of the building but put a modern twist in so it’s more up to date and will stand the test of time.”
With stunning views over the Exe Estuary, the interior design complements rather than detracts from the landscape. The concept developed by Meraki Design has a lot depth, with Maria commenting:
“The design was heavily influenced by the Exe Estuary, especially in terms of the colour scheme for the public areas. The colour of the Estuary changes depending on the time of day and whether the tide is in or out. The light therefore reflects quite natural colours at different times and we didn’t want to compete with that.
“For the bedrooms Michael had already settled on the concept of using bird names from the Estuary. We’ve taken this on by designing each room based on its namesake.”
Naturally, given Michael’s background, creating the fine dining experience also played a central role in the design of the hotel. With two Michelin stars under his belt, Michael has developed a reputation for skilfully creating modern dishes with local ingredients and classic techniques. Plans are also in place for a vineyard to be developed in due course.
As with any renovation of a historical building, challenges manifested themselves in the unknown with Eris noting:
“Obviously given the fact it’s an old building it means you’re not always sure what you’re going to find. That also worked in our favour though because it’s such a unique building it meant we were able to do 21 different rooms. If you visit the hotel a second or third time, you’ll be in a different room and it will be a new experience.”
“It’s been a landmark project for us because we are a small practice with a small team. When we began initial discussions about Lympstone we’d only been in operation for 18 months. Since that time we’ve done a lot more as a practice but this was a big project for us as a studio.”
Orbiss solutions get Michael’s seal of approval
Orbiss have been helping hotels and business with their telecommunications, IT and entertainment systems for the last 35 years – but installing televisions onto easels in Lympstone Manor was a first.
Readily accepting the challenge, they succeeded in fitting the very latest Samsung TVs and Apple TV boxes in each of the luxurious guestrooms and suites, together with another seven televisions in the meeting and function rooms. Chef Patron Michael Caines was delighted with the results.
“Orbiss have installed our TV hotel solutions, which enable us to give an in-room experience for our guests,” he said. “It’s a fantastic integrated system that allows them to view information about the hotel and dining, use their Android or iPhones to stream straight to the TV, or purchase movies if they wish.
“Orbiss have done a great job and we’re very pleased with their solutions. I would definitely use them again.”
For more information, call Orbiss on 01872 561656 or visit www.orbiss.co.uk.