The Hythe Imperial has been at the heart of the small coastal market town for over a century. The Victorian hotel boasts 98 luxurious rooms, high quality dining, a spa, conference facilities and a nine-hole golf course.
After coming under new ownership in 2008, the Hythe Imperial has been subject to a series of minor and major changes. Presently, the hotel’s guest rooms are undergoing a major contemporary makeover in line with the needs of the modern traveller. Transforming standard specification and executive specification rooms as well as the hotel’s suites, the project is progressing well with just one floor of rooms now left to complete.
Acting General Manager at the hotel Jade Clark is responsible for the new design as well as the fit out process. Having previously worked on a similar yet smaller project, Jade was keen to once again try her hand at interior design. Premier Hospitality caught up with Jade just before the last leg of the project started and began by explaining the origins of the redesign:
“Before we started the work, the hotel was very dated from front to back. The bedrooms were a bit like something out of The Shining with 1970s floral carpets, a mishmash of curtains and white washed walls. They were in dire need of refurbishment but it was only recently that the hotel was able to justify such a high level of investment.
“The programme of work originally began in October 2014. We used a few months for planning and preparation then between October and December we took three rooms that were nestled in a corridor of their own and changed one into a standard specification, one into an executive specification and one into a suite. This gave us an idea for products and a scheme that would be right for the hotel. We wanted something that would blend with its Victorian splendour but also work for the modern, transient traveller.
“Since 2014 we’ve been moving through the building a corridor at a time. We’re now 75% through that programme with one floor left to be completed. We’re breaking for six weeks during the summer holidays before commencing with the final floor in September ahead a scheduled completion at Easter 2018.”
The majority of rooms are now standard specification. These rooms have been designed to be clean and simple with little fuss. They feature a cream décor with a masculine feature wall. In places they are a little bit funky with some sea scenery artwork and the furniture is very modular and open plan. Jade continued:
“We also created an executive specification to change up what we offer. We’ve taken a lead from the seaside location by putting big sea scenery graphics on the walls. We’ve tried to be clever with elements like the minibar and toiletries to make sure travellers can see why they’re paying more.
“With the Suites, because we’re in a 19th century building, we’ve been able to knock on the door of the boutique end of the market. Because we’re independent we wanted to be able to offer a unique experience and each suite carries its own décor and scheme.”
Managing a project of this scale, all while trying to operate the hotel without impinging is not without its challenges but the most difficult aspect of the work has actually been caused by services. A lack of drawings for elements like electrics and plumbing has meant a degree of trial and error has been required by Jade and her team. The difficulties have been made worthwhile, however, by the positive feedback from guests alongside a recent improved AA grading. Jade added:
“At the beginning the message to guests was change is coming. The feedback from the guests who have experienced the new rooms, whether from repeat clientele or new travellers, has been very good.
“This has been a very unique opportunity and I know it’s not something that happens often. I work very closely with the owners, who are a lovely husband and wife duo, and they have placed a lot of trust in me. They’ve allowed me to develop ideas and schemes. I am very proud of how far we’ve come with the hotel. Hopefully moving forward I can show the work I’ve done here to design agencies and pursue a career in that industry.”
For more information on the hotel, please visit hytheimperial.co.uk.
Supellex UK Ltd
Supellex UK Ltd produce and supply contract furniture – including banquette seating – to the hospitality, leisure and service industries. Supellex UK Ltd was founded by Gary Whiten in 2015, although Gary began his career in the furniture industry 35 years ago covering every aspect of the trade.
Past projects for Supellex UK Ltd include Sofital Hotels UK and Amsterdam, Millennium Hotels, Arbuckles Restaurant in Ely, Roof top Gardens in Norwich, Lisini Group Hotels in Glasgow, Mini Showrooms, W Hotels and Spotlight. The company has also been involved with numerous independent restaurants, bars, cafes, leisure and business facilities.
Most recently, Supellex UK Ltd was involved with Hythe Imperial Hotel. Working on this project, Supellex UK Ltd fitted the hotel with a bespoke bar area using Moet Chandon signage; upholstered high chairs, low chairs and booth seating in Sunbury and Panaz fabrics; and manufactured tables with aged brass tops and bespoke hand turned bases.
Mandy Whiten, Supellex UK Ltd, said:
“As with all of our projects we work closely with the client advising on styles, fabrics and colour schemes, factoring in the best use of the space. This gives the client the look they want to achieve whilst meeting their budget and optimising their profits.”
“At Supellex UK Ltd we pride ourselves on quality and service. We want our clients to enjoy working with us, love our products and keep coming back. This we do very well.”
Elite Flooring specialises in the supply and fit-out of carpet and hard flooring, for domestic and commercial projects including residential schemes, schools, universities, hospitals, surgeries and retail units. The company undertakes all aspects of flooring, ranging from domestic carpet & vinyl including commercial carpet tiles, to safety flooring, Amtico and Karndean, and provides a free, no obligation estimation and advice service, with competitive ‘like for like’ quotations.
Established in 2009, Elite Flooring boasts a team of 15 to 20 fitters, who are all out on the road every day. The team is backed by a showroom based in Hawkinge, as well as a combined head office/warehouse which is based in Folkestone.
Elite Flooring works with a range of clients, including local and national commercial contractors, construction teams and property maintenance and estate agents. Past projects have included an upgrade ‘package service’ for Abbey Homes; a 420-bedroom student block for Canterbury Christchurch University; a local secondary school consisting of 500m² of carpet tiles, commercial vinyl and a bespoke logo seamed within entrance matting; and a fit-out for The Works in Ashford shopping centre, amongst others.
Most recently, Elite Flooring has been involved in the Hythe Imperial Hotel project. Working on this project, Elite Flooring furnished the hotel with new flooring within the bedrooms, corridors and front of house areas.
Elite Flooring Director, Terry Marsh, said:
“The Hythe Imperial Hotel is held in high regard and is a renowned hotel within our local area. As a local company it is a pleasure to be able to provide our services as a local trade company.”
Elite Flooring Director, Darren Price, added:
“At Elite Flooring, we pride ourselves on the high quality of our tradesmanship, as well as the provision of our personal and efficient service by our Elite Administrative Team.”
Cutting Technologies (Cut Tec) offer a bespoke laser cutting and engraving service to the engineering and creative industries. The company uses some of the world’s most technologically advanced laser equipment to laser cut and engrave a variety of materials from wood and plastic to metal and fabric and has operated from South Yorkshire since 2003.
Past projects for Cut Tec include West Park Hotel Harrogate, Safir Hotel Dubai and The Stay Club in Camden. In addition, Cut Tec was responsible for laser cutting and engraving decorative panels and table decor for War Child’s Winter Wassail.
Most recently, Cut Tec has been involved with Hythe Imperial Hotel. Working on this project, Cut Tec laser cut and advised on the Chippendale led design of the fretwork panels, taking inspiration from the original design book of Thomas Chippendale – The Gentleman and Cabinet Makers Director.
Jane Robinson, director of Cut Tec said:
“Decorative panels form a core part of the work Cut Tec undertakes within the hospitality sector. This project is a perfect way of showcasing how lasers can be used to transform interiors and it is always great to bring ideas to life.
“Whether a customer requires large design-led architectural pieces or thousands of stainless steel parts, if it’s possible, then Cut Tec will make it happen. At Cut Tec, we do more than just laser cutting and engraving, we can help customers at any stage of design and give advice on how best to move forward.”