Low Wood Bay Resort and Spa
A major refurbishment project to overhaul Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa in the Lake District continues to make rapid progress. Heralding a new era for the popular destination, the project incorporates a number of complex elements which will be completed early next year.
Blending a wide choice of facilities with a stunning Lake Windermere location, Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa is ready to set a new standard for hospitality in the area. Included within the work is a new destination restaurant, a new atrium facility that will be the hub of the new resort, a new spa facility with internal and external thermal journey, updated bedrooms across the hotel, new bedrooms and suites building with club house and garden, upgraded leisure facilities, landscaping and a new services building for maintenance. Plans are also in place for tennis courts in the future and a new reception building.
While the major redevelopment has been in the works for some time, its execution has coincided neatly with the Lake District being recognised as a Unesco World Heritage site. The increased global publicity for the area makes Low Wood’s transformation even more significant.
Low Wood Bay is owned and operated by English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues. Chairman and Managing Director Simon Berry spoke to Premier Hospitality about the work:
“Regardless of anything else happening in the Lake District, we felt that there was a market need and opportunity to create a world-class resort. The Lake District has phenomenal country house hotels, Michelin-starred restaurants, some of the best gastro pubs, world class campsites and a huge number of hotels. It didn’t in our view, however, have a world-class resort.
“Because the development controls within a national park are so stringent, there really wasn’t going to be the opportunity to develop a world-class resort without working on an existing site. Low Wood Bay was already quite a large site but with the new changes we will deliver this new level of facility.
“We want to create a new destination within the amazing destination that is the Lake District national park. We’re particularly focusing on a resort facility that appeals to an international market. The domestic market is already strong in the Lake District and, while some of the international markets are growing, there is room for improvement. One of the things that World Heritage status gives you is a much higher profile on the world stage and that’s where the real growth opportunity is.”
The comprehensive nature of the work means the guest experience will be overhauled, beginning with the resort’s entrance. The previous approach was a tight, single track road that was originally built for horse drawn carriages. A whole new road has been created with innovative features that provide a glimpse of the high quality resort ahead.
There’s a gatekeepers lodge and if you’ve pre-registered then your number plate will be recognised and the gate will just open. If you haven’t then the gatekeeper will come and meet you and give directions about where you need to go. Creating this sense of arrival is a really important aspect even though it’s a relatively small part of the overall work.
Mason Gillibrand Architects have played a crucial role with owners English Lakes Hotels on the project, from planning through to the current onsite work. Director Julian Handy said:
“We are the principal designers, principal consultants and contract administrators. We were engaged initially to come up with a masterplan for the redevelopment of the site. We took a very holistic approach, which was basically to assess the pros, cons and constraints of the site. What we ended up with radically changed the site.
“If I was to describe this I would say it’s 8 projects in 1. It’s hugely complex because we have to manage 8 projects on one site at the same time. We’re probably about 60% of the way through at the present time and by the end of the year we hope to have the new bedroom block constructed and be well into the home run.”
In terms of design, the new work will blend the traditional with the contemporary. The bedrooms in the existing structure are very traditional in their design but in the new bedroom block there is a contemporary twist using traditional materials that are sympathetic to the national park.
On the food and drink side, a second restaurant has been added with both the meals and design built around a central wood fire grill. The innovative and unique cooking will be complemented by a Rum and Bourbon room which will double up as a private dining room. A bar serving a variety of coffees made from beans from around the world alongside juice and smoothies will also be available.
Despite the complexities that naturally arise with working in such a historic location, a planning performance agreement was used which worked in tandem with the national park to make sure the scheme served all parties involved.
“We didn’t want to do anything that wasn’t sympathetic but that isn’t to say there aren’t some great contemporary features. The new atrium is a particular standout that blends with the original buildings. It’s the largest single development in terms of pounds spent that we’ve ever done. We’re a family business and have been in the Lake District operating hotels since 1952 but this really helps us set up for the next 50 years.
“We’ve always considered ourselves as custodians of a part of this wonderful national park rather than hoteliers and developers. We ultimately want to create something the family and the park can be proud of.”
“This will be absolutely massive for us as a company when it’s completed. We’re obviously delighted and thrilled to be working on it and it will be a key project within our portfolio to demonstrate our work. What’s a real delight is that the project is a huge mix of traditional and contemporary. What’s being created is something truly special and it will be widely recognised because it’s in such a wonderful location.”
Alongside the hotel, Low Wood Bay Marina & Watersports has an extensive range of equipment to facilitate and encourage people of all ages and abilities to get out onto the water. From canoeing and sailing to water-skiing and wakeboarding, Low Wood Bay is a great getaway to try something completely different. Lake Windermere also plays host to a number of events all year round including the Great North Swim and for those brave enough the Chill Swim events.
Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa is one of five properties owned and run by English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues. To keep up to date with the work currently taking place, please visit englishlakes.co.uk/low-wood-bay.
Magno Ltd undertakes all aspects of maintenance, repair, conversion and refurbishment to the hospitality and retail industries – from a leaking roof to a full hotel refurb. Based in the Chester area, Magno Ltd has been in operation since 2002 and operates UK wide.
Past projects for Magno Ltd have included various works at Trearddur Bay Hotel, Anglesey, including the refurbishment of rooms, the supply & installation of beach huts and a series of re-roofing works; the refurbishment & fit out of Olivia May Fashion in Oxford; the refurbishment of offices at Virgin Money in Chester; and the conversion of a five-bed house into three, two-bedroom cottages in Wrexham. In addition, Magno Ltd has also worked with clients that include Lush, British Heart Foundation, Peverel OM, Mainstay, Solitaire, ATS Euromaster, JW Lees and Frederic Robinson, amongst others.
Most recently, Magno Ltd has been involved with the project at Low Wood Bay Hotel. Magno Ltd was the main contractor on the project, undertaking refurbishment of around 30 rooms and bathrooms situated within the original hotel building.
The project involved the complete re-configuration of some rooms by enlargement in order to create suites. In other rooms, bathrooms were re-located in order to maximise light and views of Lake Windermere.
The works were undertaken over a three month period and this necessitated the site to be running 13 hours a day, 7 days a week for the duration. All work undertaken by Magno Ltd was delivered on time.
John Hall, Magno Ltd, said:
“Despite the tight timescale and the inevitable challenges of working with older buildings there could not be a more beautiful place to spend three months. People pay a lot of money to enjoy the views that we had to ourselves throughout the contract.
“English Lakes Hotels are a family run business and their hands-on approach, together with a fantastic team of people, makes them truly a pleasure to work for.”
“Often the type of contracts we undertake need to be approached in a way which minimises downtime and thus lost revenues for the client. We pride ourselves in delivering on time and on budget.”