Orchid Hotel – Renaissance for ‘boutique’ hotel
A comprehensive refurbishment and re-modelling project has recently and dramatically transformed The Orchid Hotel, located on a quiet tree-lined avenue near the town centre in Bournemouth’s exclusive Eastcliffe.
Many of the hotel’s 32 en-suite bedrooms have been completely redesigned and all have been totally refurbished; the public, lounge and dining areas are entirely re-modelled, and the wedding and function rooms have been renovated from scratch.
The scheme was designed by interior designer Sue Freeman; Main contractors were Eco Group.
According to the hotel, the refurbishment is geared to creating a “relaxed, elegant and effortlessly informal feel, combining the best of boutique with a laid-back, intimate charm you won’t find anywhere else. The whole hotel has been re-born. More than a mere makeover, it’s an evolutionary change for the Orchid, setting it apart as the only hotel of its kind in Bournemouth – offering a unique blend of contemporary comfort, informal elegance and intimate charm.”
The lounge and bar now form the hub of the welcoming, open-plan space that greets visitors upon arrival. With subtle lighting, the natural, rustic textures of wood and stone offset by a contemporary palette of vivid colours, creates a distinctly laid-back and informal ambience.
A new bistro style restaurant called the Food Hall is also due to open at the hotel this spring.
Christina Joannoides, operations manager at the Orchid Hotel said:
“Previously the style of the hotel was based on a Thai theme. Now the new design, which is lovely, is themed on boutique laid-back elegance with a hint of rustic style. The ethos of the refurbishment at the start was to create something which Bournemouth did not currently have.”
The refurbishment commenced in March 2015, with the hotel remaining open throughout the project. “The guests were generally fine with the refurbishment, although the renovations in the lobby were a little testing,” said Christina.
Another challenge, she added was in making the right decisions for the project – particularly with regard to functionality, considering aspects such as easy access, and provision of adequate storage.
Another example of improved functionality is the fact that previously when guests entered though the front door, they had to look past two pillars before they could even see the reception, whereas now the reception has been restructured so that the desk is right in front of visitors immediately on entering.
“Fortunately I was able to draw on my past experience in the hospitality industry and avoided many problems in this way, making sure that we made all the right decisions,” said Christina.
She added: “Unfortunately Bournemouth hasn’t moved with the times in terms of the accommodation which it can provide. We wanted to bring something really contemporary yet which still had a ‘home from home’ feel into the town. Unlike the larger, more impersonal chain hotels, we wanted to move totally away from the corporate feel and provide friendly service with a personal touch in beautiful surroundings – this is what we envisaged and this is what I feel we have created.”
Speaking of the favourable reaction to the refurbishment, she added that new guests arriving at the hotel have commented along the lines of “Wow! – we haven’t seen anything like this before!”
“We have given something to Bournemouth that it desperately needed – and now was the time to do it,” she concluded.