Crowne Plaza Reading
Perfectly nestled amongst the trees on the bank of the River Thames, the Crowne Plaza Reading provides an elegant spot for the ideal retreat, whether for business or leisure. The lavish hotel now features the Riverside restaurant and bar, boasting large glazing that displays picturesque views and doors that open out onto a sunny terrace that overlooks the river.
Specialising in brand and concept development, architecture and interior design, ADS Design & Brand Development Ltd were responsible for the interior refurbishment of the Riverside restaurant and bar.
According to Sarah Sharman, Interior Designer at ADS Design & Brand Development Ltd:
“The refurbishment was to the ground floor public areas including the bar, restaurant and coffee lounge. The developments commenced onsite in January 2016 and completed at the end of February.
“Since opening the feedback has been very good. Comments in the main focus on the vast change from how the space looked before the refurbishment, to what it looks like now.
“The main difference focuses in the main restaurant where historically there was a glazed atrium roof which was completely open before, with some lightweight feature lighting in the centre. The main issue was that the hotel couldn’t regulate the temperature within the restaurant so it was either too hot or freezing cold.
“The large open space also had a detrimental effect on the atmosphere of the space. After many ideas and discussions, we landed on the solution to install a suspended drop ceiling with new chandelier lighting. Now the space is much more practical for the hotel and there is a complete different atmosphere, one that is much cosier.”
There are elements of the restaurant and bar which have remained the same at the venue such as the arrangement of the buffet area and bar area. However the existing space has been enhanced and seen a sparkle refurbishment that has transformed it into something much more vibrant and coherent. This has been achieved with various loose furniture, decoration, artwork, 3D artefact filled bookcases and carpets.
Bespoke furniture including feature high backed wing chairs, upholstered in brightly coloured plush fabrics create a contemporary look, whilst copper detailing and powder coated steel open screens add a touch of flair to the restaurant. The chosen finishes particularly to the buffet area including vinyl timber effect plank flooring have been utilised for ease of maintenance and longevity for the hotel.
“We have highlighted the glazing at the back of the restaurant that looks out onto the river – formerly there was a stronger focus on the glazing with the roof – by altering the atrium glazing and changing the overall atmosphere, this has kept the focus on the lovely views that the river and surrounding areas provide, making the best of the location.”
Fresh and local produce is combined to create delicious dishes and small plates at the Riverside restaurant, as well as the restaurant’s special cooking device, the ‘big green egg’ – providing an authentic smokey BBQ flavour. Customers and guests are invited to try the Portobello mushroom, halloumi and red pesto sandwich on mezzaluna bread, Jerk chicken and grilled pineapple burger, and a variety of meats and fish cooked on the ‘big green egg’.
“It was a great development to work on – there have been some challenges along the way, particularly with the structural elements and approach to the atrium glazing. However the design concept itself is something which I felt personally passionate about as I consider this job to be a perfect snapshot of my ‘style’. Overall the project was thoroughly enjoyable and ran very smoothly thanks to an experienced and focused team.”
Portobello Art is an artwork consultant with more than 25 years of experience in the interior design, hotel and leisure industries. The company provides technical expertise and in-house design capabilities, taking schemes from the concept stage through to manufacture and installation.
Specialising in producing bespoke artwork, Portobello Art design, source and manufacture images to meet a detailed brief, whilst as digital printers the company can create any image in any size or colour to fit a scheme based on style, colour and theme. Working with interior designers and hotel groups on a regular basis, Portobello Art understand not only the pressures of rollout programmes and opening deadlines but also the importance of ensuring budgets are met.
Clients for Portobello Art include Hilton, Holiday Inn, Ramada, GLH Thistle Hotels, Premier Inn and CenterParcs, amongst others. Working on the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Reading, Portobello Art designed and manufactured all the artwork and bric-a-brac for the restaurant, bar and public areas.
Richard Lewis, Managing Director, said:
“We’ve worked with many hotel brands within the IHG group and it is great to add another hotel from the quality Crowne Plaza brand to our list.”
“At Portobello Art we understand that every customer and every project is different. We will work together with our clients to develop and create artwork that is innovative and practical and stands out from the crowd whether for a single project or for brand rollouts. Our main objective is to achieve total customer satisfaction.”