Harbour Hotel – Continued Investment by MHL Hotel Collection
Located on the New Dock Road in Galway City, a short distance to the city centre, the Harbour Hotel which is owned by the MHL Hotel Collection, has undergone a transformation to take the hotel from three to four star status.
The first phase of the transformation, undertaken by Millimetre Design, was completed last year and that included the refurbishment of the lobby and bar/restaurant areas, including the development and design of new restaurant brand ‘Dillisk on the Docks.’ The second and most recent phase, also undertaken by Millimetre Design, was the refurbishment of the first floor bedrooms and corridor and that was completed in February 2018.
“The overall design concept for the project was a stylish, yet subtle, maritime theme, reflecting the hotel’s position close to the harbour in Galway City”, says Fiona Fitzpatrick, Design Lead and Project Manager, Millimetre Design. “In the hotel lobby, which sets the tone for the guests’ stay, a mixture of soft colours and furnishings along with various display items were used to achieve the desired look.”
The layout of the new bar/restaurant space was of huge importance to the realisation of the design. The original divide between the bar & restaurant was removed and the bar was re-positioned to the centre of the space, creating a harmonious design. The new bar and restaurant has been named “Dillisk on the Docks.” The new name is in keeping with the maritime theme and plays tribute to the fact that the site of the hotel was once a Kelp store. “Dillisk” is a type of Irish seaweed.
The interior design incorporated soft colours and textures juxtaposed with hard stone surfaces and timber details. Lighting was also a large part of the interior design throughout. Soft dimmable lighting alongside bright neon completed the contrast. To balance the nautical touches, contemporary features were used which included feature wall designs and materials, sleek bar and wine display design, along with a fun party feature table with neon lights.
The redesign of the hotel lobby space, and adjoining bar and restaurant, to become a flexible and useful space, was highly innovative. The public spaces were completely opened up, providing hotel management with the flexibility to transform the space within the bar, restaurant and lobby area, as required for events and business meetings during the day or evening. The lounge area, together with desks and laptop points, has created an excellent work space/meeting area for both hotel guests and local businesses. Whilst the long feature table lends the area as an ideal space for local business presentations and celebrations.
“Our brief extended to the design of the new restaurant brand, to the uniforms, external & internal signage, menus, coffee cups and popcorn tubs. I worked closely with our in-house branding design team to ensure a cohesive overall image for the restaurant. This integrated design approach has greatly helped to reinforce and strengthen the restaurant’s unique identity”, says Fiona Fitzpatrick, Design Lead and Project Manager, Millimetre Design.
The new Deluxe Bedrooms are modern and bright with plenty of urban, luxe style details – plush beds backed by oversized tufted headboards, industrial-style lighting and sleek, contemporary furniture with minimalist, modern but warm décor using a retro colour palette. The nautical influence from the downstairs public areas was incorporated into the bedrooms through the use of soft pale blue colours, sea greens, rustic timbers and stripe patterns.
In-room smart designs include bedside USB ports to charge phones or tablets and 40″ Smart TV’s, enabling guests to seamlessly sync to their mobiles/tablets so they can stream from subscriptions such as Netflix and Spotify etc. Guests also now benefit from a new air conditioning system which was also included in the bedroom fit-out.
“To see the hotel being transformed gradually was very rewarding,” said Fiona Fitzpatrick, Design Lead and Project Manager, Millimetre Design. “It was also incredibly motivating to get the hotel’s ongoing feedback about how impressed the guests are when they first walk in. Also the feedback to date on the bedrooms has been overwhelmingly positive. After all the hard work, I am naturally thrilled.”
The five star, multi-award winning Glenlo Abbey Hotel & Golf Course in Galway, another property owned by MHL, is also undergoing a major redevelopment programme. Set to complete in 2019, the programme will see an increase of the current bedroom count of 50 to 65 rooms, extension of the existing Golf Club House facilities and the launch of a new luxury spa with sunken garden and leisure and pool facilities.
The new programme will also benefit ground floor bedrooms at the hotel which will now include private external terraces for added enjoyment of the beautiful grounds at Glenlo Abbey. The existing car park separating the hotel from the Pullman Restaurant will be replaced with a beautiful and ornate formal garden which will present guests with breath-taking natural views over the estate from their bedrooms.
Following on from the initial refurbishment of the Corrib Banqueting Suite in 2013 and ongoing redevelopment of the main house since then, the River Room Restaurant and bedrooms of Glenlo Abbey Hotel have recently been refurbished in full.
Millimetre Design has been working on the various refurbishment projects at the Hotel since 2016.
“A large part of our design for the Glenlo Abbey was to retain a classic, luxurious look and feel, yet provide a contemporary edge with modern amenities,” said Ronan Holohan, Managing Director, Millimetre Design. “We wanted to enhance the luxury feel at every opportunity from fabric panelled walls in the restaurant to rich textured wallpapers throughout. We also wanted the hotel to feel warm and inviting, a home away from home, a warm welcome to the West of Ireland. Overall a tone on tone colour scheme was chosen (besides feature rooms like the Abbey cinema room) to give a classic yet modern feel.”
The River Room Restaurant is a magnificent dining room for up to 70 guests. It is classically designed and situated in the original 260 year old house. It has been designed with a timeless elegance to naturally complement the history and tradition of Glenlo Abbey and a new buffet was added to give more versatility to the hotel’s breakfast offer. The room is a delight of warm golds and natural tones that complement the local Connemara landscape. The room is beautifully situated with spectacular views of the estate and Lough Corrib.
The Abbey Movie Theatre is a luxurious intimate room with rich deep red fabrics, comfy velvet lounge chairs over three tiers, dark mahogany paneling and soft lighting. All of this with a high end audio system and 160 inch projected screen creates a superb cinematic experience.
The redevelopment of the 9-hole golf course has brought a renewed appeal for golfing enthusiasts to play at the Glenlo Abbey, which has been restored to a traditional 9-hole layout. The driving range has been upgraded to 21 bays: 9 covered bays and 12 outdoor bays. Upgraded with partitions and mats, the Driving Range is fully floodlit for late hours practice also. The newly built elevated putting green is now complete with new facilities including more retail and dining space for golfers as well as adding changing rooms for the benefit of members and visitors alike.
The addition of a Spa facility will greatly benefit the experience of guests to the hotel, with plans including a 15 Metre Lap Pool, Thermal Suite Area, steaming outdoor Hot Pool and 4 spacious single treatment rooms. Sunk beautifully into the embrace of the Walled Garden it will offer a true luxury resort experience for visiting guests and will form the perfect place to escape from the worries of the world.
“It is fantastic to work on such an historic building and to be entrusted to bring the hotel into the 21st century. As one of the only 5 star hotels in the Galway region, we are honoured and proud to be the interior architects for the Glenlo Abbey Hotel,” said Ronan Holohan, Managing Director, Millimetre Design.
MHL Hotel Collection
The MHL Hotel Collection, which owns both Harbour Hotel and Glenlo Abbey, was formed by its three partners John Malone, Paul Higgins and John Lally.
The MHL Hotel Collection is a collection of unique and individual hotels in key city and resort locations throughout Ireland. From the bustling city centres of Dublin, Galway and Limerick, to an historic estate close to Galway City, each of their hotels has its own distinct personality and charm.
The MHL Hotel Collection is the second largest hotel group in Dublin City with over 1,250 five and four star bedrooms and manages 1,800 in the three cities in which it operates. The partners continuing aim is to acquire and manage a collection of high quality hotels, both branded and non-branded and to apply their management and operational expertise to the business to enhance the hotel’s future performance.
In 2017 MHL Hotel Collection won the ‘Best Hotel Group’ category at the National Hospitality awards.
Millimetre Design is a leading interior architecture and branding studio that delivers unique design solutions for commercial clients throughout Ireland and the UK, across a broad spectrum of industry sectors including food, hotel, retail, bar, restaurant and office.
The Millimetre Design team recognises that each client’s needs are unique so they are fully flexible in their approach. They collaborate as required, within large scale projects and with other industry professionals. As you would expect from a professional design studio of it’s size, the Millimetre Design team work with proven design methods and processes to ensure that each and every project is designed and delivered within agreed budget and timescale.
From design to delivery, the Millimetre Design team create unique spaces, shape beautiful yet functional environments and build successful brands for their clients.
In 2017 Millimetre Design won “Best Design Practice of the Year” at the National Fit Out Awards.