The Maids Head Hotel
The Maids Head Hotel is known to be the oldest hotel in the UK dating back over 800 years. Situated in the historical centre of Norwich in the Cathedral Quarter, this independent 4 star hotel boasts charm and individual character.
To enhance its individual character even more, the hotel is currently undergoing a refurbishment of its 84 bedrooms and associated bathrooms, including installing a hi-tech environmentally friendly capillary heating system, as well as refurbishing the public spaces: the main entrance, lounges and public toilets.
Speaking to Premier Hospitality magazine about the refurbishment, the hotel’s General Manager, Christine Malcom said: “The Maids Head Hotel was purchased by the Chaplin family at the end of 2012. Over the last five years they have embarked on a major programme of sympathetic refurbishment to ensure that he historic building meets the expectations of 21st century guests.
“So far we have completed work on 69 of the bedrooms and have upgraded the hotels entrance with a new revolving door and two accessible doors; redeveloped the reception area, increasing space for guests; fully refurbished our public toilets, including adding a new toilet for visitors with disabilities; decorated our lounge and introduced new furniture. The investment to date is £2.5 million.”
Work on the refurbishment is being undertaken by Nicola Lovell of Nicola Lovell Design.
She commented: “I was not given a brief exactly but the idea is to be sensitive to the character of the historic building which in turn influences the style of the rooms for the hotel to feel more like a home than a corporate series of rooms. Hints of the location have also been incorporated into the design to create a memorable experience for guests.”
When guests walk through the doors of The Maids Head Hotel, they can embrace the welcoming splendour of a traditional and historic hotel which today boasts elegant contemporary charm. Guests can also take in the many styles of architecture as they walk through the hotel from Tudor to Georgian and Jacobean as you picture how the hotel has evolved over the last 800 years.
Christine said: “The Maids Head comprises of at least seven buildings. The oldest part of the hotel, above ground, dates from the 15th Century although there has been an inn on site since the middle of the 13th century. Our refurbishment programme involves working in spaces that date from the 15th century, 16th century and 18th century, along with our modern four storey wing which dates from the late 1950s.”
Nicola added: “The building is mostly three storeys and there are more plans for the buildings. Being a listed building there have obviously been constraints to work with but that is part of working with the building and respecting its history.
“The different ages of the building have their own architectural merits that we have tried to incorporate in the individual design. For example, the Paston Suite with large Georgian windows and high ceilings encouraged opulent and glamorous finishes whereas the Surlingham and Filby suites within the heavily timbered eaves lent themselves to colour, pattern, and a layering of textures to add comfort with a nod to tradition. The new wing with its formality of fairly compact rooms off of straight corridors required careful and tailored planning for fitted furniture and a more sleek contemporary approach.”
The refurbishment has been undertaken in a phased approach to minimise impact during the day to day running of the hotel. Work is also being undertaken in manageable portions as the hotel continues to be open to guests.
Work is still to be carried out on 15 bedrooms including the Queen Elizabeth Suite, which is the oldest part of the hotel. There are also plans for the complete renovation of the kitchens with the hopes of adding air conditioning to all of the rooms in the late 1950s wing.
Nicola said: “It is a pleasure to be working alongside the hotel team and contractors who are all genuinely friendly people.”
Christine concluded: “The completed work has revitalised the hotel. I would like to thank Nicola Lovell and TGA Services, our main building contractor, with whom we have worked for the last four years, for their very important contribution. We are delighted with the response that we get from guests. By undertaking this refurbishment it will mean that we have successfully renovated our historic building for 21st century guests.
“The project is very important to us. Our ambition is to be known as Norfolk’s finest for hospitality. This project is creating excellent facilities for our guests and a superb working environment for our staff.”
TGA Services (UK) Ltd
With over 20 years’ experience in the construction industry, TGA Services (UK) Ltd prides themselves on delivering a professional service and high quality of workmanship across a wide range of project types. The company has built up an excellent reputation in the trade as a quality proactive contractor who will go above and beyond to realise each client’s vision.
TGA offer the highest standards of service and craftsmanship, offering a personal and friendly customer service to each and every one of their clients. From pre-construction phase planning, TGA are able to manage the entire building process through a single point of contact, including services, building works and the installations, decoration and finishing touches.
Over the past five years, TGA has been offering their services on the Maid’s Head Hotel project which has seen the hotel undergo an extensive refurbishment of its 84 bedrooms and bathrooms.
Commenting on the project, TGA Director Kevin Turner said: “We are currently in the process of completing another 16 bathrooms and two more room refurbishments. The project has not been without its challenges, particularly as the building is a Grade II listed building. In certain parts of the building we have only been able to use hand tools, even cutting oak by hand. But I am pleased to say that we have managed to overcome all complexities and have enjoyed the challenge.
“We understand the importance of the guest experience in the industry and always adhere to the need for minimal disruption and a timely completion. Our experience allows us to complete works in the hotel trade discretely.
“To have been involved with this project for the time that we have has been fantastic. Our reputation is paramount to us, all of our work comes from recommendations, so to be able to showcase our work, demonstrating the high quality of workmanship, has been invaluable.”