Nine Group Profile
Founded in 2011, Nine Group own, develop and manage multiple branded hotels across the UK. The company has expanded swiftly since its inception and currently boasts a portfolio of 18 properties. This number is set to increase by 6 before the end of 2018 and includes a number of exciting developments.
In February, one of Nine Group’s most significant projects to date – Novotel London Heathrow Airport T1, T2 and T3 – welcomed its first guests. To find out more about this, and the company’s rapid rise, Premier Hospitality sat down with Managing Director Vivek Chadha:
What does Nine Group specialise in?
“Nine Group was founded by myself back in 2011 when I saw an opportunity to buy distressed hotels. We have developed the portfolio over the years and now develop hotels with all the major brands to grow the portfolio. We’re essentially an owner/operator and specialise in corporate hotels in key locations.”
Why did you decide to found the company? Was it something you had always planned?
“No, it was all a coincidence! When I came out of university I worked for a hotel developer and I was shadow project managing the site. It then collapsed and went into administration and I saw an opportunity in 2011 at the peak of the recession to buy it. It was a coincidence I got into the hotel business really but since then I’ve been learning every day and we now have a portfolio of 18 branded hotels, which will be expanding by another 6 more we are working on currently. We’re constantly developing.”
How did you first get involved with the Novotel London Heathrow Airport?
“Again this was a bit of a coincidence. I was reading a news article back in 2011 and found out that BAA were moving their operations office out of Heathrow. I saw there was now a vacant office building at Heathrow Airport and purchased the building. I purchased it speculatively, without planning. It was just an office but there wasn’t much office demand in the area to be honest.
“It was a huge risk but I put in a planning application for a hotel that took about 8 months to be approved. I then approached a few hotel brands and Novotel is the one that we went ahead with.”
The hotel boasts quite a unique design and has a few quirky features. Can you tell us a bit more about them?
“Accor, who own Novotel, calls this hotel their flagship. The reason they do this is because of the design. The design was done by a company called Koncept ID and what they did is use air, light and flight paths as a theme – anything to do with aeroplanes. They used that influence to create a design that is completely distinct from any other hotel in and around London.
“The design is very light and friendly. It’s very unique and we have a lot of people who come in, take a picture and post it to social media. We don’t charge them but maybe we should!
“We have so many interactions in the lobby. There’s no reception desk, for example. We decided to get rid of it. People walk in, we give them a coffee and sit down with them to check them in. We also have a no check in feature which means you go straight to your room using your mobile app.
“We are also now opening Heathrow’s first sky bar. It’s the longest bar in the area, overlooking the runway. It has 360 degree views.”
What were some of the challenges this project posed?
“The biggest challenge was purchasing the site speculatively without planning. We put in millions to take this risk but it’s paid off. Obviously making an office building look like a hotel is challenging but we have a great construction and design team. Adaptive reuse is always hard and it’s much easier to do a new build. We also added two more floors and adding floors is never easy. Finally, one of the most difficult things is funding, getting the right funders who can fund because of you not because of the project. They funded us despite no planning permission.”
How important is the property in Nine Group’s portfolio?
“It’s one of the top three hotels in our portfolio right now. We’re now adding extra hotels to this Novotel because we can see a demand there. On the same site we are also adding an Ibis budget, the budget brand of Accor hotels. We decided to do a dual brand on the site where people who don’t want to pay four star prices can at the Ibis, but still use the Novotel for food and beverages.”
And finally, what do you take pride in as a company?
“The biggest thing in anything we do, whether its operation, in our team, development or property, there are no shortcuts. We’re a long term business now. When we started off we had nothing and we didn’t know where we were going to be, but to grow this portfolio is because we don’t take shortcuts. You can see that by just entering the Novotel Heathrow, there are no shortcuts and cost savings when it comes to the product.”
Novotel London Heathrow Airport
T1 T2 and T3
Blending a unique style with business like functionality, the four-star Novotel London Heathrow has proved to be a hugely popular destination since opening in early 2018. Part of Nine Group’s burgeoning portfolio, the property was formerly office space for BAA.
Prominently located just a short distance from Britain’s busiest airport, the hotel is home to an array of amenities and services ideal for guests staying for business or pleasure. Alongside its 166 bedrooms, the hotel is also home to a restaurant and bar, a fitness centre, 2 meeting rooms and a self-service business centre.
Created by Koncept ID, the hotel’s design naturally takes its inspiration from its airport neighbour. Using air and sky as a starting point shaped a space flooded with natural light that makes for a warm and homely feel. Like the public spaces, rooms are spacious and inviting with a contemporary design. The guestrooms are based on a new generation of Novotel concept rooms – the N’Room. The concept takes inspiration from modular living and includes ecologically designed bedding and unique artwork.
The Nest Restaurant, a brasserie and grill, is open seven days a week with a lunchtime and dinner service. The menu boasts simple yet authentic local and international cuisine. The aptly named Runway Bar serves an array of beers, wines and cocktails and is the ideal spot to relax and unwind after a day of meetings or long haul travel. Later this year the hotel will expand its bar offering through the addition of a rooftop sky bar that will provide unparalleled views of Heathrow’s runway.
Since its opening, the hotel has proved to be a popular addition to the area. The success of the property owes much to the dedication of Nine Group and all those who worked on creating this new destination.
Novotel, the AccorHotels group’s historic and founding brand, was launched in 1967. Its network is present in 58 countries, with the hotels located in major international city centres, business districts and tourist destinations.
In 2015, Novotel rolled out a new brand philosophy: ‘Modern Easy Living’. While continuing to uphold its fundamental values of innovation, commitment to sustainable development, high and consistent quality levels and generosity towards families, Novotel is adding emotion to the practical aspect of its hotels. With a revisited, more flexible, more intuitive offer, the Novotel establishments have evolved into friendly, multi-functional living spaces for everyone.
Through these changes, Novotel is reiterating both the brand promise that ‘It is so much better at Novotel’ and its desire to offer a universal, multi-service experience that meets the needs of business travellers, leisure guests and families
Forest Contracts Ltd
Forest Contracts Ltd specialise in the manufacture of bespoke furniture and joinery to the hospitality sector. Services include design & specification, manufacturing from the company’s UK based factory, delivery, installation and full project management.
The company has been in operation since 1997 and within this time has been involved in a collection of prestigious projects for the following brands; Hilton, Hampton by Hilton, Double Tree, Curio, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza, Staybridge Suites, Novotel, Malmaison as well as many independent hotels.
Most recently, Forest Contracts Ltd has been involved with Novotel Heathrow for the Nine Group. Working on this project, Forest Contracts Ltd was responsible for all the public area joinery works, including the conference bar, feature wall, library wall, beverage counters, iPad desk, lift wall cladding, TV Wall, fireplace unit and ambient counters.
Forest Contracts Ltd Sales Director, Darren Taylor, said:
“We were delighted to be invited to work on such a prestigious project as the Novotel at Heathrow. It was an opportunity to demonstrate not only our manufacturing skills but also our design capabilities on what was a challenging project. We look forward to working with this client on future projects in the future.”
“At Forest Contracts Ltd we pride ourselves on full customer satisfaction from initial design stages through to handover.”
Direct Cooling Services London Ltd
Based in Rayleigh, Essex, Direct Cooling Services London Ltd specialise in the design, installation and maintenance of cooling services, with a specific focus on delivering works within the hospitality industry. The company has been in operation for more than 21 years and has the capabilities to provide full air conditioning, ventilation, heating and control systems (BMS) where required.
Over the years, Direct Cooling Services London Ltd has built up a strong portfolio of projects, boasting some of the biggest names in the hospitality industry. One of the company’s largest clients is Citadines – part of the Ascott group – where Direct Cooling Services London Ltd is providing services to meet the hotelier’s needs, including the replacement of the air conditioning system at the 230-bedroom Cavendish Hotel.
Additional projects have included the ten-floor North House, home to a branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland; and a Furniture Barn store in Essex, amongst others. More recently, Direct Cooling Services London Ltd has been involved with the work on Novotel Heathrow for the Nine Group, installing a full air conditioning system throughout.
Speaking to Premier Hospitality, Nicholas Weymouth, Project Manager for Direct Cooling Services London Ltd, said:
“We worked completely from scratch on this project, as there was no air conditioning in the building. We supplied all air conditioning for the whole building, including the bedrooms, all ventilation, all the AHUs – everything.
“For us, this project ran very well. There are always challenges on any project, but within our team we always find solutions. The guys I work with are not just workers, they’re team players and we couldn’t do what we do without them.”
“Since completing this project the feedback from the Nine Group has been very positive. We’ve been involved with another hotel for them since, this time in Basingstoke; we’re regularly quoting the Nine Group on additional hotel projects; and we’ve taken over the maintenance side of operations on some of their existing sites.
“This project has proved very important for us. Novotel Heathrow is very prestigious and joins other prestigious projects within our portfolio, which is something we’re very proud of.”
For further information about Direct Cooling Services London Ltd, please visit: www.directcoolingservicesuk-essex.co.uk.
TAG Furniture Consultancy
TAG Furniture Consultancy specialise in the creation and supply of bespoke furniture packages for commercial interiors. The company has been in operation since 1994 and within this time has worked with various leading names within the hospitality, leisure and high-end student sector including Bristol City Football Club, Hilton, Liverpool Football Club, Crowne Plaza, Vita and TrueStudent, amongst others.
TAG Furniture Consultancy is a preferred supplier for the Accor Group and has built up a strong collection of schemes working within the Accor portfolio, including supplying to Novotel. Most recently, the company was involved with Novotel Heathrow, supplying loose furniture to the public areas of the hotel, including the bar, restaurant and lounge.
Bob Oldfield of TAG Furniture Consultancy, said:
“Novotel Heathrow helped to cement our current and future relationship with the client, while demonstrating our capabilities as a bespoke furniture supplier. It was a great project to be involved with.”
“At TAG Furniture Consultancy we have developed a good reputation for fulfilling promises. We’re a family-run business and we’ve developed good partnerships with our clients.”
Koncept ID specialise in the delivery of commercial interior design projects for the hospitality and leisure sector, with a specific focus on high-end hotel designs. The company started in 1988 as part of Leach Rhodes Walker Architects and over the past 30 years has built up an enviable portfolio, working for prestigious clients including Accor, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Kellogg’s and the Trafford Centre, amongst others.
Most recently, Koncept ID has been involved with Nine Group on Novotel Heathrow. Working on this project, Koncept ID was responsible from concept, through to implementation, overseeing delivery and scheme compliance.
Koncept ID Director, Simon Scott, said:
“This is the third Novotel hotel project designed by us that has broken the corporate brand mould of ‘Novotel’. We started with Novotel Brentford, then Novotel Canary Wharf and now Novotel Heathrow. The next to come is Novotel Leicester in 2019!”
“At Koncept ID we pride ourselves on our creative team, who have long and valued experience in designing not just hotel interiors, but who are good designers across all commercial sectors.
“We have the capabilities to take what a client thinks they want as a brief, and give them a creative solution they didn’t know was possible. We create ‘eye opening’ schemes.”