La Fougère at Knockranny House Hotel
Family owned and run, Knockranny House Hotel & Spa is one of Ireland’s finest four star hotels in Westport. Set in secluded grounds on a hillside, this luxury hotel stands proudly overlooking the picturesque town of Westport and enjoys breath taking views of Croagh Patrick and Clew Bay’s islands to the west and the Nephin Mountains to the north.
La Fougère is the hotel’s multiple-award winning restaurant with Seamus Commons, one of Ireland’s most respected chefs, heading up the team. The food at La Fougère is impeccable; with fresh fish, caught and landed daily, locally reared beef and lamb with fruit and vegetables grown in Knockranny’s gardens.
Inspired by the cinematic drama unfolding outside the windows, Knockranny House Hotel has just unveiled the stylish and sophisticated new look of its beloved La Fougère restaurant. With a nod to 1920s and ‘30s movie-star glamour and big screen elegance, La Fougère has been transformed with subtle touches, all designed to make the most of those amazing vistas over Croagh Partick and Clew Bay.
Designed and overseen by Westport-based interiors talent Emma Minish, she worked closely with local tradesmen as well as sourcing some of the additions to this cosmopolitan décor from various other sources at home and abroad. The overall achievement has been to create a restaurant with intimate spaces without compromising the proportions of the rooms, creating atmosphere while giving a timeless, luxurious feel to La Fougère.
Emma Minish spoke to Premier Hospitality about the project.
What was the brief that you were given for this side of the project?
“The restaurant had been in use for many years and was in need of a face lift. It was also in need of better lighting and natural light.
“The space is made up of one very large room and two smaller rooms. The larger room felt very open and lacked atmosphere so it needed to be broken up into sections yet retain its flexibility for large groups and different dining formations. We wanted to create rooms within a room while maintaining that flexibility.
“Other requirements of the brief were to create a breakfast buffet area, improve kitchen access , create service stations and to increase the seating as well as to incorporate a more striking reception area and storage for coats.”
What was the time frame of the project?
“The time frames are usually tight because there is a small window where business is a little softer so it has to be planned well ahead of time and all ducks in a row. I started designing and planning in September 2017, work began in January 2018 and we finished in the middle of February. Thanks to a project manager on site and a large, well-chosen work force we were not far off our target date.”
What has the feedback been from the client?
“The restaurant rooms have become very different spaces but have kept with the classic, timeless feel in the rest of the hotel.
“I had been working with my clients on other parts of the hotel for over four years and my understanding of their requirements, taste and the functional needs of the spaces increased in that time so I think and hope that overall, the clients are very happy with the restaurant. There has been great feedback which we are all very pleased about.”
Having done several jobs for this client, what does it mean to you to continue working for them?
“It has been a great experience for me to be involved in so many parts of the hotel. I have learned a huge amount in that time and hope that the design will withstand the test of time and be a great investment for my clients. I am very proud to have been involved with such a great team in such a lovely hotel.”
O’Brien Interiors specialise in the design, manufacture and supply of soft furnishings. The company offers a full measuring and advisory service, covering made-to-measure curtains, curtain tracks, window blinds, upholstery and wallpapers.
For more than 50 years, O’Brien Interiors has been providing its services to the hospitality, leisure and commercial sector, as well as for domestic clients. Past projects have included Castlecourt Hotel, The Plaza Hotel, Westport Garda Station, Harbour Mill holiday apartments, Mayo County Council Office, The Clew Bay Hotel, Westport House, Carraig Donn and Carraigahowley Castle, amongst others.
Most recently, O’Brien Interiors has been involved with La Fougere. Working on this project, O’Brien Interiors manufactured and fitted curtains, blinds and poles, as well as conducted some re-upholstery work and supplied soft furnishings, including cushions and throws.
Michael O’Brien, O’Brien Interiors, said:
“At O’Brien Interiors we offer our customers a personal, bespoke service and one which provides real value for money. We are happy when we have happy satisfied customers.”