The Angel Hotel
Famously mentioned by Dickens in his Pickwick Papers, the iconic four star Angel Hotel in Bury St Edmunds recently re-opened with a flourish following a magnificent £750,000 refurbishment of its lounge, bar and restaurant.
Owned by Gough Hotels, the new look-and-feel Angel Hotel is embracing its Georgian roots throughout the ground floor, including the reception, bar, brasserie, restaurant and lounge.
The uplift includes design features such as a larger lounge area, a bigger bar in the hotel’s new signature green, and a beautiful original exposed brick wall in the restaurant.
Modern comforts and luxuries have also been introduced, including unique lighting features and floor to ceiling glass doors to open up the space and create a light and airy feel.
The new interiors were designed by Harrison, with Colnesett fit out & building refurbishment as main contractors for the project.
Dean Concannon, design director at Harrison said: “The Angel Hotel has a special place in the town and wider Suffolk region, and has a great history with it being one of Charles Dickens’ favourite places to stay. Taking inspiration from the heritage of this gorgeous Georgian ivy-clad Coaching Inn, we created a concept all around ‘fables and tales’.
“It was important to modernise the feel of the space, but also to bring in some of the old. By using traditional materials, and sourcing bespoke vintage pieces, we’ve been able to deliver that contemporary look that still has the warmth of tradition.
“We’ve replaced the light oakwood floors with specially made flooring created from five different types of wood, which gives the appearance of an original floor – and the bar itself is a vintage retail fixture which we have upgraded by incorporating a bronze bar top.”
The redesign of the space allowed for a new chapter, but this didn’t mean disregarding the story behind a place with such heritage. Small nods throughout the design keep the history of the hotel in mind. Ink blue walls give a cue to the literary heritage of the hotel, whilst the lighting fixture in the restaurant space uses porcelain feathers to create a statement and deliver ‘angel’ connotations.
To the side of the bar, the snug is guarded by a white bear head, providing a subtle nod to the White Bear Inn, which was one of three inns that used to be on the grounds.
Dean Concannon said: “The small clues littered throughout the redesign give guests and bar staff another reason to engage – and providing that extra knowledge to staff is a consideration for us. We want visitors to not only enjoy the space, but engage with it, so staff should be able to answer these questions.”
Robert Gough, owner of Gough Hotels, said, “The Angel Hotel has been an iconic landmark in Bury St Edmunds for over 100 years. All town centres have had their coaching inns, too many have closed down or faded away over time.
“Over 50 years we have had a specific aim of reinvesting in the hotel, for example, increasing our rooms from 35 to 78 over the past 15 years. This refurbishment is part of our strategic aims bringing the ground floor space up to a 21st century offering.
“The history and heritage of the hotel is very important to us and to the people of Bury St Edmunds. We were keen to reflect this in our new look and feel and have worked hard to ensure that we have brought the right elements of the building back to life, whilst also making sure we have those modern luxuries that people expect from a high-end hotel today.
“We are extremely pleased with how everything has come together, and particularly proud of the new restaurant offering.
“Based in the heart of Suffolk and East Anglia, we are lucky to have some of the UK’s best quality produce right on our doorstep, and we would be silly not to include it on our new menu. We are confident that our new look and feel will impress returning guests, whilst also pinpointing The Angel Hotel as a destination for people coming from further afield.”