The Swan at Streatley
A labour of love comes to fruition beside the Thames at The Swan at Streatley.
Following a £12 million investment and four years of refurbishment work, The Swan Hotel in Streatley, Berkshire will be reopening this summer and unveiling the latest Coppa Club.
Coppa Club is the club where no-one has to be a member; open all day, Coppa is a home from home for all its regulars. Guests can eat, drink, socialise, work and relax. On the riverbank on a beautiful stretch of the Thames, Streatley’s Coppa Club is the sixth to launch in the country and follow the waterside theme of its previous successful openings in Sonning, Henley-on-Thames, Maidenhead, St Paul’s and Tower Bridge, London.
PREMIER HOSPITALITY MAGAZINE spoke to Richard, Natalia and Matyas of Quadrant Design who were all closely involved with the architecture and interior design of this grand scale refurbishment of The Swan Hotel. They talked us through what it took to enhance a site consisting of complex grade II listed buildings, into the picture prefect riverside getaway.
“This was a monster of a refurbishment. What we’ve got is a site that has buildings ranging from the 1600s to mid-last century through to late 20th Century with a very eclectic mix of styles. The client had a very specific vision of how it was to look and the sight lines that were to be created through to The Thames and it was a case of realising that vision and working round the existing historic buildings that have a great deal of history for the village as well.
Regarding the brief, the client knew what they wanted from the final design solution. As well as the fantastic views and access to the river they wanted the rooms to each have a certain feel and charm to them. The guest rooms and function rooms designs were an evolution of the spaces we’d delivered at The Great House Sonning, Coppa Club where we were responsible for the spatial and architectural design and Gina Brennan designed the interior. Looking at the project as a whole the biggest challenge and, ultimately the greatest part of the project, was that we removed and reset the majority of the slab levels and buildings to deliver the unobstructed views and river approaches from one side of the building through to the other, which are just spectacular.”
A brief tour of the refurbishment:
“When entering the site, the original boat house is to your right with a beautiful listed courtyard. This building has been used as a coffee shop for the past few years and has also been refurbished as part of the project.
“You then approach the entrance to Coppa Club which leads you into the body of the bar and restaurant area. Within this space you will find two huge and wonderful large frameless feature windows (each 4½m by 5m). These are fully openable giving seamless access straight onto the river bank. As well as this amazing view there’s a letter box window that’s 22 metres long that’s fully operable to bring the riverside experience within the main body of the restaurant.
“For the client it is predominately all about the riverside and the amazing views and location adjacent to the Thames. Thus, as part of the scheme, there is an impressive outside space with a fully bespoke awning design to ensure customers can sit outside in all weathers taking the concept ideas forward from the very successful external areas at the St Paul’s and Sonning Coppa Clubs . In front of the terrace a new pontoon has been installed, so for those customers with a boat they can pitch and step off and enter Coppa Club seamlessly from the riverside.
“As we make our way down through the bar of the restaurant area, there’s a library area, with a fireplace creating a cosy and intimate atmosphere. There’s a general circulation area where they have what’s been described as a chameleon table; to eat, drink or work at with USB charging points for your laptop if you are working. Within this space is the open kitchen that serves Coppa Club and the Function rooms. The kitchen creates the break between the Coppa Club, the functions rooms and the hotel.”
Natalia was responsible with the Client for the design of the function rooms and guest room spaces. She told us:
“There are two small function rooms where you can meet with 8-10 people. The pre-function room has glazed doors so you already have a view to the river, and it’s got a very cosy bar. You then move on to the largest room, which is the main function room, and it can host a wedding for up to 120 people or can be subdivided or the configuration could be different within. That room is fully glazed, with incredible views out onto the river.
Then we go out onto the terrace and the bridge to the island on the river, also owned by the hotel; the views are absolutely stunning out there. The hotel brand is very conscious of a connection with nature and most of the finishes are of natural wood which we’re quite proud of.”
Quadrant had a full 3D model of the complex building to help them with each and every design aspect of the hotel. It had many advantages for them as they could get a very accurate picture of complex intersections of the number of different buildings. Matyas explained:
“There were challenges working with a building like this with all its history and how it’s expanded, so we started off understanding the complexity and constraints we had to work with. We coordinated the project through the model with the mechanical and structural engineers. It helped us on a daily basis and was a very important design tool; it allowed us to put ourselves in the customer’s shoes via a walk through on screen and in VR so we knew we were giving the client the site lines they were looking for and what they wanted the customers to experience. Having the model helped us make decisions, and we could see everything from every angle.”
Being on a riverbank, safety precautions had to be put in place for the hotel. Rich said:
“We had to take into account flood control and provide a level that was above a normal flood. This meant providing protection for a 1 in 25 year event, plus 20% for global warming, so we’ve had a lot of flood control measures incorporated. We’ve had a demountable system which has been put along the riverside of the building. These removable panels are only installed when the risk of flooding presents itself. Within the building, we’ve had to build the waterproof concrete walls and upstands to restrict any water ingress. We’ve done everything we possibly can within the confines of the historic buildings and complexity of the site to ensure that water will not get into the building when the water levels rise.”
The Guest Rooms:
There are 47 guest rooms at The Swan Hotel, and each one is designed differently, as well as within the client’s branding. Natalia said:
“Again they were very interested in natural finishes so all of the furniture is in wood. We’ve got three grand rooms with amazing views to the river; all of them are different, they’re quirky and show the old structural beams. Because every room had a different design, it was a bit challenge to standardise the fixtures & fittings but the net result is that each room has a slightly different feel.”
“We’ve spent four years of our lives on this project, we’re all very proud of the finished product and are so grateful to our client for allowing us to work on such a significant and wonderful project.It means different things for all of us to be involved. I always look at projects of this nature and significance like bringing a child into the world as this is the start of its journey, I just can’t wait to see it with customers enjoying the incredible space facilities and views that have been created.”
Interiors UK is a nationwide interiors fit-out specialist working predominantly in the restaurant, bar and hotel sectors.
In operation since October 2004, Interiors UK has established a strong reputation as professional, client focused business. The company has an excellent health and safety record and is an approved member of the Safe Contractor scheme.
It regularly works with high profile clients, including Dishoom, Alchemist, Stafford Hotel, Five Guys and multiple Restaurant Group concepts.
Interiors UK recently complete the successful fit-out of The Coppa Club at Maidenhead which resulted in the negotiation of The Swan project which included numerous new bedrooms to the first floor and a wedding venue and Coppa Club to the ground floor.
Peter Tyler, Managing Director, said:
“The Swan was one of the largest projects we have undertaken as a business but by spending time upfront to fully understand and plan the project and by breaking the project down into its key elements of bedrooms, Wedding Venue and Coppa club we have managed to deliver a fantastic looking venue which sit’s within an incredible setting.
“We pride ourselves on delivering our projects on time, budget and to the highest quality standards whilst maintaining a safe working environment.”