The Elmbank Hotel
Located in the Mickelgate Ward of York, overlooking York Racecourse and the Knavesmire Strays lies The Elmbank Hotel, a historical 19th century townhouse that has been elegantly restored to offer a boutique guest experience in the heart of the city.
Built in the 19th century, The Elmbank Hotel has a rich history and heritage from its time as a family home, when multiple phases of reinvestment saw stunning pieces of Art Nouveau and architecture put in place which still exist, and are proudly preserved to this day. In fact, the refurbishment has been carefully carried out to celebrate the beauty of George Walton’s work and tells the story of this iconic city centre hotel through modern indulgence and relaxation.
Christopher Stafford, Commercial Manger – Capital Projects at Cairn Hotels told PREMIER HOSPITALITY MAGAZINE:
“We had been looking to refurbish the hotel for a while and we noticed that there was a gap in the market for a boutique hotel. We knew that we had the perfect building for that offering and the hotel was due a refresh so this was the perfect opportunity. After reviewing various brands we found that the M Gallery Brand was the right one for us and our proposed offering. The Group has a long-standing history in York, having been in the city for 22 years so the refurbishment is a new chapter and chance to be part of York’s upscale hotel community again.”
The interior has been tastefully rejuvenated to offer a harmonious blend of old and new features, seamlessly complemented by plush colourful interiors, all inspired by Art Nouveau patterns and the equestrian roots of the city to which it calls home. Work on the refurbishment was undertaken by RPW Design and Space ID and included expansions and new-look interiors to the bedrooms and a rejuvenation of the sites restaurants and public areas.
Christopher added: “We initially had two interior designers looking at it and we said we would have one do the public areas and one do the bedrooms so we didn’t bring the design of the bedrooms into the public areas. We always wanted something different for the public areas so it was interesting to see two designers take on the building. It all ties together perfectly and it has been great to see their two different ideas come together.”
Features throughout the new hotel design include Peacock tiles in the bathrooms which where handmade in Germany, peacock feather-inspired carpet in the corridors, Art Nouveau furnishings and hand- blocked wallpapers.
Ariane Steinbeck from RPW Design told PREMIER HOSPITALITY: “There aren’t many M Gallery brand hotels in the UK currently, so we wanted to create something that would make the brand proud and provide a 180 degree departure from what The Elmbank was before. The building wasn’t in great condition but we saw the architectural and interior design potential of the building and wanted to get involved.
“There is a bit of history to the building so we wanted to engage the heritage of the building with the design to tell the authenticity of the story behind it. We have a few lovely art deco elements within the building and the interior is one of the few remaining original works by George Walton, so we tried to bring that into the overall design. One of the key elements in that particular era was the Peacock, so the corridor carpet was inspired by Peacock feathers and those colours and that is where we started. We wanted the rooms to feel as if they could have been in the building from the get-go, with a contemporary twist and all the modern conveniences expected .”
Work on the refurbishment took around six months with feedback being positive from the moment the doors to the hotel re-opened.
Christopher said: “All of the guests who have stayed following the reopening have rated it five stars. It has been a fantastic project and to look at it, it has been a big transformation. The design is very unique and different but once you see it all together in the building you realise it is something special and something really beautiful. We love it and it has been the talk of our group. For being a small hotel, it has really made a big impact.”
Ariane added: “Everyone was really excited by the transformation because it is quite a big transformation. For us, this project was a different design approach; although RPW don’t necessarily have a “house style” we were able to be a bit more playful than we would be for other brands. The project was great fun and it is really unlike anything we have in our portfolio so far.”
Following the refurbishment, a small phase of work is planned for an external elevations which will also include some landscaping. The Cairn Group also want to try and expand the F&B offering into the outdoors to make the most of the space available.
Christopher concluded: “The hotel is located in quite a prestigious area and benefits from being close to the racecourse. We are now in a small circle of boutique hotels in that particular area. It is great for us and great for York to feature the first M Gallery in the North
“I have been involved in a number of projects at the same time and we had been looking at the brand for so long knowing that we were going to get it. Once it was confirmed I couldn’t believe it because it is so unique and there aren’t many people in the UK able to say they have worked on the first M Gallery in the North so it puts me in a really unique position. It has been difficult but it has been worth it and rewarding to see the finished product. We are very proud of what we have created; especially completing the project in six months.”
The hotel will be rebranded to an M Gallery Hotel in January 2020.
Jeffrey Carr Ltd
Jeffrey Carr Ltd specialises in the manufacture and installation of bespoke curtains, blinds, bed throws, cushions and associated soft furnishings. The family-run company was established in 1982 and offers services to a wide range of clients ranging from large hotel groups and independent hoteliers to care homes, student accommodation, schools, colleges and Local Authorities.
Clients include Q Hotels, Shearing Hotels, Holiday Inn, Hand Picked Hotels, Britannia Hotels, Gainford Hotel Group, Ramside Hall Hotel, Matfen Hall Hotel, Hadrian Health Care, Wellburn Care and Swift Health Care, amongst others. Recently, Jeffrey Carr Ltd has been involved with The Elmbank Hotel supplying, manufacturing and installing curtains, sheers and pelmets to all bedrooms.
Ian Carr, Jeffrey Carr Ltd, said:
“We valued our continued involvement with The Cairn Hotel Group. It was particularity satisfying to be a part of such a prestigious project.”
“We are a family-run company with over 35 years’ experience working within our field. All aspects of our work is executed in house, to our high standard and we have a purpose designed factory which is able to manufacture quality items specifically to our clients’ remit.
“Whether it is bespoke finished curtains for 5 star hotels or simple curtains for student accommodation we have the capabilities and all installation is carried out by our own team and to our high standards.”
GOLEM is a specialist in crafting handmade ceramic replicas of tiles and terracotta’s from the 19th century to the art deco style of the 1920s.
By using historical production methods, traditional materials and components, GOLEM products meet the high requirements of historical reservation. The company was founded in the early 1990s, originally producing bricks for local churches and town halls before expanding its offering.
Recently, GOLEM was responsible for providing 2000 hand painted art nouveau tiles to the Elmbank Hotel in York. The tile design dates back 120 years to the city of Grohn, which is today part of Bremen.
Other projects for the company include The Ned in London and the Cathay Pacific restaurant at Heathrow airport.
Richard Soltau, GOLEM, commented:
“We are very proud to have one of our art nouveau tiles installed in York, especially since it is such an iconic and hard to craft design.
“GOLEM has always been about true ceramics in the highest possible quality, without compromises in quality or material. There is no outsourced part of the company; everything is produced in two neighbouring villages in eastern Germany. Due to that we are able to craft in the same beauty as back in the day, while matching modern building regulations at the same time.”