Down Hall Hotel – West Wing Refurbishment
Luxury Essex country house hotel, Down Hall has recently completed a £1.2 million refurbishment of its West Wing. The refurbished Wing now provides a dedicated space for weddings, parties and corporate events.
The owners and management have a clear vision for the future of Down Hall and this forward thinking and enthusiasm is combined with a willingness to invest to move the business forward.
Mark O’Reilly, General Manager at Down Hall, told PREMIER HOSPITALITY MAGAZINE: “The refurbishment has been an incredibly important project for us, with the objective to increase hotel revenue, enhance overall customer experience and establish Down Hall as one of the finest wedding and conference venues in the UK.”
The refurbishment, designed by Rachel McLane Ltd, was completed in May 2019. The 4,150m² event space with six function rooms were refurbished and a master suite was created.
Rachel McLane comments: “The West Wing is the centre of Down Hall and hosts hospitality events, weddings and business functions, with meeting rooms and a large space for receptions. Before this refurbishment, the Wing was under-utilised so we were asked to review the space as a whole to make it function more effectively.
“Our brief was to refurbish the West Wing and, through a combination of good design and reconfiguration of space, bring this somewhat estranged relation back into the family of the “main house.”
The Wing needed to function as a standalone venue which would be marketed and sold In its own right, therefore freeing up the main house to fulfil its demand for smaller weddings and predominantly for guests taking afternoon teas in the traditional part of the hotel. ”
Rachel said: “I think the highlight of the work has been the way in which the new space is configured. New lobby style areas and circulation spaces accommodate guests during an event and act as filters from the rest of the hotel. On the first floor of the hotel the original lobby area is now a multi-use space. We opened up the whole of the floor at one end and removed claustrophobic, dimly lit corridors. New acoustic folding doors enable the space to be divided into three spaces or to be used as one large room, giving Down Hall the opportunity to cater for parties of any size.”
New features include a separate entrance through a landscaped garden, private lounge bar and dedicated and separate private rooms for the bride and groom. For the bridal party, The Liddell is a 55m² suite complete with lounge which also provides a spacious dressing room for the bride. The Glasscock Room with a wide screen TV, corner sofa, PlayStation and pool table, doubles up as a private retreat for the groom and also as a meeting room with break out area when not in service for weddings.
The Oxford Room, on the first floor, is licensed for civil ceremonies and provides magnificent views of the garden below. The Bridgeman, which is the main function room with a capacity of up to 200 guests, has floor-to-ceiling windows and doors and its own private garden.
The West Wing boasts 54 en-suite bedrooms, some with access to an intimate lounge area, allowing delegates/the bridal party to socialise pre/post functions.
Work on the refurbishment started in March 2019 and lasted around 10 weeks.
Rachel said: “We have had brilliant feedback since we finished. Meeting room bookings have increased and prospective wedding guests viewing the hotel are delighted that they get to use the West Wing. Feedback has been extremely positive.
“Overall it has been a great project and the fact that it has been successful means a lot to the team at Rachel McLane. The success is down to a strong collaboration between us, hotel management, the main contractor L.B projects and CBFS hospitality consultancy.”