The Elms is a Grade II listed 18th Century country house hotel and spa in Abberley, Worcestershire which was purchased by local entrepreneur and business owner Tim Hopkins CEO of the Gemini Group.
The new owner plans to make vast accessibility improvements so that the hotel is completely accessible to the elderly, infirm and disabled visitors and their carers.
As a listed building, a sensitive design was necessary to retain its character while ensuring the proposal provided full accessibility for future guests.
Nestled in a haven of mature trees and landscaped gardens, the Elms is a quintessential Queen Anne manor house in rolling Worcestershire countryside.
The ambition was to give guests a luxury experience, but with the added benefit of care in a fully accessible environment. This is in line with the ambition for Worcestershire to be the most inclusive County in the UK with the University of Worcester hosting the European Wheelchair Basketball Championships and the proposal for the International Centre of Inclusive Sport.
The challenge was to deliver a high-class hotel and spa sensitively integrated into the existing notable landscape with a number of constraints. With no compromise on finish and existing features retained, state of the art assistive care technology had to be duly incorporated.
A comprehensive masterplan for the refurbishment and new extension was developed by One Creative Environments Ltd. (One) to preserve and enhance the Estate, while making the most of the existing habitats and landscape structure.
National charity Revitalise assessed and approved the proposed designs, who boast Dame Judi Dench CH DBE as their Vice President and Samantha Cameron as a patron. Revitalise is keen to provide a high-quality hotel experience to their guests and could potentially be a future operator of the hotel and so their input was critical.
Carefully considered architecture and interior design masked the highly adapted necessities of the project and the thorough building services review met the tight regulations.
Significant improvements to the existing adjacent spa were needed to make it more accessible which included linkage to the main hotel for complete accessibility.
While the hotel was well loved locally, it also did not cater for weddings and other large functions. However, the new design addresses this and will secure its future, by creating a world class facility.
As an operational hotel steeped with such history the planning stage proved challenging, but through thoughtful project management and experience outcomes were favourable.
40 guest rooms, staff/carer accommodation, communal areas and re-landscaping to allow usable outdoor space across a level changing site all formed part of the scheme.