Mercure’s UK flagship unveils a new look for the global hotel brand putting the customer welcome and guest experience at the heart of its thinking.

The new design focuses on six key areas: a public area that is based on what it describes as its “table d’hôtes” concept which enables a sense of togetherness; an expected arrival; the feature wall; work space and free fibre optic wifi.

Jonathan Sheard, SVP Mercure hotels Northern Europe states: “Following a recent study we conducted with Ipsos Mori, it challenged us to rethink the way we welcomed guests. That is the reason why we took a direction to give a genuine hospitality from the moment you book a Mercure hotel. We have focused on the guests’ arrival and worked on the lobby design to ensure our team could give a warm, genuine personal Mercure welcome.”

As you enter the Mercure London Bridge, you climb a few steps and arrive at a junction-like space. To the left is a bar and lobby combination, and to the right a raised desk with workspace and another seating areas with host tables. Visitors are immediately and very courteously welcomed into the space by a tabletted receptionist who checks you in digitally or ushers you over to the high desk to sort anything out. Most visitors I observed, myself included, found it to be a really pleasant and hassle-free manner in which to be welcomed to the hotel, and of course to check out.

I really like the way this new way of welcoming the guest breaks down the barriers – an impressive first by Mercure. Staff training has clearly been a very important part of the hotel’s transformation, creating a new role of the Mercure host, who will accommodate the arrival of the guests.

Further lounge and workspaces include a blackboard for guests to work or play, even in privacy behind a curtained-off space. Importantly in this day and age, the hotel has free, high quality, fibre-optic WiFi throughout the hotel.

Mercure London Bridge is a locally-inspired brand and has kept its commitment to London’s South Bank in the hotel’s design. Influences from The Globe Theatre, Tate Modern and Borough Market have informed the unique style and personality of Mercure London Bridge.

The hotel’s feature wall is made from local brick, paying homage to the industrial history of the old Thames warehouses and South London industry. The new library area contains books about nearby Borough Market, the art of the area and local theatre.

Upstairs in one of the brand new rooms, spacious by London standards, it is all very ordered and well executed with a fresh feel, using dark predominantly mocha brown and teal blue tones. The flooring is hard-wearing but quite dramatic and colourful. The lighting is well conceived and with good switches in the right places. The furniture is excellent for this grade of hotel and the sitting chair is genuinely comfortable, unlike so many of its ilk.

But centre stage is the impressive bed, and a decent high quality bed at that. It features a substantial mattress depth, juicy pillows and great linen. The whole is rounded off by a monumental walnut-faced, shrounded bed-head with built-in lighting. The upscale home feeling of the bedroom is a first-class place to spend a few nights whilst in London.

The bathroom is fitted with high quality products and finishes, and the tiled surfaces were expertly finished. Again the sense of place was echoed here too with a full-height local mural behind a glazed wall in the shower area.

Jonathan concludes: “The new design expresses the spirit of the Mercure brand. All the elements from the host tables to the feature wall create a space that allows for a harmony between our guests, our staff and the local area. We are committed to doubling the size of the Mercure network by 2016. Each hotel will be refreshingly different but reassuringly the same for quality. You can always feel expected at a Mercure hotel.”

Mercure worked with French-based W&CIE to design and implement the new interior identity and design concept.