Chateau Impney Hotel in Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire, is one of the finest and most authentic examples of classic French chateau-style buildings in the UK, with a rich history spanning more than 100 years. Owned and operated by an independent team, the property is undergoing a major refurbishment after being bought out of administration in July last year. Ben Elder, general manager at Chateau Impney, explains how the iconic Grade II Listed property is being sympathetically restored to become one of the UK’s leading venues.
When the new owners purchased the chateau last year, they knew they were buying a property that was steeped in history and with lots of potential, but they also recognised that it was in need of some TLC and modernisation. And, from the outset, they made a clear commitment to put the property back on the map.
So far, a quarter of the chateau’s 106 bedrooms has been sympathetically refurbished with plush carpets, elegant decor, stylish furnishings and contemporary bathroom suites. Flat-screen TVs, iPod docking stations and WiFi have also been introduced, and our two new luxury Chateau Feature Rooms are now complete. Individually styled, our Feature Rooms are something extra special! Boasting generous proportions, lavish, custom-made furnishings, ornate stone balconies and freestanding baths, they offer the ultimate in luxury and style.
Improvements have also been made to a number of other parts of the hotel, including our function rooms, the reception and bar areas, and the ornamental gardens. Even the corridors have been given a fresh lease of life with new wallpaper, carpets and lighting.
By contrasting light colours with rich shades and sumptuous fabrics, our interior consultant, Comparo, has successfully blended the old with the new and created a classic, elegant feel with an impression of space.
An important part of the brief to Comparo was to preserve the beautiful original features of the property, while introducing new details to acknowledge the building’s remarkable past. The elaborate original plans continue to adorn the walls, and we have introduced a collection of architectural-style drawings of the chateaux from the Loire Valley – a nod to the inspiration for the building.
The magnificent original ceiling in the Grand Ballroom has been repainted and restored to its former glory, as has the stunning ceiling frieze decorated with birds in the Fleur de Lys Suite on the first floor.
Although we did not have many details of what the original house looked like, we used old photographs as inspiration for parts of the design. For example, the sofas in the Chateau Feature Rooms, while not a perfect reproduction, are a close match to those in the Fleur de Lys Suite when it was the original drawing room.
Another major consideration, aside from the aesthetics, was creating functional spaces for our guests to use. Before the refurbishment began, we spent time with our customers to ensure we understood exactly how they used the hotel as a space to relax and unwind. These insights have helped shape the layout of the bedrooms and the new technologies we have introduced.
The work undertaken to date is just the first part of our ambitious plans. The next stage, which has already commenced, will see the remainder of the bedrooms in the main chateau building, our 41 Courtyard Rooms and nine self-catering apartments, totally refurbished in a grand style.
We are delighted with the transformation the hotel has undergone so far. The feedback from guests has been overwhelmingly positive, and we’re looking forward to seeing the rest of the refurbishment unfold.