A historic Georgian townhouse, which between 1720 and 1806 provided lodging for visiting judges to York, has been transformed into a chic 15-guest room city centre hotel, with Oliver Redfern heading up the interior design and distinctive branding.
It is not very often that a hotel possesses such a rich and interesting history as Judges Court, and even less often that an interior so successfully and without gimmick merges quirky references to this past, with a contemporary and fautlessly stylish design approach.
“I was keen that the design was driven by the building’s past and personality, with a sense of period austerity yet full of eccentric Englishness charm and warmth,” Oliver explains.
“Complementing the Grade II Listed building and its iconic York location, the interior showcases the very best of English craftsmanship. The use of deep colours, polished woods, velvets, leather, wool and rich metals provide a nostalgic quality of centuries gone by, yet extremely comfortable for the modern day traveller.”
From the moment guests enter the hotel reception, they are presided over by portraits of former judges who sat for more than 80 years. An antique podium acts as a characterful reception desk, while stencilled judges’ gavels point the way to the bedrooms – each of which is named after a judge.
“The guest rooms are designed to be simple monochromatic chic, with neutral walls accentuated by original features such as fireplaces, bare brick and beautiful wood panelling,” says Oliver.
“Accent colour is kept to a minimum with flashes provided by bespoke minibars and thick wool throws, while every opportunity to delight the guest with detail has been taken, from the hand-crafted wooden gavels used as robe hooks, to vintage style manacles found in the wardrobe (spare keys can be purchased from reception!).”
Of the 15 rooms, there is a mix of 10 deluxe double and twin, all of which feature bespoke casegoods, studded leather headboards, Roberts radios and a ‘Ay Up’ minibar featuring the best of Yorkshire.
The ensuites continue the pampering experience with large walk-in Rainhead showers and luxury Cowshed products.
There are five luxury rooms featuring four poster beds, with the largest and most luxurious featuring a deep freestanding cast iron bath in front of a fireplace. This room also has the notoriety of being once occupied by the honorable Sir William Chapple Knt who decided the fate of the legendary highwayman Dick Turpin.
“The main challenge we faced was to retain the quirkiness that attracted our client to the building in the first place, while carefully inserting the aspects required for a successful lodging experience for the guest,” says Oliver.