THE DARLINGTON HOTEL, SUSSEX GARDENS

Starting out as a ‘turn-key’ hotel development, the project was eventually tendered on the basis of schematic plans and a brief specification.   We were appointed at the  time the contract was awarded with a brief  to develop the scheme in conjunction with the project managers and to obtain Planning and Listed Building consents and Building Regulations approval.

The four mid-19th century brick-built houses had formerly been used as a hostel but were unconnected apart from a few random openings at basement and ground level.   They had been empty for almost two years and were in an advanced state of decay through neglect and the effects of dry rot.    It was clear from the outset  that extensive structural repair was required but in the event substantial areas were completely rebuilt.

The scheme provides 44  hotel rooms, some as suites, ground floor reception and office space and a breakfast room and kitchen in the basement.   The separate buildings are linked by a new internal corridor cut through party walls at each level and the work included construction of a new attic floor, rear extensions over most of the site and a lift.

The local authority required us to retain three of the original staircases, timber window surrounds and shutter boxes, the very few remaining cornices and door cases and external features such decorative stucco, balcony railings and chimney stacks complete with pots.     The complexity of the plan made it impossible to standardise the design of bedrooms and bathrooms but a range of standard details was developed to produce variations on a theme of clean, simple bathrooms and more traditional bedrooms.

The breakfast room is partially top-lit with plain white walls, an inset hearth, timber floors and a curving, granite topped bar counter.     We also designed the counter in the reception area and most of the bedroom furniture.