A design-led boutique hotel with a nod to the Victorian era.

A design-led boutique hotel with a nod to the Victorian era.

A bespoke hotel design that sets itself apart in a sea of monotonous modern structures.

Spinningfields is a vibrant district in the centre of Manchester. The river Irwell defines its western edge and history, as the focus of docks and warehouses in the eighteenth century. The traditional pattern of historic narrow streets is relieved by dramatic modern public spaces. Corporate headquarters, shops, fine dining and street food, bars and libraries, nightclubs and opera houses all coexist in this diverse and eclectic neighbourhood that is always busy. 

Given its 24-hour economy, it’s surprising that Spinningfields has never had a hotel. It’s not surprising however that KE Hotels acquired a site right at the heart of Spinningfields which had been destined to be another corporate headquarters. They had the vision to develop a hotel and started to explore opportunities with hotel designers Ica.

The first challenge was getting a hotel layout to work. The site was very deep and square with low rise listed buildings including Invicta House, an eighteenth-century former textile warehouse. Ica maximised the space and included an entire additional floor level within the existing planning consent, condensing 147 guestrooms into the tight 750sqm plot. The hotel also features a living-room-style lobby and a stylish bar.

“Ica’s knowledge of the main hotel brands is second to none. They’ve got a great track record in providing creative solutions as and when challenges arise on projects. Having worked with them for over five years, I’ve found them to be of the highest calibre, consistently delivering top quality, cost-effective schemes.”   

Anil Khanna, Director KE Hotels. 

KE Hotels found the perfect brand in Moxy by Marriott, a playful concept for the young at heart. The depth of expertise and research delivered by Marriott alongside this non-conforming rebel brand allowed Ica to complete the design with a very strong theme. 

After the design was refined and perfected, delivery of the hotel on-site was the next challenge. An incredibly tight site surrounded by narrow lanes and buildings, as well as restricted vehicle access, a tall building, façade retention and listed buildings. This was going to be a challenge to build and a challenge to estimate and price. Ica introduced the client to Gilbert Ash as a trusted construction partner with experience in hotels as well as historic and high-profile landmark buildings. They quickly produced a well-considered construction strategy at a competitive price which was negotiated to allow work to start on site quickly. Despite the Covid pandemic, work progressed, and Ica delivered the finished hotel faithful to the original design and vision. 

This hotel emerges with optimism and energy in a crucial year for hospitality as society looks forward to doing business and having fun! 

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A design-led boutique hotel with a nod to the Victorian era.
BDC June 2022 issue - 293

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