Think opulent interiors and a garden perfect for enjoying an alfresco dining experience; the ideal meeting place for friends and an equally decadent venue for a special occasion. The Stanneylands Hotel in Wilmslow underwent a total renovation earlier in 2017, with DV8 Designs putting the Cheshire venue firmly back on the map.

Managing Director of DV8 Designs Lee Birchall and his team were enlisted to restore this forgotten gem to its former glory, taking on the task of transforming and renovating the high profile, three story hotel. Having previously been in receivership and in a somewhat uncared-for state for many years, The Stanneylands’ new owners envisioned a major repositioning project to re-establish this former Cheshire institution and reopen as a contemporary yet classic British drinking and dining destination with an exceptional events space and 52 restyled guest rooms, encompassing country house and city chic in a marriage of old and new.

Established in 2006, Warrington-based DV8 Designs is an architecture and interior design practice that prides itself on its thorough approach, innovative ideas and portfolio that comprises several impressive projects with clients in hospitality, commercial, property and residential sectors.

The concept to transform The Stanneylands was inspired by the venue’s brand values, which embrace a ‘Best of British’ ideal, and from this evolved a vision to create a Cheshire classic with a modern twist.

It was essential that the venue was sympathetically restored in keeping with its past whilst ensuring that it was relevant to today’s market with the use of timeless yet modern designs, which were apparent throughout the brief. The unique history of the venue would be captured with an earthy colour scheme incorporating splashes of mauve, purple and greens, chosen to protect the legacy.

To accentuate the ratio between antique and modern-day décor, design features include vintage bric-a-brac, exposed brick walls, timber, flooring and feature tiles together with a series of chequered, floral and multi-textured wallpapers throughout.

To ensure that the major ‘wow factor’ was apparent from the offset, the design had to play on the complete customer journey which included everything from the entrance, reception, bar, lounge, two new dining venues and an events suite to accommodate both social and corporate occasions. The design was implemented with a fluid and intuitively guided customer experience in mind, with all the lines of sight naturally guiding guests to the key focal points.

Once the layout and journey had been determined, it came to matching design with practicality, with the functionality of each space thoroughly thought out to achieve maximum potential. Integral to the operational efficiency was the need to delight guests with an abundance of country house touches whilst also affording guests magnificent views of the newly landscaped garden, complemented by the addition of three new terraces perfect for alfresco dining and drinking overlooking the woodland and lake.

Back inside the historic build, the reception was designed with a more intimate feel when compared to the rolling landscape outside. It was essential to capture a welcoming feeling, greeting guests with features such as a traditionally detailed old writer’s desk with a stand-out key and clock display to serve as a nod to the property’s wealthy history. The complementary herringbone flooring leads guests through to the lounge area where a log fire is an open invitation to treat the space as a home away from home, while a timber panelled bar pays homage to the original panelling throughout the building.

Further round, the space opens up into the newly established Tap & Pantry, a casual dining and drinking venue which is both rustic and fantastically British in terms of its feel. This space speaks for itself, with more natural finishes, areas of tiled flooring to suit the branding and complementary accessories to lend the space to the picturesque views which are visible through the large windows. However, it maintains a sense of sophistication with the chic window displays and modern-day light fittings, which allow for an intimate dining experience.

The hotel’s main dining outlet, The Grill Room, was restored and reimagined as an elegant and sophisticated area with a sense of comfort captured by a traditional teal and yellow colour scheme running through the room. The original timber panelling adds a cosy feel, but with a new set of double doors opening onto the regenerated space, the eatery sets for a bright inside area.

Following a four-month closure, the creative overhaul included a complete reconfiguration of the venue which included every customer touchpoint from the moment of arrival right through to departure including the entrance lobby and reception area, 52 bedrooms including three bridal suites and six boutique rooms, two dining and drinking outlets, two events suites and a private meeting and dining room and external grounds.

The first floor houses a large events suite, which holds up to 140 people, as well as the newly created meeting and dining private events suite and just some of the refurbished bedrooms. The largest suite, The State Room, affords the venue to host large scale events, catering for the likes of weddings and corporate occasions. It was essential to create a space with a grand stature, ensuring that the suite holds up its fitting name, with elegance and timelessness as well as a fit for purpose layout all playing a crucial role in the brief.

The carpets and light fittings within these spaces were carefully thought about to ensure both practicality in terms of event management and maintenance as well as providing an atmosphere that was suitable for every event. Throughout the design, the finishes and fittings all pay homage to each other and form a neutral but impactful scheme. The addition of an external terrace also created an additional flood of light into the suite casting an ethereal glow, creating the perfect setting for a special occasion.

The large-scale project also saw the creation of a new, smaller private meeting and events spaces with breakout refreshment areas that boast unbeatable views over the woodlands. Aptly named The Attic, this space has been gloriously designed in keeping with its name, furnished with bespoke timber cabinet fittings handcrafted to have the ‘wow’ factor but also to enable efficiencies for storage and housing of the technical kit. This smaller and more intimate space has the added bonus of relaxation rooms with a small kitchen kit allowing for refreshments to be served.

The refurbished bedrooms included three bridal suites and six boutique rooms as well as standard rooms. The brief entailed three different budget schemes, all of which were designed not only to create that sense of ‘home from home’, but to ensure that guests can enjoy the complete boutique hotel experience. The use of bespoke wallpapers and differing colour schemes were utilised to provide a unique and individualised service.

As well as the reconfiguration of the internal works and the grounds, the property’s exterior was an extensive part of the overall project, with a complete refresh of the front and side facing elevations of the building. This included the introduction of new brushed stainless steel and glazed panel balcony and front face rendering which was painted to form a more grand and obvious access point for guests.

To truly complete the look at The Stanneylands, the redevelopment saw the creation of new split-level patios with a pathway leading between. These works improved the overall appearance of the external face of the house and offer an impressive and grand entrance leading up the driveway. Now, when one arrives at The Stanneylands, immediately there is a sense of country house charm and grandeur… a true Cheshire house classic with a twist.

Since reopening to the public in April 2017, the transformed hotel has proven a roaring success, transporting the venue back to its glory days. This cherished Cheshire charm is now a firm favourite for weddings and corporate events to name just a few, with the eateries going down a treat with both residents and non-residents alike.

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