The owners of the Royal Hotel understand the responsibility to act as guardians of a listed building and are committed to ensuring that ongoing business operations have a minimal impact on the building and its setting, but the future viability of the business and therefore the listed building depended on a degree of modernisation. The proposed works included an extension, alterations to the reception and restaurant, the creation of new accessible bedrooms, the replacement of the existing lift and modifications to the main vehicular access and car park. Given our involvement master planning the adjacent Town Square on behalf of North Somerset Council and the strategically important position of the hotel between the Town Square and the seafront we expanded the brief to include enhancements to the public spaces surrounding the hotel with the objective to improve the setting of the listed building and the pedestrian experience travelling to and from the Town Square to the seafront.
The Royal Hotel is the oldest and one of most prestigious hotels in the seaside town of Weston-super-Mare. Originally constructed in the mid-19th century, this grand early Victorian style building occupies a very prominent position on the seafront and within the Great Weston Conservation area. The current owners have made a significant investment in the hotel. They strive to offer a profitable, high-quality service within an increasingly competitive market. View Architects was appointed to explore the potential to modernise and extend existing building.
The completed development proposal included an extension with a total floor area of 2,458m² arranged over three storeys. The new accommodation included a restaurant overlooking the seafront, 66 bedrooms and an underground car park with 71 spaces.
The extension was positioned perpendicular to the existing hotel and was only connected to the listed building via a lightweight glazed link at ground floor level. This was to preserve the integrity of the building’s historic fabric, in particular the original south façade. The new car park was positioned below an existing lawn again to minimise any impact on the listed building.
The extension respected the classical hierarchy used in the listed building. The ground floor was finished in stone to relate to the existing rusticated lower storey, the middle floor was finished in smooth render while the upper floor was designed to appear as an attic storey to reduce its visual scale and make it appear subservient to the original building. Each storey was of a similar scale and height to the existing building. Window heights related to those used on the existing building, but the style of fenestration and all building detail was contemporary. This design approach was developed in collaboration with the local planning authority and Historic England and supported by the local design forum.
Feedback from the Design Forum
Overall the proposals for the Royal Hotel should be encouraged. A new building of some quality in this location has the opportunity to contribute positively to its surroundings on all sides. It is a hugely important site for the town which will set the standards going forward. Both the client and the design team are to be congratulated on the emerging scheme