Guoman Hotels, Thistle Kensington Gardens
Murray & Willis were appointed main contractor on this five million pound transformation of Guoman Hotels, Thistle Kensington Gardens.
The nine storey hotel is situated on the Bayswater Road in London overlooking Hyde Park and has 175 bedrooms, various conference rooms and a public area. This includes the newly refurbished restaurant, bar, reception area and main entrance, including new canopy and facade.
One of the most complex aspects of this project was the fact that the building had to remain fully occupied and operational during the twelve month refurbishment process.
To enable the hotel to remain fully functional we installed an external hoist to the rear elevation of the building from the ground floor to the ninth floor level allowing materials to be transported to each floor during the refurbishment and ensuring that both the guests and daily operations of the hotel remained undisturbed. Good programming was essential and it was decided that the most efficient way to minimise disruption to the guests and staff was initially to refurbish the first floor bedrooms, which is the second floor of the hotel. There was good reason for this as the bedroom refurbishment was progressing in conjunction with the first two phases of the restaurant immediately below, which were completed within an eight week period. This allowed the hotel to dispense with the use of temporary dining facilities quickly and enabled the guests to enjoy dining in the newly refurbished areas therefore keeping the disruption to a bare minimum.
On each floor of the bedroom refurbishment we totally stripped them back to the bare shell within a one week period. We then installed complete new electrics and air conditioning to all twenty two bedrooms and the corridor. All of the twenty two rooms received a complete new bathroom, some of which were DDA compliant using the latest disabled equipment. All were finished with feature tiling and granite vanity tops, some of which have a combined bath and shower and others with a walk in shower facility.
On completion of the above, the rooms were completely re-decorated to a high standard by our in-house decorating division which included one papered feature wall in each room. In addition each corridor also had one papered feature wall.
The rooms were fitted out with new walnut furniture supplied by the client and installed by our own joiners.
The soft furnishings, carpets and curtains were supplied and installed by a client direct contractor but the installation was supervised and co-ordinated by Murray & Willis.
In conclusion it was essential that we co-ordinated this complex project within an occupied building in a sensibly phased programme to minimise disruption. Firstly, handing over the restaurant in two phases, secondly the bar, culminating finally in the reception area on the first floor which was partly undertaken during the night. This involved the installation of a complete new air conditioning and fresh air system.
These phases were all executed behind hoardings that were finished to mirror the surrounding areas so that the guests were almost made to feel unaware that a major refurbishment was happening around them.
As the main public area on the first floor was coming towards completion we had to refurbish the ground floor entrance to the hotel whilst maintaining access for the guests, which due to the small entrance area and the reception being on the first floor was no easy task.
This involved removing the existing marble floor and walls, installing New York stone flooring, plastered walls which were then re-decorated and the area also included new automatic sliding doors and a disabled side entrance.
During the refurbishment of the public areas all three lifts were refurbished by the client’s direct contractor supervised and co-ordinated by Murray and Willis.
The external facade and the new steel framed canopy was clad in Pilkington ‘spandrel glass’ fixed to the steel structure with ‘planar’ integral mountings to create a floating visual effect.
The overall contract lasted for twelve months over thirteen phases, during which the hotel remained fully occupied and operational, minimising at all times disruption to guests and the daily operation of the hotel.
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