With John Parker, General Manager of Newton Hall
Built in 1780 as part of the Bamburgh Estate, Newton Hall has undergone somewhat of a transformation in recent years; after previously serving as a holiday let, an Estate home, hospital and even as a correctional home for ‘fallen nuns’.
A Grade II listed building, Newton Hall now markets itself as a bold, romantic and fantastical wedding venue with each guest bedroom drawing upon influences from around the world to provide a superbly unique and interesting stay.
How important do you think it is for hotels to provide guests with a stylish but practical experience?
It is very much at the core of what we believe that all guests should have the most stylish stay possible but, naturally, we need to keep all aspects of the Hall as practical as possible.
This has been quite a challenge due to our status as a Grade II listed building!
How important are review sites like Trip Advisor and your representation on them? Do you think it affects a guest’s decision to book/stay?
I believe that Trip Advisor plays a large role in this day and age – but only with customers with digital savvy.
In a way, it’s frustrating that anyone can write virtually anything on-line without fear of redress. However, we do believe that we generally ‘do the job right’ and therefore hope that we get both positive comments or constructive criticism.
Talk us through the style and design of Newton Hall.
I wanted each room to be completely different. To me, the meaning of boutique is individual, different, small and personal, treating you as an individual.
Explain some of the challenges you faced when designing various aspects of the hotel and sourcing materials, interiors and furniture/accessories.
We are blessed to have an amazingly creative design team who spend their time travelling the world sourcing soft furnishings and looking for inspiration.
If we then couple that with a remarkable eye for detail – and a certain air of self-confidence – it all falls into place.
Probably the single most difficult part, or at least the most restrictive, was working within the guidelines of planning consent for listed buildings. Our team, fortunately, managed to use some of these restrictions to our advantage and create some wonderful features in the Hall.
How important is it to you that guests have a unique and memorable experience?
The whole team at Newton Hall are passionate about customer care and we also realise that we do actually have a unique venue and, because of that guests do have a memorable stay.
How important do you think it is that guests feel comfortable?
Naturally, one doesn’t want to come to any hotel and not be comfortable – it would be professional suicide!
What, if any, do you think will be key trends within hotel design and interiors over the next 12 months.
Gosh. If I really knew the answer to that I would already be rich! But seriously, I sense that Hotels like ours, ie cool, trendy, daringly different – as many adjectives like this as you want – is the way that more and more hotels will go.
I think people want to be blown away by design – and long may that last.
There will always be that Premier Inn style market (I use them myself!) but, I think the main trick is to combine modern technology and comfort with exciting and unique interior design.
To find out more about the trends shaping the hospitality industry in 2017, stay tuned for the Hilden Style Guide 2017…coming soon.