A new hotel on an important heritage site in London
Over the last decade, the 9th Duke of Northumberland made a commitment to improve the large family estate bordering the Thames at Syon Park in West London. With the support of various heritage bodies, a new-build hotel has been completed, opening in March 2011, operated by the Hilton Group as a five-star Waldorf Astoria. The 134 bedroom hotel will generate secured funding for future maintenance and improvements to Syon House and the surrounding 82 hectare estate.
The site selected for the hotel is in the corner of the historic Grade 1 Listed Parkland, much of which was laid out by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown in the 1750s. The centrepiece of the estate is Syon House itself, renowned for the Robert Adam interiors, completed in 1764, and one of the most important Great Houses of England. The design and layout of the building breaks with conventional of hotel design. It responds to the scale, materiality, character and orientation of the nearby historic ancillary buildings in a dignified contemporary statement, without attempting to compete with Syon House, or with Charles Fowler's adjacent 1830 Great Conservatory.By breaking down the building mass into smaller elements, a low but varied skyline profile has been achieved which never intrudes into the parkland beyond. The building has six connected linear wings, each with a pitched roof and high open gables. One of these creates a prominent portico entrance to the double-height reception lounge. The tallest wing contains a spa, pool and conference rooms, including a banqueting/conference hall seating up to 500 people.
The project included careful restoration of parts of the historic landscape and structures as well as extensive tree planting. Parkland greenery permeates into and around the hotel, offering a variety of more intimate external spaces, divided by linear pools as a reminder of the nearby river and lakes. The executive guest wing is connected to the hotel by a two-storey glazed bridge link across the gardens. The palette of exterior building materials, finishes and colour is restrained and controlled throughout and gives little clue to the exuberance of the luxurious interiors awaiting arriving guests.