A £15million redevelopment of a Grade II listed building, The Old Shire Hall in Durham, is nearing completion. The building, situated on Old Elvet, is being converted into a boutique 83 bedroom Hotel Indigo, which will also incorporate Marco Pierre White Steakhouse, Bar and Grill and Tinderbox Espresso Emporium.
General Manager, Paul Borg, said: “We can see huge improvements week on week. Things are going at a pace and the scheduled Spring opening is on track. The hotel is right in the heart of Durham and we feel it fills a gap in the market, with Durham tourism on the rise.”
The richly ornate interior, which features dozens of stained glass windows, an elaborately tiled main staircase and wood panelling, will be retained to keep the historical feel of the building, but with a contemporary slant for the discerning guest.
Mr Borg added “It’s been empty for such a long time, so we are delighted to have this opportunity to bring such a beautiful building back to life. We’re here to enhance it.”
The building was built in the 1890s for Durham County Council, and was home to the authority until it moved to County Hall in the 1960s. It then became the administration centre for Durham University until 2012, since which time it has been empty.
One of the most decorated rooms, the circular former council chamber, which was later used by Durham University’s decision-making senate, is being converted into Marco Pierre White Steakhouse, a 100-cover restaurant with adjacent cocktail bar.
The bedrooms will have either an academic or cathedral theme in a bid to reflect Durham’s history, with the historical theme continuing throughout the hotel.
Kathryn Mason, interior designer of Howard Litchfield who were appointed to design the hotel’s interior, said “Hotel Indigo has been an outstanding project to work on. The listed building is steeped in history and our brief was to reflect Durham within the hotel. “
Each floor level has been named according to parts of Durham city centre: The Vennels, The Elvets, The Bishops and The Mansard.
Throughout, the corridor carpet takes inspiration from the original stained glass windows, having been designed to form an abstract version of the effect given by the sunlight shining through the stained glass.
For the coffee house and reception area, the design was inspired by the working history of Durham using earthy tones and rich fabrics, whilst the bar is an elegant space using a mixture of antique brass finishes with plush navy fabrics to contrast against the listed panelling and original marble flooring.
Marketing Manager Luke Balcombe said: “Part of our brand is for each individual hotel to have its own neighbourhood story. Durham is very much a historic city so we wanted to reflect that. We have worked in hotels before but nothing like this. It’s so different.”
The hotel is expected to create over 60 jobs. Restaurant bookings are being taken from March 30th.