• Image: Gloucester Place Hotels

Feilden+Mawson has achieved planning and listed building consent from Westminster City Council for the reconfiguration of six listed Georgian townhouses into a high quality, new hotel development for the Portman Estate. The Estate has engaged Z Hotels as their hotel operators for the complex.

The development will realise 114 highly serviced en-suite bedrooms and involves the creation of a large new breakfast room conceived as a connecting gallery running behind 51-55 Gloucester Place.

The restrictions of the buildings' listed status and the Portman Estate conservation area prevents any lateral connections through party walls so all the links are made behind the line of the townhouses.

A particular challenge was to install lifts in all the buildings. Where possible the new lift is contained within the footprint of the building. Where the historic fabric is undisturbed this has been achieved by adding appropriately detailed closet wings containing new lifts.

A further challenge was to achieve the level of servicing required to cater for modern hotel rooms within listed Georgian townhouses. This was achieved by identifying the significance of each component part of the historic fabric and establishing where there were opportunities for new service risers.

The amount of new plant required for a modern hotel has resulted in a reconfiguration of most of the roofs to hide condensers and air handling plant from view. In all cases this has lead to an improvement over the existing state of the buildings where ad hoc a/c kit has been fixed to exteriors.

The scheme will also restore the elevations of these Georgian townhouses and reinstate the original fenestration patterns lost over a century ago. It forms a part of the Portman Estate's long term strategy for Gloucester Place and for the Conservation Area as a whole, prolonging the life of these buildings and enhancing the local townscape.