A huge renovation project at Stratford’s oldest hotel is almost complete, with the Grade II listed building set to re-open its doors at the end of January.
Last week the first images of the former Falcon Hotel, now known as Indigo Hotel Stratford-upon-Avon, were released by the hotel owners, St James Hotels.
The project to restore the historic Hotel has not been without controversy, the owners pushing through with their plan to rebrand the premises despite local opposition.
The decision prompted outrage amongst some who claimed that losing the Falcon name, the building’s designation since 1661, showed disrespect to the town’s history.
The company has been keen to point out that the Falcon name will live on in the shape of the tea rooms at the front of the building, which will retain the Falcon name.
A specially commissioned wooden Falcon sign will also be hung outside the Falcon Tearooms.
The building is believed to be Stratford’s longest continually licenced premises and has been owned by St James Hotels since 2014.
For many months the hotel was shrouded behind a wall of scaffolding, but it has still been possible to catch a glimpse of the extensive work underway, as the building was stripped back right to its original timber frame.
Such has been the scale of the project that the idea of only partially closing the hotel during the works was abandoned and the painstaking work has taken 18 months.
Stepnell, the Warwickshire-based construction contractors, have strived to keep as much of the original structure as possible and where that has not been possible, huge efforts have been made to replace like with like.
One example of this is the ue of 18-year dried European Oak to replace those wooden beams that were simply beyond repair.
Specialist contractors, some of whom have worked on projects such as Shakespeare’s Globe in London, were employed.
The hotel now features 93 guest rooms, each themed in either a Georgian townhouse, Tudor or contemporary styles.
Within the hotel a restaurant called ‘The Woodsman’, will offer the best of British food using local ingredients.
The Woodsman is owned by Mike Robinson, who also owns London’s only Michelin starred pub, The Harwood Arms.
The cost of the massive project has yet to be revealed by St James Hotels, but it is believed to run into several million pounds.
Simon Hall, general manager at Hotel Indigo Stratford upon Avon said: “Through significant investment, St James Hotels have played a vital role in restoring this magnificent Tudor building for residents and visitors to enjoy for centuries to come.
“Stratford-upon-Avon is such a great historical town with a first class range of attractions and Hotel Indigo Stratford upon Avon is the ideal base to explore everything this literary town has to offer.
“We believe in providing more than just a comfy bed but a unique experience and that restaurants and bars are the heart and soul of any good neighbourhood. We’re confident Hotel Indigo Stratford-upon-Avon will become the number one boutique hotel to stay at in this town and we look forward to opening our doors in the early spring.”