Where The Scarlet story begins
Sunday, 22 December 2008
The shareholders (and sisters!) of Bedruthan Steps Hotel, Debbie, Emma and Rebecca have for a while had an ambition to own more than one hotel so they could offer different visitors different experiences. The sisters wanted to create a hotel that they could escape to with their partners and realised that there must be many other people out there that wanted the same thing. They searched high and low for the right place to have such a hotel. Whilst visiting many stunning places including Morocco, Croatia, France and Spain, none of them quite fitted the bill. Then there was news that Wain Homes had submitted a planning application to redevelop a 27 bedroom hotel just down the cliff from Bedruthan into apartments. This had been objected to by many of the local residents. When the appeal was upheld and the planning permission rejected it was apparent that the owners of Tredragon Hotel just might be interested in selling up. So, at a board meeting in June 2006 it was suggested that the Tredragon Hotel site might be just what we were looking for...it had been under our noses all along! We recognised that its location was very special and that it might be worth redeveloping it as a hotel to attract couples and friends. After a few sleepless nights and asking ourselves some serious questions the chairman of the board was authorised to enter into negotiations with the owners of Tredragon Hotel to buy the property. Very soon afterwards a deal was done and Bedruthan had in effect decided to build a new hotel in its front garden. This is where The Scarlet's story begins.
Naming the hotel
So, we have purchased a new hotel, now it has to be given a name! The naming process started politely but soon felt like a Cornish wrestling match. 1,000 Cornish words were searched for inspiration and that quality of 'rightness'. We learned a lot along the way. Amari is a beautiful Cornish word for a cupboard! This isn't quite what we were looking for in a hotel name though so the brainstorming continued. James and Simon, who bring the masculine balance to our board team, sat quiely, despairing as we tried to reduce the list to something shorter than the census! The summer of 2008 will be remembered for arguing,sulking and tactically voting others' favourites off the short list. How could we open a hotel with no name. We stopped, reflected and remembered our parent's 'dare to be different' moto. How about The Scarlet....huge sighs of relief all round.
So why The Scarlet? Scarlet reflected our boldness, perhaps madness, in trying to build a hotel that might change perceptions of what was possible. We loved the contrast of a rich red colour with our green ethos. But I guess more than anything, somewhere deep within three ‘oh my God, we are middle aged' sisters, The Scarlet is about us living our dreams of daring to be different, love and life.
A considerate start
Sunday, 22 December 2008
When the shareholders of Bedruthan bought the old Tredragon Hotel, the site consisted of the old 27 bed hotel including an indoor pool, bar, lounge, restaurant and terrace as well as a bungalow and garage. The hotel grounds were partially landscaped and laid to lawn, terraced in parts, divided by Cornish hedges (stone faced banks of earth) and a large area of impenetrable brambles and spiky bushes. As part of the site preparation all the buildings needed to be demolished and taken away. Before any of this could happen and the bulldozers allowed on site, it was brought to our attention that the site was almost certainly home to slow worms, lizards and even some snakes. I discovered that slow worms are protected under The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. As a developer, we needed to take reasonable steps to prevent the killing or injuring of slow worms during the clearance of buildings, vegetation and top soil on the site. By the time we were aware of this responsibility it was September and we needed to safely move these shy creatures before the weather got too cold and they went into hibernation. With the help of a few experts we encouraged them out of their homes with some black roof felting and strategically placed corrugated metal sheets on the ground! The slow worms found a new home with one of the shareholders, Debbie, who is a very keen gardener. They now enjoy protecting her vegetable garden against hungry slugs! As we cleared the site, piece by piece, we then undertook a "destructive search" whereby we took the Cornish hedges apart, stone by stone catching even more of the reptile population on the site. Finally, we carefully dug up the top layer of soil and then laid a black plastic sheet fence, partially underground, around the whole site to prevent them from returning while our backs were turned. All in all, we were on site just over five weeks and the weather was unseasonably warm so we were able to complete this operation very successfully. In that time we caught nearly 120 slow worms, lizards and two small adders. When we open the hotel next summer we hope that the landscaping we have undertaken, including the building of a natural pool will encourage a similar diversity of reptiles to make this site their home. We will have a number of green roofs, and much of the site will be planted with the type of wild grasses which one finds on the nearby dunes. In fact their will be no mown grass on this site at all! Keep slow worms safe!!
Simon, Development Director
Where do we start!?
Sunday, 22 December 2008
Not everybody has the opportunity to start with a blank piece of paper and say what it is they want somebody to design. Just thinking about it is scary but that is what was required if we were going to get the hotel we and our guests want. So, there was nothing else we could do but try and write a brief for our architects. The sort of questions we asked ourselves included:
- What style of building do we want?
- How do we want the building to relate to its cliff top location?
- Who is the hotel for and how do we expect them to use it?
- What is the quality of the hotel we require?
- What does the hotel need to offer our guests?
The building needed to take advantage of the topography of the site. It slopes down towards the cliff top path and overlooks the sandy beach of Mawgan Porth. The design needed to recognise that this is the North Cornish coast and that the weather will sometimes be wet and stormy so this hotel has to make the most of the spectacular conditions that it will be exposed to. The building will incorporate sustainability into the design; it must be integral and not just bolted on as an after thought. It will tread as softly as possible on the planet.
We want to create:
- Lots of spaces where couples can enjoy some peace and quiet, time to reflect, slow down. Spaces with differently framed views, spaces indoors and outdoors.
- Opportunities to meet and talk or share experiences with fellow guests. A great arrival, cosy lounges with open fires.
- Bedrooms which are unique and not all of the same size or shape.
- A restaurant where many of the tables can appreciate the views and outside terraces for alfresco dining, and of course really yummy food!
- Cornish art and quirky stuff that makes us smile
- A warm welcome that comes from the heart of our team
- A place that encourages people to engage with nature
- Oh, and a spa that restores wellbeing and inner calm, where the ahhhh of a treatment would last for days not hours.
- To sum it up lots of variety!
How much of this brief will we have achieved? Roll on next summer, but I have to say it is looking good!! Simon, Development Director