Center Parcs shows off £60m birthday upgrade

Center Parcs is celebrating its 20th anniversary this week by unveiling a dramatic £60m upgrade of all its visitor accommodation, orchestrated by architect and interior design group Target Living.


The restyling programme has been overseen by the consultancy’s chief executive and founder Tara Bernerd. It marks the first phase of Center Parc’s ambitious plans, which will see more than 1000 lodges – about 30 per cent of the total capacity – transformed by April 2008.


Target Living battled against 12 other consultancies to land the business after Center Parcs launched a nationwide design consultancy search last year. The group has been charged with bringing the holiday company up to date with a major facelift that will use touches of contemporary styling to add ‘glamour’ to its traditionally sporty image.


The new accommodation will be broken down into entry-level Woodland lodges and luxury-level Executive lodges, and ‘aspirational’ touches will include whirlpool baths, plasma screens, open-plan kitchen and dining areas, oak flooring and large American beds.


‘It’s such a departure from where Center Parcs were. We have picked up its offering and dropped it straight into the 21st century,’ claims Bernerd. After being given the brief, Bernerd spent time at the company’s Sherwood Forest site to ‘get a feel for the place’.


Target Living is better known for its plush penthouses and aspirational London lofts, but Bernerd refutes this perception. ‘We work on anything from penthouse apartments to B&Q,’ she says. ‘Our work has a reputation for being aspirational, but we can work across any budget.’


Center Parcs claims to be one of the most popular destinations for short breaks in the UK and receives more than 1.5 million visitors each year. The accommodation overhaul follows the company’s decision to invest heavily in its spa facilities.



PARC LIFE
• Each village is set in more than 160ha of forest, of which less than 10 per cent is developed
• Fifth UK site will be launched in Bedfordshire this year
• Executive villas comprise 30 per cent of accommodation

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