Butlins and Pontin’s provide opportunities for designers

Holiday camp operators Butlins and Pontin’s are investing millions of pounds to upgrade their facilities, providing interior design groups with a chance to modernise chalets and work on new types of accommodation.

Butlins is due to open Ocean Hotel, its second and most ambitious resort hotel, in the summer. The 200-room boutique hotel will feature a spa and a 250-seat restaurant, designed by Newman Gauge.

The consultancy’s associate director Sam Stokoe has worked with Butlins since 2004, following a recommendation from Center Parcs.

Stokoe created the public areas of the Center Parcs Elveden Forest site with her previous employer, architect Church Lukas.

‘Butlins likes to work with individual designers rather than design consultancies,’ says Stokoe. She took the client with her after leaving Church Lukas, where she completed Butlins’ first hotel, the £10m The Shoreline.

Newman Gauge beat ‘three other regular Butlins design groups’ in September 2007, says Stokoe, to win the Ocean Hotel contract. She claims that Butlins issued a ‘nicely vague’ brief.

A Butlins spokeswoman adds that it briefed Newman Gauge to ’embrace fun, developing a British tongue-in-cheek concept that the young-at-heart Butlins customers would revel in’.

This has resulted in brightly coloured bedrooms featuring colour-change lighting, which is even installed under the beds (pictured).

The spa, says Stokoe, ‘is an implosion of a disco ball, with mirrors and colour-change lighting and sound effects, unlike any other spa’.

Newman Gauge worked with lighting designer Premier Lighting on the project, and is appointing a digital group to work on an interactive digital fish tank for the hotel foyer.

Other groups to work frequently with Butlins include Scott Brownrigg Interior Design, which created Butlins’ first timeshare development at its Minehead resort in 2007.

Butlins is also currently working with 427 Textile Solutions in Hertfordshire to upgrade its Gold grade apartment accommodation.

Meanwhile, Pontin’s announced last week that it is to invest £50m in upgrading facilities at its six resorts. It is not yet prepared to reveal its design procurement plans.

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