The Salthouse Harbour is the first Four-Star ‘boutique’ hotel in Ipswich and one of the first of the new wave of commercial ventures which are regenerating the Waterfront Area.
Gough Hotels, a family-run chain which also operates The Angel in Bury St Edmunds, recognised the potential of the waterfront area and set about finding a suitable building. The former John Good Building was a late nineteenth century warehouse which had remained largely unaltered, retaining the open floor plans and low ceilings typical of this building type where any height above that which a man can lift a sack of grain is wasted space.
In order to convert the building for hotel bedrooms we needed to raise the ceiling heights of the upper floors without destroying the character of the building. In order to achieve this, the upper two floors were carefully dismantled and then rebuilt to match the existing building but with higher ceilings. More rooms were needed than could be accommodated in the original structure but the foundations could not support any additional floors if masonry construction was used and so a lighter steel ‘pavilion’ structure was erected on top of the newly-rebuilt masonry building. The result is a building with a very distinct character and a ‘face’ that is immediately recognisable along the waterfront.
We worked closely with Trevillion Interiors to produce modern luxury hotel bedrooms which nevertheless retained the industrial character of the original building. The cast iron columns of the warehouse structure have been retained and windows were simply formed by cutting openings in the brickwork and inserting steel frames. Throughout the building the choice of fittings and furniture has been made to be evocative of travel to exotic places; intricately carved panelling and dark woods conjure up images of the Far East whilst strong colours contrast with more natural tones to give a taste of the intensity of the Mediterranean sun.
All this combined with an adventurous menu and a restaurant with a view of the harbour may account for the spectacular success of the Salthouse Harbour Hotel which is fully booked all year round.