The Berners Hotel is one of the best kept secrets in London. It is a first-class five-star hotel situated in the heart of the city.
The hotel has a history that stretches back to 1654 when Josias Berners, who lends his name to the hotel, bought the land on which it stands for £970.
The hotel was originally built in 1835 as five classic houses. The properties were converted to a hotel at the turn of the 20th century.
The original ceilings of the marble-clad reception area and the restaurant are Grade II-listed attributes and the hotel is steeped in history.
Since early 2006 the hotel has undergone a massive refurbishment programme designed to bring it into the 21st century, equipping it to serve its guests for many years to come.
Berners closed its doors in January 2006 and is scheduled to re-open in 2010. After renovation, the four-star hotel will be awarded five-star status.
The Berners Hotel finance
The Berners Hotel is part of the JJW Hotels and Resorts group (bought in 2001 for €81.4m). JJW Hotels and Resorts Group is controlled by the Saudi concern MBI International.
The company is seeking to launch a new trans-European hotel brand starting with the refurbished Berners Hotel and including the Scotsman Hotel in Edinburgh, The Calls in Leeds and La Tremoille in Paris. The Berners refurbishment requires an estimated investment of £32m.
The contract for project management and planning supervisor was awarded to Gardiner and Theobald, who have a proven track record for hotel refurbishments and conversions in the UK. Owen and Kimble are the principal architects for the project and Chorus Group are the construction contractors.
Owen and Kimble have been involved in the development of the refurbishment plans for the past three years, planning the new fitness and spa areas as well as the new restaurant and bar.
Changes to The Berners Hotel
The refurbished hotel will open in 2010 with 176 fully refurbished luxury decorated bedrooms. Previously the hotel had 217 bedrooms, so fewer rooms are will produce more spacious accommodation. The older, dated room décor will be replaced and all rooms will have state-of-the art ensuite facilities.
After its refurbishment, The Berners Hotel will no longer have any single rooms – all guestrooms will either be standard twin doubles, family doubles or suites equipped with queen-sized beds. The design of the rooms will include new bathroom fittings, wardrobe layouts and updated furniture configuration, as well as WiFi (provided by The Cloud) and internet connection in each room.
The most spacious rooms will have walk-in showers next to the baths and handheld shower facilities, while others will have adjustable showers in the bath.
The two main guest lifts will be totally refurbished. A new lift serving the new fitness centre and back building will be installed slightly away from the reception area towards the back of the hotel, near one of the ground-floor bars.
The hotel will also inaugurate a new bar and hotel restaurant to rival any other in London. During the refurbishment the character of the hotel will be preserved by the retention of its well-known features.
The renovated hotel will have an 80-seater and a ten-seater boardroom for event facilitates. The hotel will have a private dinning room accommodating 60 guests. There will also be a ballroom to serve 170 guests.