On 9 April 2010, international leisure company Arkin Group Developments submitted an application to the UK’s Elmbridge Borough Council to build the world’s first underground five-star boutique hotel and spa beneath Hersham Golf Course in Surrey, UK.
The conceptual design of the Hersham Golf Course underground hotel and development was unveiled by ReardonSmith Architects in December 2009. Claudel Venture, part of the Arkin Group, will carry out the hotel and spa development. The project is estimated to cost £72m.
In May 2010 Hersham residents opposed the plans for the sunken hotel and raised a petition fearing the development would include a casino and cause noise and mess.
They also opposed the development because it might increase the risk of flood.
A spokesman from Claudel Venture said that the hotel development would not have any risk of floods in the area and that measures would be taken to reduce the impact of construction on the local residents during the project execution.
Hersham Hotel design
The company acquired the 108-acre Hersham Golf Club in 2008. The project scheme will see a gross area development of about 22,107m² and an additional 10,194m² car parking area.
ReardonSmith Architects was appointed to design the hotel and spa at the Hersham Golf Club according to London’s Green Belt. The architects conceptualised an innovative subterranean development by integrating the golf facilities, a five-star hotel and spa into a single organic composition.
The proposed plans include replacement of the existing surface buildings at the golf course with the subterranean structures and landscape development.
The existing club house and above-ground parking will be replaced by an underground parking area and decrease about one third of hard surface build-up. The project will improve the layout and visual attraction of the whole golf course.
If the project receives approval from Elmbridge Borough Council, improvement of local transport infrastructure with the construction of a new access road from Esher Road will also be undertaken. A new roundabout will be built on Esher Road between Lammas Lane and Molesey Road, connecting the access road.
The infrastructure upgrades will decrease congestion on Assher Road and improve safety and traffic flow to the golf course site. The entire development will be within the existing woodland enclave and out of sight of local residents.
Development and the environment
The underground five-star hotel and spa will blend into the natural surroundings. It will not only preserve but also improve the Green Belt of the course area by 33%.
Hersham underground hotel and spa will be a sustainable development and built to reduce the overall carbon footprint.
The development will include a combined heat and power generation installation, grey-water recycling facilities, ground-source heat pumps and heat exchangers, and rainwater harvesting.
The eco-friendly systems will decrease demand for resources compared with a traditional five-star hotel.
The hotel and spa will also be concealed by a plush, green living roof and reflect the undulating golf course landscape.
The upgrade of the golf course will include plantation of additional indigenous shrubs and trees on a wider site. One level of public area will be the main visible form of the hotel and golf club development. The new access road and improved public footpaths will be integrated into the existing natural surroundings with extensive re-vegetation.
The underground hotel will have 198 rooms and a spa. The hotel’s guestrooms below the ground level will overlook the sunken garden courtyards. The 800m² landscaped courtyards will allow natural light into the rooms through a glazed façade.
Hersham Golf Course Hotel facilities
The underground hotel development will include a new club house, bars, restaurants and business and conference facilities along with improvements to the golf course.
Public spaces will be on the ground level with restaurants and leisure spaces.
The hotel and golf course will have car parking spaces below the ground level. The golf club will use less light emission techniques to reduce the lighting level.