The interior of the city centre hotel is transformed including a redesign of the reception, Gate House restaurant, bar, lounge, terrace and all 156 bedrooms. Mercure, a locally inspired brand, has drawn influence for the hotel’s new interior design from Exeter’s rich Roman and Medieval history including the Cathedral Library’s Exeter Book, a tenth century Anglo-Saxon poetry anthology, along with inspiration from the Richard Hooker Statue, Custom House and River Exe.
Entering the open plan lobby area, guests will be greeted by Mercure’s feature wall, a signature statement in Mercure’s flagship hotels, specially created to pay homage to the remarkable Exeter Book written in 970 AD featuring the largest collection of Old English literature still in existence.
The entrance is striking – a warm space that is both classic and modern, with luxurious fabrics and feature furniture that creates a stunning and expected welcome for guests. Warm and rich tones permeate the interior design throughout all public areas, with the Exeter Book evoked through calligraphy inspired wallpaper, feature page light shades, script collage flooring and delicate historical design references. An Old English type from the manuscript is woven into carpets in the bar and lounge and is featured on design details throughout the hotel. Lampshades and cushions depict individual gargoyles from the cathedral and a Domesday map has been re-created in the lobby area.
Strong local connections are apparent also in the design influences and food and beverage focus at the newly repositioned Gate House Restaurant & Bar. Contemporary in style featuring pillars and flooring printed with ‘erotica’ from the Exeter Book, the bar, restaurant and lounge offers guests multiple spaces and moods to enjoy from the long atrium dining room, perfect for private dining, to the lounge seating around the feature fireplace.
A locally enthused dining experience intended for guests and Exeter locals alike, the ‘Flavours From the South West’ inspired menu boasts à la carte and fixed menu dining, showcasing the best that Devon has to offer. A new 24-hour menu has also been introduced. Making the most of the hotel’s close proximity to Exeter Quay, a weekly Fish Friday special catch supports the weekly seasonal menu. The local produce extends into the bar menu with an alternating resident Devon wine served monthly alongside paired dishes. Guests can also enjoy the ‘Flavours from the Cellar’ wine list, which includes three handpicked wines available across the 72 Mercure Hotels in the UK carefully selected by the BBC Saturday Kitchen Masters of Wine, Susie Barrie and Peter Richards.
Paying homage to the local influence of the Exeter Book, all 156 bedrooms have been refurbished over the past few years, including three executive suites, each having a King size bed, living room, dressing area and bathroom with walk in shower and air conditioning. The bedroom collection also features newly designed bedrooms and privilege rooms. Using the River Exe for creative motivation, 84 bathrooms have been re-designed throughout the hotel. Focusing on the importance of soft lighting and incorporating earthly materials representing the sandstone for which the city’s foundations are built, each bathroom is finished with a sophisticated water inspired graphic shower panel.
Extensive business facilities include seven multi-purposes meeting rooms, with conference facilities for up to 180 people, providing Exeter’s largest hotel based conference and banqueting facility. Each suite is superbly designed featuring capacity for multimedia presentation and communications facilities and free onsite parking for all corporate guests. Following improvements to the poolside and reception area, the hotel’s fitness facilities offers an 18-metre indoor heated pool, Swedish sauna and fully equipped gymnasium for guests to enjoy as part of their stay.
Jonathan Sheard, SVP Operations Luxury, Upscale & Midscale Hotels, Accor UK & Ireland said, “We are extremely proud of the locally inspired renovation of Mercure Exeter Southgate. It perfectly reflects the brands DNA to be in harmony with people and places. At all points in the hotel, the design reflects Exeter’s rich heritage. This is the third flagship Mercure hotel we have opened in the UK following Mercure London Bridge and Mercure Burford Bridge hotel and we are very excited to be doing it in the South West.”
Fiona Dardé, General Manager for the Mercure Exeter Southgate hotel said: “We pride ourselves on providing our guests with the perfect mix of style, comfort and city centre convenience. Initial feedback from guests has been brilliant and we look forward to welcoming more to our hotel.”