A NEW luxurious city centre aparthotel has “raised the bar for accommodation in Chester”.
Exclusive by Gary Porter Chief Reporter | Chesterstandard |
That’s the belief of Max Walker-Williams – one half of the husband and wife team behind The Hotel Chester which is set to open its doors on Monday (April 12).
The Standard was given a tour of the highly-impressive, five-star premises on Newgate Street as the team carried out the finishing touches ahead of the eagerly-anticipated launch.
The Georgian townhouses, which were previously used as offices but had been vacant for several years ago, have been renovated and transformed into 12 uniquely-styled and themed apartments.
Developer Walker & Williams, founded by Max and with his wife Laura back in 2016, secured planning permission for the project two years ago.
The aparthotel, which provides self-contained, luxury accommodation but with the benefit of being staffed 24 hours a day, was due to open in January but those plans had to be put on hold due to the Covid lockdown.
Now, the once “neglected” building is finally set to open its doors to the city again and Max and his team – which includes operational director Ross Taylor and general manager Chris Mayles – are excited to see the reaction of the public.
Max, who lives in Preston with his wife and their three young children, said: “It’s a big investment for us and a big investment for the city. I really believe we’ve raised the bar for accommodation in Chester.
“Chester has always been one of mine and Laura’s favourite cities – we come here so much. We looked at about six or seven different sites over a 12-month period.
“They were either the wrong location or too small. Then we saw this and bought it in 2017 subject to planning permission, which we received in 2019.
“It hasn’t been a straightforward build. When you’re dealing with a building dating back to 1786 it isn’t going to be. It had been neglected.
“We can always do better but the teams have worked extremely hard on this project. I trust these guys completely – they’ve put a lot of time and effort into building a team and culture that will deliver the project the right way.
“I’m excited to see people’s reactions when they come to stay and experience it. Hopefully they see what we see.”
The Hotel Chester has created ten roles including reception staff and housekeepers, and estimates to have provided around 50 local jobs during the build as well using suppliers in the area.
Max is keen for site to become a big part of the city’s business community and plans to have local artists’ work on show and available to buy in the reception area, as well as having counter space for traders in the area to sell their products.
The business will also be making a donation to Chester Zoo for every booking made for its zoo-themed apartment.
“We can’t wait to be part of the community”, said Max. “Aparthotels are a really good catalyst for local businesses. We can point visitors in their direction.
“At the end of the day our success is linked. We want to support local businesses and the community. It’s not just lip service, I genuinely mean it.”
During the tour of the spectacular new premises, Max points out how the majority of the aparthotel’s impressive features and furnishings come from local, or UK-based, firms or tradespeople.
He has worked closely with his wife on the plans for the building, with him taking on the role of deciding the layout and Laura focussing on the interior design.
The result is 12 uniquely-themed apartments – Bouquet, Flamingo, Safari, Zoo, Emerald, Elegance, Secret Garden, Ralph, Knightsbridge, 1762, The Tree House and Money Penny.
Those scanning the website will notice there are no photographs of the Secret Garden as you are only allowed to see inside if you book.
Each of the apartments offer not only a different style but also layouts and facilities that suit all tastes – from business or family stays to a getaway for couples or friends.
Treats in store for guests include freestanding baths in some of the apartments, as well as a two person power jacuzzi with night sky views in the penthouse Safari apartment.
Max and Laura’s vision stems from their experience of hotel stays and want to offer something for everyone – even making one of the apartments pet-friendly.
The couple already had a thriving luxury house share business when they decided to branch out into developing aparthotels, with No.10 Preston their first site to open.
With a second premise operating in Preston, the Chester site will be the third to launch with one in Ormskirk on the way and a second building in the city overlooking the racecourse awaiting planning approval.
Max said: “I’m looking to eventually expand to 30 sites across the North West. We got very good at doing the luxury house share and we thought what else could we do in property – what do we think we can improve on?
“In the end we decided on hotel stays. We found a lot of hotels catered for couples. We have children and looked at what we would like as a family.
“We came up with No.10 Preston and it was niche – it worked. We are very much a family-orientated business on both sides of the counter.
“Our apartments are great for families but they also benefit couples and corporate clients too as they have a lot of room.”
For more information visit thehotelchester.co.uk