High Street retailer Laura Ashley opens first hotel

UK: Fashion and homewares giant Laura Ashley has opened its first hotel, a 49-room property in Hertfordshire.

Laura Ashley The Manor is a conversion of a mock-Tudor mansion in Elstree, Hertfordshire. The company acquired the property from Corus Hotels in April 2012 for £5.8 million and spent six months renovating the building.

A Laura Ashley spokeswoman said was a showcase for its products as well as a commercial hospitality enterprise: “It’s a shining example of Laura Ashley. We have our catalogues in every room. It sells the design service and what you can achieve. We wanted to showcase the modern Laura Ashley through creating a light and contemporary interior. People don’t realise what we offer.”

The hotel, though eclectic in style, contains references to Laura Ashley’s signature floral prints, including a framed copy of the Pelham print – the first print Laura Ashley designed. The majority of products on show can be purchased in Laura Ashley’s retail outlets but there are certain items that have been specifically designed for the hotel.

The spokeswoman said the Laura Ashley hotel concept would be “very attractive” overseas – Laura Ashley operates in 28 countries.

Prices range from £150 for a standard room to £500 per night for the most expensive suite.

www.lauraashleyhotels.com

Editor’s Comment

Opening a hotel is a shrewd move by a retailer famed for its furnishings and homewares.

Hotel guests are often inspired by a property they love to bring some of the hotel’s feel to their own home – a process made much easier if the furniture, prints and wallpaper in question are all available under one roof in their local high street.

Laura Ashley has stores in 28 countries – don’t be surprised if The Manor is the first of many hotels trading under its brand.

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