The first time I became aware of Birch in England was about 6 months ago when I was doing research for an article. I was immediately captured by the hotel’s refreshing approach to hospitality. Their interior is a unique blend of contemporary simplicity and good old-fashioned opulence; something that simply draws me in. Let’s take a closer look at this modern retreat just 30 minutes North of London.
Nestling inside a heritage-listed brick mansion from 1763 in the English town of Cheshunt lies Birch; a very modern hotel offering anything a millennial traveller could ask for. And yet, no TV’s or desks in the room, and a feeling of being thrown back in time. In the best possible way, that is.
First and foremost, Birch is a community. It encourages social interaction amongst guests, albeit not so much at the moment given the current circumstances – which is why there’s a wide selection of classes and workshops to take part in once you’re there. From bakery drop-in sessions and egg collecting with the local farmer to guided walks and film screenings. As stated on their website; Birch looks like a hotel but feels more like a festival.
The interior of this 18th century manor is carried out by the architectural studio Red Deer consisting of Ciaran, Lucas and Lionel – three friends with a passion for “unexpected forms”. I’ve come across them several times doing research, as they’ve done some absolutely stunning projects especially in London. Birch is the latest addition to their design portfolio.
What fascinates me is the hotel’s decision of challenging the traditional perception of luxury. One would imagine an old British manor to keep up a certain appearance, but quite on the contrary, Birch surprises with 140 rather stripped back guest rooms. Red Deer says; “For us, luxury comes from the creation of a meaningful emotional connection between the hotel guest and the space they inhabit.”
Old-school luxury is outdated and the future of hospitality has arrived. Comfort, community and creativity are the new buzzwords.
Guests can choose between four different room categories; Small, Medium, Bunk and Twin, and all of the rooms are designed to remove the pressures of daily life. Again, no clocks, screens or streaming services. One of the most luxurious things would probably be the beds, which are big and comfy.
Old wooden floors are mixing up with chandeliers, beach chairs, patchy plaster walls, mahogany panels and contemporary wooden dining chairs. All there to challenge and create balance. Red Deer commissioned local artists to create unique spaces throughout the hotel, which means not two rooms are alike. In my world, tapping into local life while dressing an old aristocratic lady in modern clothes is simply brilliant!
For more information, click here.
Photos by Adam Firman.