The Boat House pub’s £1.5 million hotel development launched last night, with most of the new rooms open for public bookings today. Courtesy of the pub we trialled out the rooms and enjoyed a breakfast next to the River.
The new complex has been swiftly built, with work beginning in October 2015. 8 new jobs have been created with 21 rooms making up the development. The rooms have a relaxed but stylish nautical theme. Port hole windows are used for the bathroom doors and the fittings reflect the city’s heritage and in particular, the history of the Chester Rowing Club. The steel framed structure was designed by Aldford based Lister-Carter. The location close to the river and park is likely to be popular, with manager Phil Murray explaining that races weekends were quickly being booked up.
Phil joined the Boat House in 2012. JW Lees had acquired the pub in 2009 and completed a major refurbishment. JW Lees are a family run brewery company founded in 1828 who manage 36 pubs and let 105 further pubs to self employed tenants. Phil is “very excited” about the new hotel which builds on the success of the floating beer garden which docked in the summer of 2015.
“Theres a lot of demand for accommodation by the river and even back in 2012 we were talking about submitting plans. In Chester the middle ground for hotels is thriving..” Part of the development will be housed in the former Oarsmen pub , which stood adjacent to the Boat House and until recently was used as a storage area. Of the room design he says that “we wanted it to work in a way where you would check into your room and then come down to the pub and you’d enjoy spending your time here. We didn’t want boutique rooms where you went off to somewhere else for dinner. We tried to get a carry over with the theme, with a rowing style in the bedrooms.”
Parking at the venue is moving to redeemable pay and display system Hotel guests can pay a small fee to secure a parking spot. Phil says that it’s a big change to go from Pub manager to hotel manager. Having worked in hotels before when he moved to Dutton’s wine bar he found it “weird to lock the doors in Duttons and know that, that was it until the next morning. A hotel is a living breathing place, there is always something going on in the rooms. There will be a manager staying over every night. ” Rooms are also expected to be in high demand during the annual run of the Theatre in the Park, with the pub championing the idea of “alternative theatre dining” from the new look streamlined summer menu.
Another positive change is that the pub will now be open early for breakfasts for non residents, wanting to enjoy the peaceful scenery of the River Dee.