Chewton Glen Tree House Suites

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Chewton Glen Tree House Suites

Tree House – Hotel & Leisure

Location: Hampshire

Form Of Contract: Design

Blue Forest were approached by Chewton Glen Hotel to assist with the design of six distinctive, luxurious and sustainable Chewton Glen tree house suites to be built within a woodland area of the hotel grounds.

The design brief was to provide additional accommodation for the hotel that is more focussed on the family market, create a unique visitor experience, be as environmentally friendly as economically feasible and also to create a scheme that would be considered an appropriate form of development having no detrimental impact on the character of the landscape and heritage value of the hotel’s New Forest surroundings.

The woodland lodge design is based around Blue Forest’s famous tree houses and was chosen by the Hotel because it was so unique and appealing to a number of markets. The tree house suites have a natural organic shape, which maximises the relationship between the inside spaces and their natural woodland setting.

Each of the Chewton Glen tree house suites are supported on stilts and accessed from the woodland via a decked walkway. The open balcony on the western side of the tree houses provide excellent views over the valley and the natural surroundings, including the Chewton Bunny stream creating a unique sense of place for guests, very different to that provided in the main hotel building. The tree houses are predominantly oriented towards the west due to the natural orientation of the valley and the need to take advantage of solar gain (radiant heat produced from the sunshine). Although the tree houses are situated amongst the trees, they are positioned sensitively to be independent of the tree trunks and canopies.

“The look and feel will be that of a ‘lily pad’ floating in the Chewton Bunny valley, which runs down to the Solent coast,” explained Chewton Glen’s managing director, Andrew Stembridge.

Externally the tree houses have a simple, rustic woodland appearance, coupled with high quality detailing and innovative craftsmanship to produce the uppermost level of finish, in keeping with the hotel’s world-class reputation. This appearance is achieved through the heavy use of locally sourced and natural materials. Combining these materials gives the tree houses an elegant yet natural finish and ensures that the structures blend in seamlessly with their surroundings. The combination of these neutral colours and textures also breaks up the outline of the buildings making them less noticeable.

Each 140m2 (approx. floor space) tree house suite incorporates two double bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, a small kitchen, an open plan living space and an entrance lobby. Two of the tree house suites feature separate ‘tree house pods’ that  include an additional bedroom and en-suite bathroom, totalling approx 33.5 m2.

Tree houses offer an advantage over more traditional ground based constructions as they require minimal foundation work and create little disturbance at ground level, therefore minimising the impact of the development on the surrounding environment. The tree house suites are supported using a system of ‘lightweight’ supporting pillars, which minimise the building’s physical presence. Before construction began ecological surveys were undertaken for badgers, bats, otters, water voles and reptiles. The surveys concluded that the site contains some foraging and refuge potential for reptiles in the form of scrub, unmanaged grassland and natural vegetation and woodland habitat. Despite the low impact of the scheme in terms of physical works proposed, a comprehensive mitigation strategy was completed to ensure the likelihood of causing harm to the surround flora, fauna and wildlife habitat was as low as possible.

Blue Forest are delighted to have offered our services as design consultants for the new tree house suites. The scheme re-defines the traditional image of a country-house hotel, forming an essential element of the hotel’s need to re-brand and diversify it’s business to respond to a changing economic environment. As well as giving Chewton Glen a new story they conjure a sense of excitement and adventure and will ensure that the hotel continues to be the “jewel in the crown” of both the New Forest and Southern England.

The new tree house suites have already captured the imagination of the design & travel industries both in the UK and internationally winning the Bloomberg International Hotel Awards in the categories of Best Hotel Architecture & Best Small Hotel Construction & Design.

“The Blue Forest scheme was innovative from the outset and was particularly desirable because it was so unique and appealing to a number of markets.”

Andrew Stembridge, Managing Director, Chewton Glen Hotel & Spa

“These new treehouse suites have already captured the imagination of the travel industry both in the UK and internationally… As well as giving Chewton Glen a new story they are also making the bottom line even healthier with an anticipated payback of only five years.” 

Andrew Stembridge, Managing Director, Chewton Glen Hotel & Spa

Awards

  • UK Hotel Awards: Best Hotel Architecture
  • UK Hotel Awards: Best New Small Hotel Construction Design
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