Honouring the past, preparing for the future: The Cottage Hotel

Posted by David Small

Britain is a treasure trove of spectacular holiday destinations - none more captivating than the Cottage Hotel in Devon. With centuries of history behind it, and an £8 million refurbishment in progress, hotel management turned to Redwell to provide a heating system for its sea-view bar…

The Cottage Hotel sits on a bluff overlooking Hope Cove - a cosy stretch of beautiful Devonshire coastline. The building has been there since the end of the 19th century but opened its doors as a guesthouse in 1927 to let visitors enjoy the idyllic bay inlet, beach and the surrounding countryside. The hotel represents a bygone era: grand sun terraces, indulgent lounges and service which is hard to find elsewhere.

A maritime tradition

Britain's seaside heritage is a part of our culture that deserves to be preserved - something the Cottage Hotel's owners were very aware of going into their refurbishment. In the decades it has been open, nothing has played a bigger part in the hotel's appeal than the sea: fishermen have trawled Hope Cove bay for centuries while guests have been swimming in its stunning blue waters since the hotel opened. The ocean has provided its share of drama, too: amongst numerous wrecks, in 1936 a clipper named the Herzogin Cecilie ran aground off the coast of South Devon. Salvaged by locals, parts of the wreckage made their way to the Cottage Hotel - and were used in the construction of a small room just off the hotel's bar. In fact, some of the oldest 'regulars' still remember viewing the Cecilie's wreck as children.

The importance of seafaring tradition to the hotel is clear and as part of the refurbishment the owners decided they wanted their bar to have a 'maritime theme'. They started by using part of the hull of a local fishing boat to construct section of the bar - but realised there was also an opportunity to have their new heating system itself play a part in the thematic effect.

Cottage Hotel Redwell GB Infrared Heating System

Snapshots of history

Redwell's private print panels ticked all the boxes for the heating needs of the hotel: efficient and precise (very useful in a changeable coastal climate) they can also be installed discreetly against walls, creating more space for guests and customers. But our infrared panels held another advantage: they could contribute to the maritime atmosphere of the bar - thanks to their potential for customisation.

The panels, which were installed against the walls of the bar, were supplied by Redwell South West, each featuring bespoke printed artwork of some of the dramatic events which gave Hope Cove its place in history. The prints include the famous wreck of the Herzogin Cecilie and another of the crew of the Tajandoen: forty survivors rescued from their torpedoed ship by local coast guards... but then wrecked again off Hope Cove. The surviving Tajandoen crew actually stayed in the Cottage Hotel and had their picture taken by its fireplace - the very scene depicted by the panel print! While delivering warmth to the bar area, each infrared panel also contributes to the identity of the hotel, by delivering a snapshot of the past.

Cottage Hotel Redwell GB Heating System

More than just energy efficiency…

The Cottage Hotel demonstrates not just the flexibility of infrared heaters but their power to enhance and enrich their environments. Infrared panels have overt associations with technology and energy efficiency, but it's worth remembering how they can work with their surroundings to impressive artistic and even cultural effect. While the incorporation of heating system is often a source of annoyance for interior designers, in the Cottage Hotel, our infrared panels became an essential part of the room.

Maritime heritage is in the DNA of the Cottage Hotel and by working with the owners, learning about the building's identity and its history, we were able to help that tradition endure long into the future.