Major Expansion of the Balmer Lawn Hotel
The Balmer Lawn Hotel Refurbishment 2020 is in full swing. The venue has submitted a planning application to the New Forest National Park Authority. This scheme covers the following additional facilities;
- 38 Additional en-suite double/twin bedrooms, good sized rooms with lots of natural light. Garden access and seating area for the ground floor rooms and balconies to the first-floor rooms. With views over the grounds they will be a great addition to the stock of New Forest Hotel bedrooms.
- There will be a new garage block accommodating 8 car parking spaces on the ground level and 6 double staff bedrooms on the first floor.
- The Beaulieu function room will be expanded from its current capacity of 120 to 240. This will enable the Hotel to compete effectively with the larger hotels in the New Forest and enable us to attract business that currently cannot be accommodated in the New Forest that is going to Bournemouth, Southampton and Winchester.
- Environmental impact considerations have been built into the scheme with a living roof plus solar and photovoltaic panels to reduce energy consumption. There is also an extensive landscaping and planting scheme including well over 100 new trees.
- During the works, we also intend to combine our Saltus Spa offering with that of our Leisure Club, currently these are separate and additional facilities such as a steam room and hydrotherapy will be added.
- The scheme will create a one-way traffic flow around the Hotel making it much easier to get in and out of the property and to park with ease. By removing parked cars from the front elevation of the Hotel it will create a real “sense of arrival” with the main entrance being enhanced with a pedestrianised entrance and drop-off parking facility.
- Over recent years the New Forest has lost close to 100 hotel bedrooms with the closure of the Watersplash Hotel in Brockenhurst and the Lyndhurst Park Hotel in Lyndhurst plus others. The new 38 additional bedrooms at this iconic property will go some way to replace these.
- The Hotel currently employs 60 full-time staff, this will increase to 72 and seasonal staff will increase by around 10 employees in the summer period.
The owners Chris and Alison Wilson along with their General Manager Michael Clitheroe have been working on the scheme for nearly 2 years and working closely with their Architect Steve Sherlock have created an attractive two storey building that uses a lot of natural materials and will enhance the look and feel of the Hotel. The scheme allows for many new private terraces to the function rooms and Saltus Spa and the landscaping incorporated a dry riverbed feature and forest play area for younger children.
The Hotel is multiple award winning; recently awarded 4 silver stars with The AA and 2 Rosettes for great food. More recently in November 2019 the New Forest Business Partnership award for best in “Training and Development” and also winner of the “Business of the Year” award. This application is crucial to the long-term viability of the Balmer Lawn, with ever increasing pressure from rising costs the current size of the Hotel is not economically viable as a single unit. This development will secure the long-term sustainability of the Hotel, which has been in the Wilson family ownership for over 23 years.
Chris and Alison have invested heavily in the Hotel and are very proud of the continual improvements they have been able to achieve over their 23 years, but they believe that this is the next step to ensure the sustainability of the Hotel for the next 50 years. It will allow the Hotel to compete effectively with larger hotels and win new business that we have been unable to secure as we are just not large enough in terms of bedrooms and function space to accommodate.