Residences At Elcot Park

Data sheet mockups with images and floor plans of country properties

Elcot Park – a luxury hotel in the heart of the North Wessex Downs

The Retreat at Elcot Park is a beautiful 18th-century country house now reimagined for the modern day as a luxury hotel. The hotel is situated between the towns of Hungerford and Newbury, amongst the rolling Berkshire countryside. The hotel is elegant and whimsical, with two restaurants, a spa and a hair and nail salon. The North Wessex Downs are renowned for excellent walking, horse racing, country pursuits like shooting and fishing, and a plethora of historic houses like Highclere Castle.

Within the hotel there are 55 bedrooms, and in 2022 the hotel launched The Residences, a collection of nine two-bedroom maisonettes which balance the fabulous amenities of a full-service hotel with the privacy and comfort of a private home.

The end goal of the design project was to stand out in comparison to the existing developer advertising.

CGI Image of brick building in park with trees

Fourwalls was initially approached to design a website and provide artistic drawings of The Residences; these were originally requested as watercolour-style sketches. Whilst we always try to accommodate client requests, we instead suggested our CGI visualisations – we have absolute faith in the value and ability of our CGI team and their photorealistic architectural visualisations. Buyers, even investment buyers are discerning, and the CGIs allow both technical accuracy in their presentation and can give a sense of lifestyle by controlling the light and tone of the image and having attention to detail in the landscaping – in this case the planted trees and natural woodland played a large part.  After some initial discussion and providing some examples, the client agreed that this could be something in which they would be interested.

During an on-site meeting with the client, our Creative Director, Tom Hancock was able to get a really good feel for the hotel – soaking up the atmosphere and gaining a fantastic visual reference for what the owners were trying to achieve with The Residences, as an extension of the hotel. He was shown the residential development (still a work in progress) and around the hotel itself. His overall impression was of a happy staff and clients, a trendy yet traditional design, and a well-curated atmosphere that wasn’t overwhelming – it was the perfect escape from the city, hence ‘The Retreat’.

After his tour, Tom was shown to the orangery where he discussed the vision of The Residences with the client. As a unique development that offered prospective buyers a chance to benefit from both the hotel amenities and their own private retreat, it was important to get all the details across in a succinct and uncomplicated fashion, as purchasers also have the option for a guaranteed income by working with the hotel to offer their residence for short let rentals. We were charged with selling not only The Residences but the lifestyle and opportunity as well. The Residences were to be bought without final finish, so the purchaser would have the opportunity to work with the hotel’s interior designer to decide upon final fixtures, fittings and furnishings. The client was keen to discuss the project with a design agency with a proven track record in property – they have marketing suppliers for the hotel but saw the benefit in experience.

A4 landscape magazine showing floor plans with black pages
  • CGIs: We were asked to create two CGIs and one CG photomontage. Tom suggested making the most of the setting and The Residences’ proximity to the hotel, as the properties are close but protected by some lovely trees. We sent one of our drone pilots to take some images that were then overlaid with the CG model of The Residences. We received the elevations and plans from the client, our 3D modelling team built the model which was then refined and finished by our CGI artists, and we selected the best angles which the client went with straight away. Often there can be a lot of back and forth, but there were no structural amendments, just minimal amendments to planting and the central tree in the courtyard.
  • Branding: We adapted the branding for The Retreat to create an identity for The Residences – this included colour palettes and not only changing the lettering but finding design motifs that could be used to bolster that identity. For the hotel the insignia is cleverly adapted where appropriate, for example for the spa one of the lions has a towel on its head. For The Residences we simplified this and focussed on the key as our main motif.
  • Floor plans: The floor plans for The Residences were accurately drawn by our CAD team from architect’s plans, then adapted and styled by the design team to fit seamlessly within the marketing pack.
  • Data sheets: We created twosided information sheets for each of The Residences which included a short introduction, indicative imagery and the floor plan.
  • Copywriting: Our copywriting team conducted an interview with the owners to understand the differences between The Residences and The Retreat, and the amenities of the hotel that would be available to those who purchase one of The Residences. The owners were very forthcoming with information, which is always a bonus! We were able to get a real feel for the property and the tone of voice that was required via a telephone interview and follow up via email.
  • Brochure: Our design team created stunning brochure layouts to showcase the CGIs, bespoke map, stock imagery (which we sourced), hotel imagery that was indicative of a residence rather than a hotel (which were selected from a client-supplied repository), floor plans, and ultimately provide clear channels for registering interest. After design completion, additional (and more technical) stakeholders in the project sent over a lot more information about the building spec and specifics about the financial opportunity. We decided that rather than expanding the aspirational brochure in an extremely dry way without really adding to the user journey, we would produce a second ‘brochure’ called ‘The Details’. The idea was that this could be shared with qualified and interested parties once the ‘why’, story and vision of the development had been sold.
  • Website: The website showcased all the created content but with a specific design and focus. The website is reminiscent of The Retreat website but stands alone and has been designed to funnel on all pages into the ‘contact us’ section to register interest and enable successful lead conversion. Because of the nature of websites, we were more easily able to contain the content from both brochures.
Aerial CGI Image of brick building in park with trees 2

The Results

Both Fourwalls and the client were happy with a successful project: the content created was of our usual high standard and we met the brief as requested. The website was successfully launched on time (within approximately seven weeks) and within budget. This was another example of our very personal services working at its best: the entire project was personally account managed by one of our project managers (in this case, Tom Hancock), who was available at the end of the phone and email to contact for queries. This relationship is augmented with contact from our CGI manager for CGI queries and interview by our excellent copywriting team. All the design is done by our in-house team, including the web development – we don’t outsource any of our work.

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