Gravetye Manor Hotel Restaurant

Client: Gravetye Manor/Saphos Hotels
Architect: Charles Knowles
QS: Listers Chartered QS
Engineer: Campbell Reith
M & E: Michael Popper
Value: £3,300,000
Programme: 30 Weeks


This project was procured on a 2-stage negotiated basis using the JCT ICD and required our project team to assist in the design process across an 8-month period prior to construction commencing on site at this Grade I-listed and four-red-AA-star, 17-bedroom Relais & Chateaux hotel.

The project involved the stripping out of a patio and planted area, followed by the demolition of the basement areas below. Further excavations followed to provide an enlarged basement and ground floor restaurant, featuring floor to ceiling glass walls which provides uninterrupted views of the hotels 35 acre listed gardens designed by William Robinson, the owner of Gravetye Manor from 1884 until his death in 1935. Our client had very specific time constraints as the hotel was closed during these major works, requiring the work to commence in January and be completed by mid-May.

Access was difficult and a 350 tonne crane was used to lift all plant, materials, spoil and the like around, rather than over this Grade I listed building.

In order to meet the programme requirements the building was designed and products measured and manufactured prior to commencing work on site. Careful procurement was required to ensure that our supply chain could comply with the programme and the quality of product that was required. A new sub-station and backup generator was also installed. The basement comprised precast waterproofed concrete wall panels, lifted around the building and insert-ed into position. A steel structure supported precast wide-span floor panels and the glass walls to the restaurant were premeasured with fine tolerances to fit the precisely constructed steel frame.

High quality finishes, including banquette and free-standing seating is surrounded by bespoke artwork, reflected the natural theme of the gardens completing the contemporary redevelopment of the Michelin starred restaurant. In addition to the major building work, various other works were undertaken including the striping out of the commercial kitchen, reconfiguration and refurbishment followed by the installation of new kitchen facilities including induction hobs and ovens.

“With a difficult time-frame Pilbeam did an excellent job. They managed the project well liaising with myself and the team. The two managers Glen and Tom were outstanding from the start and very accommodating to our requirements.”

Andrew Thomason FIH Managing Director, Gravetye Manor

“This is an exceptional scheme… To complete quality works such as this within four months is amazing… Traditional lead roofing and battened maple ceiling is a fine example of good craftsmanship… This scheme was perfect, truly inspiring and at one with its spectac-ular setting… Not only a great piece of contemporary architecture, but also an enhancement to the original building and landscape”.

A quote from one of the judges in the Mid Sussex Design Awards.