When Hotel Indigo and Marco Pierre White Steakhouse open their doors this spring, it will be cause for cheer.
They promise a boutique style and city restaurant vibe that’s tricky to find elsewhere in this historic city.
This is largely thanks to the rather fabulous building that the hotel and restaurant will inhabit. The Old Shire Hall in Old Elvet will dip into glamour after a history as council chamber, university offices and latterly a Lumiere canvas.
The property is deserving of its new public showcase. The stunning red-brick building built in 1895 is packed with impressive period features of its late-Victorian, early Edwardian times.
Already well-preserved, they form the character of what will be an 83-bedroom hotel with feature rooms, many of which overlook the city’s castle and cathedral.
Parquet floors, oak panels, distinctive Arts and Crafts stained glass windows, marble columns and decorative tiling fill the public areas and the maze of corridors. At every turn there is detail to make you gasp.
From Old Elvet the grand entrance to the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse leads to a bar and the restaurant itself – which is a dramatic centrepiece.
The domed room was once a council chamber with a grand viewing gallery. It has stunning plasterwork and detailed panelling creating an enticing dining space.
Putty-coloured leather banquette seating is framed by ornate cornicing and warm wood panelling.
Bedrooms offer a nod to Durham’s university life with collegiate themes: you’ll find chemical symbols on cushions, sporting crests and even a microscope by way of accessories. Characterful period travel prints of Durham line the walls.
It’s all about bringing the locality into the life of the building says Luke Balcombe, business development manager.
“The neighbourhood story is massive to what we do and this building is greatly loved.”
The team has worked with local suppliers for everything from popcorn snacks in the bedroom to toiletries commissioned from Maddi Alexander, the North East premium beauty company.