VALUE: £4 million
DURATION: 8 months

Extensive refurbishment to transform a disused hotel into a new Thistle Express

We transformed a Luton hotel into a brand new Thistle Express Hotel – the first of a new generation of hotels from glh Hotels. The 10-storey hotel in Luton had been closed for a period of time before being taken over by current owner glh Hotels.

The extensive £4 million refurbishment designed by architects Unwin Jones Partnership, and carried out by Novus Property Solutions, brings the interior, which was designed by Faber Design, in line with the new Thistle Express branding with a striking lime green and grey colour scheme. The very first hotel in the new style, the Thistle Express in Luton will be used as a benchmark of quality for other hotels in the chain.

During the eight-month project, a team of up to 40 operatives from Novus’ National Projects office carried out extensive upgrades to the full M&E infrastructure of the existing hotel building, which was also re-roofed using the innovative Triflex system. The team refurbished all 152 bedrooms, corridors, and ancillary areas as well as reconfiguring some public areas to create a brand new breakfast room, kitchen, and communal area.

As well as the complexities of the project itself, Novus also had to overcome a number of unusual access issues. Gaining access to some of the building’s external elevations proved challenging Novus employed the services of a specialist company which used abseiling techniques to carry out the works without compromising the agreed schedule.

As there were no existing internal lifts available Novus installed an external hoist and scaffold arrangement and took out one window on each floor to allow for access to all floors throughout the project.

Jeremy Ford, strategic operations manager at Novus Property Solutions said: “As well as the technical challenges this project involved, we were also mindful of the hotel’s neighbours. We hand delivered pre-start letters introducing ourselves and explaining the various elements of the project and have kept up regular communication throughout. The fact that we haven’t had a single complaint from any of the local residents is a testament to the care and attention taken by the team throughout the project.”

The Thistle Express in Luton is the first hotel which we’ve completed with the new branding and design, so it was important to get it right. We’re pleased with the stylish new look and will be using Luton as the standard for the Thistle Express brand going forward.

Paul Phillips, property director at glh Hotels

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