An Interview With Our Interior Designer


When it comes to hotels in Cheltenham, Ellenborough Park has always stood out thanks to our incredible grounds and 5-star status. To further establish our reputation as one of the most desirable hotels, restaurants and wedding venues in Cheltenham, we recently underwent an extensive front of house refurbishment.

We caught up with our Interior Designer from ADS Design, Rachel Eaton, to discuss the recent renovation works and why guests will be impressed with our new look.

Inspiration & Heritage

When it came to designing the refurbishment, Rachel explains that functionality and appeal were at the forefront. “The main purpose of the redesign was to relocate the main entrance and enhance the guest arrival experience past the Great Hall, which is such an asset to the hotel.”

Not only does the new entrance provide better wheelchair access, it also marks a new chapter for our hotel. “The look and feel of the new design is also important as the aim is to enhance Ellenborough’s rich heritage, luxury image and widen guest appeal.”

Many guests will wonder if it is truly possible to balance the heritage of the house with modernity, but Rachel acknowledges that this was both a priority and a welcome challenge. “It is a very delicate balance. Being able to make a 5-star hotel such as Ellenborough Park function in a historic building means carefully considering the constraints of the location – our aim was to make sure that staff can service and move around the space efficiently. We detailed a new dispense bar at the back of the hotel to service just the restaurant as previously this was done from the main bar, this is a big improvement from a service point of view.”

To bring the inspiration behind the design to life, ADS Design worked with us to layer in a contemporary yet luxurious feel. “Some of the existing antique pieces have been kept or re-upholstered in Zoffany and Mulberry Home fabrics to give an eclectic, English grand country house feel that has been loved and lived in. The result is a comfortable cosseting environment.”

Embracing the Races & Negotiations

It is very rare for a project of this size to have no difficulties. Regarding the refurbishment, negotiations with English Heritage had been ongoing since 2014. Rachel explains that this was in relation to the new access into the bar from the atrium area. “It was essential to provide better movement of staff and guests on the ground floor but it meant the removal of some existing timbers and a new stair arrangement into the bar. ADS Design produced the drawing work and liaised with the planners to finally achieve this. Permission was also needed to construct the new glass screen between the new entrance lobby and the Great Hall which shows off this historic area of the hotel to its best.”

The new access to the bar makes circulation on the ground floor work much better and the beautiful panelled restaurant has a dramatic new carpet and new furniture and lighting. Owing to our close link to Cheltenham Racecourse, the home of jump racing, Rachel had something very special in mind when she was creating the Atrium. “We wanted the Atrium to reflect horseracing with a dramatic wall mural of Leonardo da Vinci’s diagrammatical horse sketches alongside leather upholsteries to enhance the equestrian feel.” The result? An outstanding space for everyone to enjoy.

Finally, we had to ask, what is Rachel’s favourite area that she created within the hotel? “My favourite area is the Atrium with its fantastic new cocktail bar ready for partying during Cheltenham Gold Cup week!”

If you are looking for a hotel in Cheltenham, then look no further than Ellenborough Park. Come and see our refurbishment for yourself and experience true luxury in a relaxed and welcoming environment.

If you book direct you will receive the best rates, so call us on 01242 545454, contact us or check availability here.

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