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NoiseMatters - News

Hotels: From the sublime... to the standard

Planning: Hotels

Rudding Park

AAD's flexibility means they can provide acoustic consulting support tailored to world-class hotels including Rudding Park, as well as to budget brands including the first to launch in the UK - Travelodge.

Rudding Park, on the outskirts of Harrogate, is a Grade 1 listed Georgian house; it and the surrounding estate was bought by a local businessman many years ago, since which time it has been developed into a major complex, with an exclusive golf course, a holiday park and the hotel. Each year Harrogate hosts an international business conference and the key speakers, who have included Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Desmond Tutu, all stay at Rudding Park; photographs of these dignitaries are proudly displayed in the bedroom corridors.

Rudding Park Hotel comprises the original house plus an extension that was built of the same stone in the same style. AAD were appointed to support the new extension wing project, which is the fourth phase of an ongoing expansion programme. The new wing comprises 48 contemporary new bedrooms, a new spa, and a health complex. Guest bathrooms are about twice the normal size and with this in mind, particular attention was paid to ensuring that the shell of the bathroom and its floor were designed to minimise structure-borne sound transmission.

It also includes luxury Suites, comprising three or four rooms which can be linked together by one outer door; they can be reserved, individually or combined, to suit senior politicians/statesmen including support staff. Security specialists were also retained to work with the design team in supporting the scheme.

Rudding Park Hotel's owners are hands-on; with very high standards to preserve. Acoustic design standards are no different, where performance demands are substantially higher than minimum building control standards for sound insulation between rooms. Such attention to detail allows guests to remain isolated from noises including adjacent room light switch or plug socket uses; all electric sockets are thus either acoustically isolated or are the touch sensitive type. To minimize corridor noise intrusion very substantial doors are specified throughout.

As there is a gym on the ground floor, it was necessary to ensure that working-out noise didn't affect guest rooms above. There is also an intimate 14-seat cinema at one end of the ground floor, which is associated with one of the guest suites. This is fitted out with a high-end sound system and, as it sits directly beneath a luxury Suite, the cinema is robustly isolated. The hotel's facilities are also perfectly designed to be used by leading sports clubs when staying in the area, with the cinema offering an eminently suitable space for team meetings.

Travelodge

At the other end of the spectrum to Rudding Park is budget hotel brand, Travelodge, who, have relied upon AAD's capability and experience for many years. Travelodge procure hotels in two ways: although they buy and develop hotels themselves, more usually they will lease hotels from developers. Travelodge's acoustic performance standards (drafted several years ago by AAD external consultant Mark Bishop) impose particular requirements, including external noise intrusion obligations as well as room to room privacy for separating floors and walls. Although a budget brand, Travelodge have well researched and particular acoustic performance standards; as many Travelodge sites are now at inner city locations, external noise must be controlled to allow guests to be able to sleep at night. That requires a robust understanding of the local environment together with related glazing specifications, including the type and rating of ventilation systems and apertures.

If the hotel is acquired through a developer-led scheme, the developer may retain AAD to support the scheme. Where developers retain an alternative consultant, applicable reports are more often than not referred by Travelodge to AAD for comment and review. Should AAD will find any matters arising, developers are thus able to revisit their scheme proposals at an early stage.