After plans for a hotel on University Park Campus were announced in 2010, the completion date for the project is now in sight.

The University Park Hotel, or the Orchard Hotel as it will be known, is adjacent to the East Midlands Conference Centre, and will provide 202 rooms for conference delegates meeting next door. But more relevant for many of the students on campus, the hotel will also be opening its doors to university visitors, including good old mum and dad.

Before the hotel, visitors to University Park have been limited to few options for a bed for the night. Guest rooms in halls of residence start from a minimum of 5 nights stay, so campus dwellers have not always had a great deal of choice for their fleeting weekend guests.

Although it would seem that the Orchard Hotel has been created with business workers primarily in mind, with an executive lounge and multiple boardroom style meeting rooms providing an obvious attraction to businesses, the majority of the offered accommodation is non-executive, and the University of Nottingham Press Office has placed emphasis on the fact that the hotel will “provide accommodation for visiting students, lecturers and parents as well as business travellers.”

RHWL Architects have designed the new building with the natural beauty of University Park campus in mind. The ‘ripple structures’ have been designed to blend in with and recreate the rolling hills of the surrounding landscape. The floor-to-ceiling windows will provide views of campus and make the most of natural light, which will also help to reduce the energy usage, earning the Orchard Hotel its title as the £20m eco-friendly hotel.

The completion date has already been pushed back from the original aim of Summer 2012 to November, yet DeVere Venues, who will operate the hotel once it opens, seem so confident about meeting the deadline that they have an operating countdown marking each second closer to Orchard Hotel’s opening.

Lorna Stone

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