The new-look Mercure at London Bridge has been redesigned by French-based W&CIE and will serve as the brand's UK flagship.
Jonathan Sheard, Mercure Northern Europe SVP said the idea behind the new relaxed and more homely design was to create 'harmony' between guests and staff, particularly with its new approach to guest welcome.
Traditional reception desks have been removed with staff members greeting guests with tablet computers to conduct an e-check-in. Guests will have two options for check-in - a high reception desk for guests who want to check in and out quickly and a low 'host' table for guests with more time.
Public areas have also been redeveloped with lounge and work spaces including blackboards for guests to use for work and play and dining and drinking options have been overhauled. Free Wi-Fi is also installed throughout the hotel.
“The new design expresses the spirit of the Mercure brand," said Sheard. "All the elements from the host tables to the feature wall create a space that allows for a harmony between our guests, our staff and the local area.
“Following a recent study we conducted with Ipsos Mori, it challenged us to rethink the way we welcomed guests. That is the reason why we took a direction to give genuine hospitality from the moment you book a Mercure hotel. We have focused on the guests’ arrival and worked on the lobby design to ensure our team could give a warm, genuine personal Mercure welcome.”
The new design is revealed as the French-based company reveals plans to ramp up expansion of its Mercure brand. The operator currently has 73 Mercure hotels in the UK and more than 700 worldwide. It is expected to open another 53 this year and will add at least another 250 by 2018.
Accor chief executive Yann Caillère said: “Mercure is essential for the group’s expansion particularly driven through franchises and managed hotels. The brand is now opening a new page in its history. Thanks to the work carried out in partnership with our franchisees and to its powerful distribution, Mercure is increasing its attraction for hoteliers and guests alike and injecting new impetus, modernity and innovation into midscale hotels.”
Caillère said expansion would mostly be through franchises after it announced last year it would be aiming to become more 'asset light' and operate 80 per cent of its portfolio, which includes the Novotel, Ibis and Sofitel brands, under franchise or management agreements by 2016.