Flat Cap Hotels launches in the North of England

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Flat Cap's first opening: The Vicarage Freehouse & Rooms
Flat Cap's first opening: The Vicarage Freehouse & Rooms

Related tags: Hotel

A new four-star independent boutique hotel brand has launched in the North West of England, with plans to open five sites by the end of 2018.

Flat Cap Hotels will be a series of quirky, ‘destination’ sites in rural locations targeted at both the business and leisure market.

Initially opening venues in South Cheshire and North Shropshire, the brand is acquiring more assets with plans to expand in to Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire.

Co-founder Oliver Heywood told BigHospitality that each site would be ‘completely unique’ with historical prevalence in the local market, and be ‘near chimney pots and motorways but surrounded by countryside’.

Launch

The first hotel under the Flat Cap brand opened earlier this year, with plans for a second site to be acquired in late 2015.

The Vicarage Freehouse & Rooms, located outside the village of Holmes Chapel in Cheshire, is a 20-room hotel situated in a former 17th century vicarage.

A further 12 suites are set to open at the hotel later this year, while the library is able to accommodate up to 100 guests for a dinner or conference.

“It’s really quirky; every single room is a different design. The Vicarage bar is made from an alter from the old church,” said Heywood.

New executive chef Steve Tuke will be overseeing the food and beverage offering at The Vicarage and across the group.

Described as a ‘foodie hub’, the 100-cover restaurant serves a premium British focused menu with all produce sourced from suppliers within a 25 mile radius of the kitchen.

Eight different ales are available on draft, sourced from the local micro-brewery.

Market position

Heywood told BigHospitality the brand were creating a unique position in the current boutique market.

“In the past boutique was referred to as being high end, luxury, mainly five star offerings. With Starwood and Marriott branching out in to the budget boutique sector, we are setting ourselves up as a four-star brand but with a very strong food and beverage offering,” he said.

Flat Cap Hotels is the latest entry in to the expanding regional hotel market​. Growth in the sector is predicted to continue in to 2016 with occupancy set to reach a record 76 per cent over the next two years, according to PwC.

Related topics: Business, Venues, Hotels

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