Elegant overnight accommodation created by Stepnell for Leicester's historic Cathedral Quarter

A major conversion and refurbishment project completed recently by Stepnell for the Diocese of Leicester has created exceptional overnight accommodation for Leicester’s historic Cathedral Quarter.

Drawing on the company’s extensive leisure sector and conservation expertise, Stepnell carried out the complex conversion of a Grade II-listed former Georgian town house into St Martins Lodge.

The stunning building features 28 stylish en-suite guestrooms offering elegant accommodation in the Greyfriars conservation area, opposite Leicester Cathedral and near to the historic site where Richard III’s remains were found in 2012. It is also close to the St Martins House Conference Centre and wedding and events venue, which manages the property, and near to the city’s medieval Guildhall.

Working closely with Architects, Leicestershire-based Corporate Architecture and interior design specialists Faber Design, Stepnell has ensured the new overnight accommodation fully retains the authenticity and character of the existing architecture while meeting modern standards of comfort and energy-efficiency. The project’s success has since led to Stepnell securing further work for the Diocese.

The St Martin’s Lodge scheme involved the sensitive refurbishment of two former office buildings, including the creation of a penthouse extension and a new link between the two properties. The listed status of the former 18th century town house meant many original features – including internal cornices, ceilings and floors – needed to be retained and protected. Having worked extensively on projects involving the conservation and refurbishment of ancient buildings, Stepnell and the architect introduced a number of bespoke solutions such as the use of an acoustic wall system to reduce sound transfer while preserving the building’s historic fabric. Highly efficient, ultra-thin double glazing was fitted to improve insulation, at the same time respecting the design and integrity of the original window openings. Specialist traditional materials – such as lime mortar for external building repairs – were used to ensure the work complied fully with conservation requirements. Among the original features retained and showcased by the conversion is the striking hallway with imposing chandelier and staircase.

Stepnell regional director Thomas Sewell says: “We’re delighted to have had the opportunity to bring our expertise and experience to this exciting project for the Diocese of Leicester in such an important setting. Combining a sympathetic regard for the needs of this historic property with a technically innovative approach, our team, working closely with the design team, has delivered a conversion programme which respects the conservation needs of the building while creating spacious modern overnight accommodation in this superb location.”

Tony Matters, creative director at Faber Design, comments:  “It was a great opportunity for Faber to be involved in the creation of a landmark property in the historical and cultural epicentre of Leicester. The design fuses the historical character of the property with a contemporary concept that is fit for the 21st century.”

Following the success of the St Martins Lodge scheme, the Diocese, working with the same architect, has awarded Stepnell a second refurbishment project to convert three nearby buildings which will become the home of a new monastic community, the Community of the Tree of Life.

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