Status: Listed Grade II
Location: University Rd, Leicester LE1 7RH Sleeps: various size rooms
Architects Sir Leslie Martin and Trevor Dannatt (refurbished Associated Architects 2013)
Grade II listed building packed with quirky design features that reflect its 1950s/60s origins
Recommended by Peter Lush: “A conference hotel originally built as a women’s hall of residence I think and very well adapted. Apart from being a pleasant place to stay around courtyards, it has a very good restaurant and is well placed for a look at Ernest Gimson’s houses in that area.”
Background to the building: Situated a mile from the University Campus, College Hall was designed by Leslie Martin and Trevor Dannatt as a quartet of brick two/three-storey buildings, a precursor to their Harvey Court Scheme in Cambridge. It opened as a women’s Hall of Residence, becoming mixed in 1970. It sat empty for 10 years before being transformed into a state-of-the-art conference venue and hotel. The £17million project, designed by Associated Architects of Birmingham and constructed by Wilmott Dixon won the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) East Midlands Regional Award for Building Conservation Project of the Year in 2014. Extensive discussions with the conservation department, Local Authority and Trevor Dannatt ensured that the refurbishment was respectful and complemented the surrounding area. The building incorporates18 conference rooms, 123 en suite bedrooms, restaurant, bar, private dining room and garden lounge.
Leslie Martin was a leading exponent of Modernism and, with Trevor Dannatt, created the master plan for the building programme at Leicester University. Trevor is a past President of the C20 Society and we were privileged to have him take us round the building on a C20 Society trip before the conversion.