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EXPERT REVIEW The airport hotel gets a stylish, and green, overhaul at this five-star in England's East Midlands, near Nottingham and the Peak District

Eco


Overall eco rating


This brand new opening in the UK uses super efficient building services powered by cutting edge green fuel (a residue from the food processing industry) making the building an exemplar in terms of resource consumption - it may be the lowest impact building in the UK according to the official energy performance rating system.

We’ll need to check back and see how well the technology works in practice and it’s still early days for the hotel to have initiated social and ecological programmes but the Radisson chain has Scandinavian roots and take these issues seriously.

  • Company has Scandinavian roots and was voted one of the top 10 most ethical companies in the world – all staff attend Responsible Business training and hotel will have a dedicated champion to develop this area
  • Restaurant attempting to source ethical animal produce – free range where possible and line caught fish
  • Heated, powered and cooled by a tri-generation system fuelled by pure plant oil (sourced as a residue from the food processing industry)
  • Carbon footprint modelled to be 88% lower than required under UK building regulations
  • BREEAM Excellent
  • Energy Performance Certificate of 2 – the greenest commercial building we are aware of in the UK (typical buildings have an EPC = 100)

  • The hotel has just opened and so it remains to be seen how they will go the extra mile to ensure the excellent green design of the hotel is carried through into operations

People

The hotel has not yet developed any noteworthy community or social programmes that we are aware of but it is located in a relatively prosperous part of the world meaning this area is less critical in our assessment.

  • Company has Scandinavian roots and was voted one of the top 10 most ethical companies in the world – all staff attend Responsible Business training and hotel will have a dedicated champion to develop this area
  • Preferential use of local suppliers
  • Great health club with pool, steam room and sauna – all powered by renewable energy

  • The hotel’s impact on the local community is low to date but it is a little early to judge – we have confidence that these guys will come up with something inspiring from the work across the group

Animals & nature

Given its location, there is not a great deal that the hotel is expected to achieve in terms of animals and nature and it is still early days for the hotel to develop any initiatives.

PETA assessment of cruelty free credentials of cleaning products and toiletries to come.

  • Restaurant attempting to source ethical animal produce – free range where possible and line caught fish

  • Hotel has not yet had time to develop any projects that go the extra mile to support local wildlife

Environment & buildings

It is the building's systems and the energy systems in particular that stand out at Radisson Blu East Midlands Airport.

The use of trigeneration will seriously reduce energy consumption and the fact that a renewable fuel source is used means lots of people will be keeping an eye on the emerging technology to see if it can be applied elsewhere.

It's not easy to achieve BREEAM excellent either (there are just 3 hotels in the UK that we know of) and this ensures a careful audit of the construction sustainability credentials (BREEAM does not consider social issues).

  • Heated, powered and cooled by a tri-generation system fuelled by pure plant oil (sourced as a residue from the food processing industry)
  • Renewable electricity produced earns ~£100-£150k per annum in credits
  • Clever control systems for fans and pumps, heating and cooling – lighting uses presence detection – very efficient heat recovery system reclaims heat from outgoing air – insulation 15% better than required
  • Close monitoring of energy performance and consumption through central Building Management System (BMS)
  • Carbon footprint modelled to be 88% lower than required under UK building regulations
  • Rainwater harvesting with 62.5m3 below ground tank – rainwater used for (dual) flushing toilets
  • Potable water conserved through percussion taps – close monitoring of water consumption through BMS includes leak detection
  • Use of sustainable construction materials
  • BREEAM Excellent
  • Energy Performance Certificate of 2 – the greenest commercial building we are aware of in the UK (typical buildings have an EPC = 100)
  • Above average recycling covers batteries and fluorescent lamps

  • As the hotel has just opened, many of the green credentials are still to be proved in operation

Reviewed by

Tim Starley-Grainger


Luxury


Overall luxury rating*


This business hotel in the middle of England has a surprising dash of boutique flair.

The scene

Minutes from East Midlands Airport, you're probably in this part of Britain for business or to visit the Peak District National Park or Nottingham and Sherwood Forest. The region isn't rewowned for luxury hotels, but the Radisson Blu Hotel could is easily swish enough to be in the middle of a major city. Most guests are here for business trips or conferences, but quite a few have brought their families with them, so it's not entirely filled with suits.

  • Minutes from East Midlands Airport in central England
  • The Peak District National Park is less than an hour away
  • Nottingham and Sherwood Forest around half an hour away
  • The surprisingly excellent National Space Centre is half an hour away
  • Other attractions within a one-hour drive include Alton Towers Theme Park, Donington Park Race Track, Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre
  • Filled with business people, many of whom have brought their partners or families, so a bit more relaxed than some business hotels

  • It's right by an airport and a motorway. The soundproofing is excellent, but the scenery immediately outside the hotel is blah.

The style

Honestly, once inside, you would not think this was an airport hotel. Even the exterior - glass, steel and granite, enveloped by two oval wings - is architecturally interesting, a change from the square-box airport-hotel model. But inside is where you notice the real difference, with the hand of a talented interior designer making its mark.

Sofas and modern wing-back chairs in muted pastels and plush fabrics invite guests to loosen their ties and kick off their heels. A planted green wall behind reception and bird motifs on throw cusions and wallpapers bring a touch of nature to the scene. Lighting it soft and natural from the glass walls and roof, with warm pendant lights adding a golden tone.

The bird theme carries through to the spa pool, with one wall covered in avian artwork, and the restaurant, where gold birdcage lamps are suspended over tables, filled with delicate and vibrant fake canaries and budgies. And on to the bedrooms, too, with one wall papered with an enormous photograph of a bird in the woods.

Other than the bird-papered wall, bedrooms are typical business five-star - supremely comfortable beds, mountains of enormous pillows, vast LCD TV, desk with all kinds of connection points, and a decent-sized whiter-than-white bathroom.

  • It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's a bird, and lots of them, with birdy decor here, there and everywhere.
  • The planted green wall behind reception isn't the only one here, but it's probably the only one you'll see, and it's brings a welcome touch of nature indoors
  • The lobby lounge sofas and chairs are warm and inviting, unusual for a business hotel
  • The restaurant bird-cage light pendants and high-backed chairs add a touch of glamour
  • Bedrooms are as you'd expect, but with a huge woodsy wall photo - a nice touch

  • Bedrooms have every expected five-star amenity, but feel very business-like
  • The restaurant and bar are well designed, but can feel empty and cold unless the hotel is quite full

The facilities

Unlike many airport hotels, the facilities here feel like those of a proper five-star city hotel - a spa with a pretty swimming pool, restaurant with modern European menu, lobby lounge with cocktail bar and plenty of meeting and conference rooms, if you need that sort of thing.

We loved the little spa. OK, it's not a destination spa, but the pool is softly lit, and there's a sauna and steam room to help you relax after a day of meetings or traipsing round the Peak District. And if you feel the need, you can have a decent workout in the gym.

When the bar area is busy, it's great to hang out, but it largely depends on how busy the hotel is. Post-work / pre-dinner is when it tends to be liveliest.

The menu at the Runway Brasserie shows far more inspiration than your typical airport eatery.

Great little spa, with 12.5m swimming pool, two treatment rooms and fitness centre

Lobby lounge with lots of inviting sofas and a cocktail bar

Restaurant serving accomplished modern European food

The buffet breakfast is excellent, with flaky pastries, all the Full English essentials, cereals, cheeses, salads, oysters and eggs made to order

The pool could be larger, but it's big enough for laps

Restaurant service could be a bit snappier. Few people were there on our visit, but it was still a touch slow

We love

The interior decor adds real design credibility

The bird-theme is sweet and perfectly judged, adding a welcome dash of personality - rare in business hotels

The spa is bijou, but well-equipped and lovely

You might not love

It's right by a motorway and an airport - but, thankfully, you don't really hear the planes from inside

Apart from the airport, you're far from restaurants, shops, etc

It's definitely a business hotel, so don't come here on your honeymoon

Reviewed by

Jill Starley-Grainger


Radisson Blu, East Midlands Airport

Herald Way, Pegasus Business Park, East Midlands Airport, England, DE74 2TU

UK
+44 (0)1509 670575

Standard room rates from £89

Eco

Luxury*

Interests

"The property's green credentials include innovative heating and cooling systems, rainwater harvesting and an Energy Performance Certification rating of two, making it the most efficient of Rezidor's portfolio of European hotels" Eat Out Magazine