Sandy Park Hotel progressing as planned


By Mark Stevens

The new £35 million pound Sandy Park Hotel is progressing as planned, according to Exeter Rugby Club chairman and chief executive, Tony Rowe OBE.

Work on the state-of-the-art, 250-bed, eight-story development began in mid-January and is continuing apace, this despite the current coronavirus outbreak which has affected the daily workings of people across the world.

Major groundworks – including the foundations and pilings – have already been completed, as has a new drainage pipe under the M5 motorway, which will take rain water from the hotel and Sandy Park Stadium into the nearby River Clyst.

Later this month, the ring beam foundations on the development should also be finished, after which five months of steelworks will be erected, allowing people to see the true scale of the hotel, which is seen as the next stage in the development plans of Exeter's award-winning Sandy Park complex.

“Things are progressing well on the hotel, despite all that is happening elsewhere,” explained Mr Rowe. “The money we set aside for the hotel was secured and ring-fenced long before the coronavirus outbreak and we won’t be touching it.

“The work itself, however, is progressing as planned and a lot has happened already since we did the initial turf-cutting back in January. I’m pleased to say that we remain on plan to have the hotel open in late 2021 and that the project is still within budget.”

In addition to housing 250 bedrooms, the hotel situated off Old Rydon Lane will provide leisure facilities on the entry floor, which includes a lounge, a snack and coffee bar, as well as a purpose-built business centre. Also included in the designs, which have now been finalised, is a rooftop cocktail bar, together with a Fish & Steak restaurant that boasts picturesque views down the River Exe Estuary and towards Torbay.

“The design of everything has been finalised by a company in London and a lot of the fittingswe have chosen will be manufactured in Portugal and then fitted here by tradesmen from across the Westcountry,” continued Mr Rowe. “Over these next few weeks and months, people will really see the hotel start to take shape and that’s fantastic news for all of us.

“As I’ve said previously, our aim as a business is to have the premier Conference & Banqueting venue within the Westcountry and key to that is having this hotel built. We feel the new hotel will not only enhance the amenities here at Sandy Park, but within the city of Exeter as a whole.”

Coming under the worldwide Courtyard by Marriott brand, the four-star facility will also boast an impressive glazed bridge link to Sandy Park, whilst the basement of the hotel will provide spa and fitness facilities, including a sauna, steam room and gymnasium.

The rooftop restaurant is described as 'one of its kind for the area' and will provide a 'unique dining experience for guests and visitors', including two private dining rooms, serving locally caught fish from Brixham, prime Devon red beef, alongside other exquisite produce from across the region.

As well as helping to drive additional business towards Sandy Park Conference & Banqueting Centre during the week, the hotel will also be a welcome addition to supporters heading to the city for match-days involving the Exeter Chiefs.

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