Ben Russell, Chief Development Officer of Ennismorediscusses their vision to challenge the budget hotel industry and why Wood Wharf is the perfect location to do it.
The words affordable and luxury are uttered so frequently these days, it’s difficult to imagine a time when the two would have been seen as mutually exclusive. Businesses across several sectors are embracing the notion, promising aspirational experiences at pragmatic price points. Ennismore, the company behind The Hoxton Hotel and Gleneagles, is reimagining the budget hotel concept with a new offering: NoCo, set to launch at Wood Wharf.
Ben Russell, Ennismore’s Chief Development Officer, explains that the location in an area ready for a revival matches the company’s footprint with The Hoxton.
“We love to be part of the regeneration of an area, just like when we opened the Hoxton in Shoreditch while it was undergoing its transformation. We want to be ingrained in the fabric. That’s why Wood Wharf is a perfect platform for us to launch.”
With NoCo, Ennismore will take all of its successes with The Hoxton and create a similar proposition, but with a greater affordability, catering to creative, progressive and innovative businesses at a younger point in their mindset. The hotel will serve the neighbourhood through its public spaces and cultural programme.
NoCo will also experiment with a new concept in the UK, sharing a central space with third party operators which include a co-work office and gym. The idea is to create seamless multi-purpose spaces that enhance each, individually and as a whole, for workers, residents and guests at Wood Wharf.
Besides a beautiful lobby and great WiFi, NoCo will establish partnerships across the estate, including retail outlets. While hotel lobbies have become more like remote work spaces, the intention, Russell says, is for laptops to shut come 6pm transforming the environment into something more social.
NoCo intends to disrupt the budget hotel model, delivering good design, and quality essentials. Russell believes blending aesthetics with tech is the best way to meet consumer demand for form and function.
“NoCo is going to be stripped back. We’re just providing the beautiful essentials; nothing travellers don’t need. But we’re appealing to those who want more than just a generic experience. Rich fabrics and great lighting can create a beautiful product. State-of-the-art technology that’s app-driven can deliver a seamless guest journey from booking to check-in.”
The emphasis on everything you need, nothing you don’t, doesn’t mean NoCo will scrimp on the basics. Russell explains rooms will be furnished with high quality beds, but no TV’s on the walls. One consideration is an in-room projector for guests to connect devices. Rather than room service, an app will allow guests to pre-order meals at an on-site restaurant.
Unlike competitors hoping to exclusively cultivate well travelled millennials as clientele, Russell says NoCo is targeting a wider demographic. “We think a great experience shouldn’t be limited or exclusive. Good ideas should be broad, not select.”
Russell has big dreams for NoCo. He envisions NoCo not only at Wood Wharf but in other cities, with hopes of disrupting a market saturated
“We don’t understand why this can’t be applied across every aspect of the hospitality sector. We want to be more than just a bed. We want to challenge this.”
NoCo have leased
7 floors of 15 Water
Street, designed by
Allies and Morrison.
Interview by Amy Guttman