This section is from the book "Modern Buildings, Their Planning, Construction And Equipment Vol6", by G. A. T. Middleton. Also available from Amazon: Modern Buildings.
As an example of a great modern hotel we may take the "Piccadilly" (Fig. 15), now in course of erection from the designs of Messrs. Wm. Woodwar, F.R.I.B.A., and Walter Emden, M.S.A., acting as joint architects so far as the plan is concerned; while the elevations are the work of Mr. R. Norman Shaw, R.A. The site is a large one, facing Piccadilly on the south and the quadrant of Regent Street on the northeast, while it is also bounded by Vine Street and Piccadilly Place on the west, and Air Street on the east, though it is irregular in outline along these frontages. It was naturally desired to introduce as many shops as possible, and consequently all the important street frontages are given up to them, except for comparatively small portions devoted to the hotel entrances.
Vine Street, being a side street, is utilised for the staff and goods entrance, and the main kitchen is placed there on the ground floor. The shops are all of two storeys above the pavement, these ranging with one floor of the hotel, and similarly they have entresol basements. The hotel proper has main entrances to the great thoroughfares of Piccadilly and Regent Street, the former leading to a large entrance hall and the latter to a foyer or circular hall, each complete in itself, with grand staircase, office, and lifts serving all floors for passengers. The luggage lifts only occur behind the office on the Piccadilly side. From both foyer and hall there is access to a large lounge, the great meeting-place of the hotel, and from this there is an axial entrance to a restaurant, which can be also reached independently from Piccadilly Place, and is therefore capable of being used by other than hotel resident without necessarily entering the hotel. The kitchen adjoins this restaurant, and contains a large number of lifts, from which many floors can be served, similar lifts being also placed in the wine servery and pastry kitchen; for there is a complete kitchen establishment both on this floor and in the basement, communicating by means of a stair at the corner between Vine Street and Piccadilly Place, and consisting on each floor of kitchen, pantry, wine service, pastry kitchen, and stillroom. At first sight the plan appears to be exceedingly complicated, this being due to the arrangement of the shops round the borders of the site and of the hotel within.
The basement plan shown in Fig. 16 is very similar to that above it, but somewhat larger, as cellars are carried beneath the pavements both of Piccadilly and of Regent Street, while it is bounded by enormously thick retaining walls. As has already been said, there are entresol cellars between this floor and the ground floor beneath all the shops, the spaces beneath these being here given up partly to cellars and storerooms and partly to a series of separate servants' halls for the waiters, porters, and women servants, and to two billiard-rooms. The main staircases are both carried down to this floor, and open, the one into a circular lounge beneath the foyer, and the other into a smoking lounge underneath the entrance hall, from which grill and dining-rooms are reached, served by kitchens similar to those on the upper floor, and accessible also by stairs from the Vine Street entrance. Another staircase will be noticed near the cloak-rooms on the Piccadilly side. This forms an additional entrance for non-residents to the grill-room from Piccadilly, while it is carried down yet another floor to a large Turkish bath which occupies a sub-basement. Almost all of this is artificially lighted, and consequently the architects had a comparatively free hand in the planning, the great features of which are the service corridors.
It will be noticed that, except that this is on a larger scale and for a different class of customer, there is much the same tendency to provide for non-resident lunchers and diners as there is in the larger city public-houses, and similarly the rooms are all of considerable size and luxuriously appointed, with the additional conveniences of large lounges and halls, more exclusively for the use of residents.
Fig. 17 illustrates the first-floor plan, which it will be seen is more completely that of a residential hotel. The Regent Street frontage is even here occupied by the upper storeys of shops, but the Piccadilly and Vine Street frontages are given up to suites of rooms, generally arranged so that they can be let off in pairs or groups, a sitting-room and bedroom being usually grouped together, it being always possible to open communicating doors if desired. These suites are complete, each sitting-room and bedroom being provided with separate cupboards and separate bathrooms, all properly lighted from the exterior, while the bedrooms have standing washing basins. These rooms, occupying the exterior of the site, are all reached by internal corridors, which are lighted from large wells which also provide top light to the dining-room on the ground floor. The Air Street frontage is given up to drawing and reading-rooms, while the interior is devoted to hotel dining and coffee-rooms, served mainly from the kitchens on the lower floors, and having here only a service kitchen communicating by means of lifts with those below. There are also several service lobbies, pantries, etc., the general idea being to obtain ample internal communication, by means of which the servants can easily reach all parts without unnecessary interfering with the guests.
The same tendency to provide suites rather than single bedrooms is to be seen in the upper floors, of which that shown in Fig. 18 may be taken as a type. In many cases it would be possible here to provide groups of three or four, or even as many as six rooms, which would practically be independent residences within the great hotel, showing in a striking fashion the tendency at the present day to follow the American manner of hotel rather than home living. This floor is planned on the direct central corridor system, with two such corridors radiating from the main staircase, while the lift service is remarkable for its completeness. Similarly, the way in which all parts can be reached by the servants from the back entry from Vine Street, by means of the stair which runs up and down from the goods entrance shown in that position in Fig. 15, is worth noticing. On these upper floors, by means of enlarging the areas, it has been possible to obtain external lighting to all the rooms, though the corridors will to a certain extent have to depend on electricity even here. There are no great general reception-rooms, and the need for them scarcely exists so much in a hotel of this character as it does where the guests are provided only with private bedrooms and not with private sitting-rooms also. This is an American idea rather than an English one, but it appears to be becoming general, and doubtless future hotels of the larger character erected here will be upon this system, unless it be found to pay better to provide somewhat large bedrooms which can be utilised for sitting-room purposes also, as is commonly done upon the continent. There is no stinting of room, but plenty of space is given to provide comfortable and even luxurious apartments for which a high rent can be charged.
Boarding houses lie midway between private houses and hotels, and so may perhaps be best considered in this chapter; an example being illustrated in Fig. 19, which represents the Eversleigh Boarding House or Private Hotel, at Seaford, designed by Mr. J. W. B. Blackman. Intended for erection on a sea frontage, the rooms are naturally arranged with a large amount of window space, and on the upper floors with balconies. The ground floor is a somewhat curious combination of hotel and private house, with an office close to the entrance and a smoking-room carefully arranged in an almost detached position. The kitchens are large and give ready access both to entrance and to dining-room, while the bedrooms on the upper floors are so arranged as to be let out either singly or in groups for families. On the top floor the division is carried so far that bedroom No. 18, intended for the proprietor, has doors opening on to two corridors, one apportioned to guests and the other reserved entirely for the servants.