East Kent College’s new hotel, The Yarrow, has been honoured in this year’s Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) awards for the South East, winning the prize in the commercial category.
The hotel, which opened to the public in July 2016, is the first in the UK to be owned and run by a further education college. The award highlights the strong design focus which went into redeveloping the building to provide a venue for trainees to work alongside industry leading professionals.
Commercial director Shane Godwin said: “It’s wonderful that The Yarrow’s innovation has been recognised with this award and really highlights the fact that East Kent College has succeeded in not only developing a wonderful environment for our trainees, but also a great hotel which can achieve on a commercial level.”
The concept for the hotel was developed after the college examined skills needs within the local economy, identifying a gap in high quality hospitality professionals. It worked with industry stakeholders to develop the plan, before commissioning Richard Hopkinson Architects to lead the design process.
Director Mr Hopkinson said: “The design solution overcame a number of challenges including repurposing of the listed building and creating an inspiring environment for both visitors and the students for whom the facility has been built.
“The place is more than a hotel, it provides a stage for the students to demonstrate their skills and the public to meet.”
The college has recently launched its new hotel management course, with The Yarrow playing a key role in helping to develop the hospitality stars of the future.
Principal of East Kent College’s Broadstairs campus Paul Manning said: “The Yarrow is an amazing resource for us to use to really ensure we are giving these trainees the best possible opportunity to be career ready. Our new hotel management course has been designed to help meet local skills gaps, so the college can continue to help Thanet’s economy flourish.”