When we teamed up with Scare the Horses, Exeter’s latest (and only) performance based members club, it started us thinking about the contemporary role of an hotel. Last month we hosted the inaugural performance of “Common Salt”, a show and tell journey from Sheila and Sue through Indian colonialism refracted through the history of SH and our favourite bohemian, William Kirkpatrick (the first owner of SH). It was fun and dynamic to see a crowd with a specific shared interest get together and it felt innovative to host a new type of event in the hotel.
That said, isn’t all hospitality about performance? The best staff, the best guests, understand that and the theatre of the hotel/bar/restaurant. When we come on shift, we adopt the personality of the space, we construct ourselves to facilitate performance. It’s a constant exchange between us and you; it can be quiet and discrete or it can be pure show. It can be all things over the course of an evening.
Like Kirkpatrick, we know we’re not conventional. We’ve poured over every aspect of our design, our offer and your guest journey. SH is bespoke, settled into the heart of Exeter and holds an important place in the city. On one level SH presents as a posh, historic house – that will be the elegance of Georgian architecture talking. So we flipped the interiors to make them an eclectic mix of narrative, conversation starters and colourful comfort. When you step through the front door, you’ll know if it’s for you.
Small in scale, we aim high. We have three mantras: keep it personal, local and authentic, for you the guest and for us the providers. Everyone wins when we hit that target, when we reach beyond the average business of hotels and into the imagination, feeding off our history and everything Exeter has to offer.
Bringing performance spaces and art into hotels is not new but, to my mind, treating hotels as a magnet for art, performance, conversation and connections is a new trend we’re definitely hooking into here!