Check points

29 November 2001 by
Check points

The Ramada Plaza's restaurant, set in an 18th century glass kiln, has been in business in Bristol since the 1970s and was in urgent need of a simpler new look. Carmen Konopka went along to see the result.

When the hotel now known as the Ramada Plaza opened in Bristol in the 1970s, its restaurant, in an 18th century glass kiln, was a popular venue. But, as an increasing number of restaurants opened in the city, and the decor of the hotel began to date, its trade declined.

The hotel started life as a Ramada franchise, became a Ladbroke Dragonara, then a Hilton, and two years ago a Jarvis International. At the beginning of this year, Jarvis embarked on a major refurbishment of the hotel and has just rebranded it through a franchise partnership agreement with Ramada International.

Its restaurant had a rather tired look - the kiln's ancient brickwork was cluttered with mirrors, pictures and hanging plants. The arched windows were obscured by curtains and poles, and a huge circular servery dominated the central chimney. Some £600,000 later, the look is simpler, with a cobalt colour scheme to echo the kiln's history of making the famous Bristol blue glass. A wider entrance has also been created.

The shape of the arched windows has been emphasised by hard pelmets, softened by sheer drapes. Flooring is a mixture of woodblock and blue pebble-pattern carpet that complements the newly cleaned brickwork.

A disc-shaped structure has been created around the top of the central chimney to conceal the new air-conditioning and sound system. Chairs upholstered in a chequerboard fabric provide bold accents.

"We wanted the restaurant to fit in with the standard of the rest of the hotel," says general manager Jane Bowler. She adds that it was important that the restaurant should appeal to non-residents as well as guests.

"The explosion of restaurants in the city caused a dilution of local trade," she explains, "so we need to have something quite different, something no other restaurant in the city can offer."

The brief

The place

Arts Grill @ the Kiln, in the Ramada Plaza hotel, Bristol.

The challenge

To create a contemporary restaurant that appeals to both guests and non-residents. Also, to improve the link between the hotel and the restaurant, previously a narrow corridor between the two buildings.


Part of a major refurbishment programme running in the hotel from January 2001 until April 2002. The restaurant work was completed at the end of May.


£600,000 on the restaurant out of the total project cost to date of £2.4m.

Design team

TFL International, led by design director John Chalker.


JP Projects 01772 733211
TFL International 020 7724 3391
Sinclaire Fabrics 01924 468197
Paul Treasure 01730 233395
Chantelle Lighting 01282 680011
Steelite International 01782 821000

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