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The GH Décor Ltd team recently redecorated Marine & Lawn’s Slieve Donard, including 180 bedrooms, foyer, ballroom, oak room, chandelier room, bridal lounge, restaurant and two bars within a tight five-month schedule – all while the hotel remained open to guests. This astonishing achievement led to the painting contractor being awarded the Dulux Connect Project Award for project management. 

The scope of work

Slieve Donard, the latest property to join Marine & Lawn Hotels & Resorts, is in Newcastle, County Down and was built in 1898 as a luxury holiday destination. The Victorian hotel was recently refurbished to bring a new lease of life to the 180 bedrooms, foyer, ballroom, oak room, chandelier room, bridal lounge, restaurant and two bars – and the hotel’s new interior was unveiled just in time to celebrate its 125-year anniversary. 

Having previously worked with Edgewater Contracts, the construction and fitout company on the project, painting contractor and Dulux Connect member GH Décor Ltd was called upon to execute the redecoration work at the hotel. 

Business as usual 

Due to the scale of the building, the GH Décor Ltd team had to work closely with numerous stakeholders to ensure the project ran smoothly. This included the hotel’s American-based designer and, to ensure decisions were made and executed in a timely manner, GH Décor Ltd worked around different time zones. 

The team also had the challenge of ensuring the hotel could remain open throughout the redecoration work. The painters used specific entrance and exit routes to minimise noise. They created a compound within a hidden area of the site to store materials and parked their vans in specific places to keep them out of public view.  

Gerald Hughes, Director at GH Décor Ltd, explained: “We worked closely with the hotel staff and other trades on site to devise a schedule that could keep the work running smoothly and to deadline, without causing too much disruption. We took over 16 rooms each week and ensured that no sanders or loud machinery were in operation between 7:00am and 10:30am to minimise noise and disruption to guests. The on-site team also accommodated other trades, relocating to allow carpets and soft furnishings to be installed and then returning to finish the job.”

Choosing the right products

GH Décor Ltd worked closely with the Dulux Decorator Centre team on the specification, to ensure that the paints and coatings used could rejuvenate the hotel interior and keep it looking its best for years to come. 

Raymond McDowell, Account Manager at Dulux Decorator Centre, said: “Slieve Donard welcomes hundreds of guests and staff through its doors every day. This means that surfaces throughout the building need to withstand regular knocks and scuffs, to maintain the professional finish applied for years to come.

“In busy areas such as the ballroom, chandelier room, drawing room and gift shop I recommended the durable Dulux Trade Diamond Eggshell. It contains unique stain repellent technology that prevents stains from setting into surfaces and makes removing marks easier. To deliver a seamless design, this product was also used on surfaces such as the mouldings, panels, coving and skirting.

“For the areas that didn’t require the same level of scuff resistance, such as the ceilings, I suggested Dulux Trade Vinyl Matt. This product offers high opacity and a high-quality finish – as well as excellent coverage and a smooth flow so the GH Décor Ltd team could benefit from easy application.”

The specification also included Dulux Trade Durable Flat Matt for the bedroom walls and Dulux Trade Diamond Satinwood for the woodwork and doors. Due to the age of the building, GH Décor Ltd had to revive some of the old substrates before decoration work could begin, to ensure a high standard finish. 

Colour matching

To bring the designer’s vision to life, GH Décor Ltd liaised with the team at Dulux Decorator Centre Belfast North to colour match the tones required to the products specified. The colour palette included a combination of neutrals, blues and greens that all nod to the hotel’s Victorian heritage. In some cases, the Dulux Decorator Centre team had to create bespoke tones to exactly match other elements of a room, such as fabrics for soft furnishings.

Across a five-month period, GH Décor Ltd transformed the interior of Slieve Donard. Gerald added: “On completion of the works, I received a personal handshake from the general manager at the hotel. He thanked me for the team’s professionalism and efforts to keep noise to a minimum and said current guests didn’t know the extensive work was taking place.

“Feedback like this and being awarded the Dulux Connect Project Award for project management means a lot to me and my team. We are the first Northern Irish decorating contractor to win a Dulux Connect Project Award, and that is a real honour.”

Due to the team’s quality workmanship and attention to detail shown at Slieve Donard, GH Décor Ltd has since secured additional large-scale projects in the leisure, housing and commercial sectors. To find out more about the company, visit: 

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